Early fall weekends are perfect for road trips to explore our small Iowa towns. And while you're there, why not try out a local restaurant on that town's main street?
Travel Iowa is holding its second annual Main Street Iowa Restaurant Week from Sept. 14-23 in 28 towns across Iowa. Enjoy food and drink specials from over 150 locally owned restaurant types, including diners, cafes, sports bars, burger joints and fine dining bistros.
"In many cases, local restaurants become a destination and a landmark or anchor for downtown revitalization efforts," said Michael Wagler, coordinator of the Main Street Iowa Program, which includes 54 towns statewide.
Wagler said since the scale of the event is so large and the lineup of towns is so diverse that many of Main Street Iowa's participating restaurants will host a variety of food events with a focus on local ingredients.
Here's everything you need to know about Main Street Iowa Restaurant Week, Sept. 14-24.
Since some towns have different dates, hours, events and specials, we recommend calling or checking online before embarking to ensure they will be open during your visit.
Here's a map of participating towns:
Enjoy all there is to eat and drink in downtown Ames. Over a dozen downtown restaurants and bars will offer special prices, entrees and drink options with a "Taste for $20" theme. Be sure to pick up a punch card. Patrons who dine at five of the participating locations will be entered to win prizes.
Aunt Maude's - 547 Main St.; (515) 233-4136
Café Diem - 229 Main St.; (515) 956-3556
Chocolaterie Stam - 230 Main St.; (515) 232-0656
Della Viti Ames - 323 Main St.; (515) 232-0241
Downtown Deli - 328 Main St.; (515) 232-3626
Great Harvest Bread Co. - 502 Burnett Ave.; (515) 598-2624
Great Plains Sauce & Dough Company - 129 Main St. #101; (515) 232-1627
Little Woods: Herbs and Teas - 136 Main St.; (515) 233-3838
London Underground - 212 Main St.; (515) 233-8500
Olde Main Brewing Co. - 316 Main St.; (515) 232-0553
The Grove Cafe - 124 Main St.; (515) 232-9784
Wheatsfield Cooperative - 413 Northwestern Ave.; (515) 232-4094
Whiskey River - 134 Main St.; (515) 612-4949
There's plenty of family fun and local ingredients in Avoca. On Sept. 29, Avoca will hold its third annual Main Street Longest Table Dinner, a five-course, chef-hosted, locally sourced meal. One hundred diners will have the opportunity to sample tastes of the season from Avoca farmers' market producers and local farms.
Be sure to bookmark these frequently-updated metro dining guides:
Enjoy lunch for $8 and dinner for $15 at one of 23 participating restaurants in Burlington. Then vote for your favorite dishes in six different categories including Best Pork Dish, Best Beef Dish, Best Date Night Location, Best Value Dish, Best Service and Best Tasting Healthy Option. Your online vote enters you into a chance to win a $25 gift certificate from each participating restaurant.
Big Muddy's - 710 N. Front St., #1, Burlington; (319) 753-1699
Bent River Brewing Company - 500 Jefferson St., Burlington; (319) 209-2773
Buffalo61 Bar & Grille - 6111 Reve Court, Fort Madison; (319) 372-5022
Casa Fiesta Mexican Restaurant - 2806 Mount Pleasant St., Burlington; (319) 758-1111
Coconuts Cabana - 620 Main St., Mediapolis; (319) 394-9999
Dueling Leos - 504 S Adams St, Burlington; (319) 208-9144
Fat Jimmy's Smokehouse & Spirits - 3065 Mississippi River Road, Montrose; (319) 463-5003
Granny's Dinner Bell - 1224 N. 6th St., Monmouth, Illinois; (309) 734-2400
Ivy Bake Shoppe & Cafe - 309 S. Gear Ave., West Burlington; (319) 752-4981
La Casa Salsa - 4821 Ave. O, #1, Fort Madison; (319) 372-0220
Mazzio's Italian Eatery - 616 S. Roosevelt Ave., Burlington; (319) 753-0161
Parkside Brewing Company - 2601 Madison Ave., Burlington; (319) 209-2739
Pig Out - 510 Meadow St, Mediapolis; (319) 394-9777
RonDavoo Pizza - 605 S 10th St., Burlington; (319) 752-5767
Tastefully Yours Bistro & Catering Company - 218 Jefferson St., #1D, Burlington; (319) 572-8631
Teriyaki Madness - 1035 Lawrence Drive #108, Burlington; (319) 753-2695
The Broadway Bar & Grille - 113 Broadway St., West Burlington; (319) 752-8577
The Buffalo Tavern - 2016 S. Main St., Burlington; (319) 754-4338
The Drake - 106 Washington St., Burlington; (319) 754-1036
The Feedlot Grill - 102 S. Broadway St., Stronghurst, Illinois; (309) 801-1008
The Outpost Bar - 2505 Mount Pleasant St., Burlington; (319) 209-2088
The Yarmouth Filling Station Bar & Grill - 20478 Eastern Ave., Yarmouth; (319) 865-3240
Wake n Bake Breakfast Company - 713 Jefferson St, Burlington; (319) 754-0494
Diners can pick up a punch card at one of several downtown retail stores or dining establishments. Enjoy a two for $20 themed food or beverage item at six participating restaurants and get your card punched for a chance to win a grand prize with an estimated value of $500. Mail or drop off cards with all six punches to the Community Main Street building or one of the participating restaurants.
Beck's Taproom Grill - 314 Main St.; (319) 266-5285
The Brass Tap - 421 Main St.; (319) 260-2080
Cup of Joe - 102 E. Main St.; (319) 277-1596
Figaro Figaro - 419 Main St.; (319) 260-2084
The Horny Toad - 109 E. 2nd St.; (319) 260-8623
Montage - 222 Main St.; (319) 268-7222
Pump Haus Pub & Grill - 311 E. Main St.; (319) 277-8111
Scratch Cupcakery - 315 Main St.; (319) 277-7855
The Stuffed Olive - 117 Main St., B; (319) 266-0868
Tony's La Pizzeria - 407 Main St.; (319) 277-8669
Urban Pie - 200 State St., #101; (319) 260-2045
Voodoo Lounge - 401 Main St., 3rd floor; (319) 266-1132
Whiskey Road - 402 Main St.; (319) 277-1244
Wilbo Burgers, Brats & Beers - 118 Main St.; (319) 260-5000
Dine in the New Bohemia Main Street District and enjoy local dishes and brews at four special events during restaurant week:
Brewnost - Sept. 14
Be part of an evening featuring international beers, cider, wine, spirits and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres.
Room with a Brew - Sept. 21
Experience a taste of urban living in the Czech Village – New Bohemia Main Street District. This much-anticipated event gives attendees a sneak peek inside the district’s buildings and provides a sampling of brews on tap and appetizer options.
Czech Fest - Sept. 23
Celebrate everything "autumn," with a Czech twist. The entire family can experience a variety of food, music and games.
Goulash Days - Sept. 23
Enjoy the traditional Czech dish of goulash at St. Wenceslaus Church. Diners can also try kolaches, ice cream, Wenceburgers and more.
Chrome Horse Saloon - 1201 3rd St. SE; (319) 200-4440
Fong's Pizza - 1006 3rd St. SE; (319) 320-9992
Kickstand - 203 16th Ave SE; (319) 365-0373
Lion Bridge Brewing Company - 59 16th Ave. SW; (319) 200-4460
Parlor City Pub & Eatery - 1125 3rd St SE; (319) 247-0000
The Pig & Porter - 1028 3rd St. SE, Suite #1; (319) 200-4414
Centerville is the home of the "World's Largest City Square." The historic district offers American, Greek, Chinese and homestyle cooking. Pick up a punch card to be entered for giveaways and follow along on Facebook for updates.
Ching Dow Restaurant - 217 E. State St.; (641) 437-4962
Flower-Tique & Covered in Flour Bake Shop - 313 N. 13th St.; (641) 437-4131
George & Nick's Pizza and Steakhouse - 107 E. Van Buren St.; (641) 856-6000
Gordie's Bar & Grill - 114 N. 13th St.; (641) 895-0003
Lula's Bakery - (641) 436-1233
Lucile's Steaks & Spirits in The Continental Hotel - 217 N. 13th St.; (641) 437-1025
Mystique Vintage & Unique - 210 N. 12th St.; (641) 223-3443
North Side Diner - 111 E. Van Buren St.; (641) 216-0106
One of a Kind - 314 W. State St.; (641) 437-4540
Central City is located along the natural beauty of Wapsipinicon River, with plenty of outdoor activities before or after dining during restaurant week.
Cedar River Pizza Co. - 105 N. Main St. #1; (641) 228-3590
Comet Bowl - 1100 S. Grand Ave.; (641) 228-2115
Dave's Restaurant - 809 S. Grand Ave.; (641) 228-7162
Dairy Queen - 707 S Grand Ave.; (641) 228-3161
Hot Shots Billiards & Grille - 700 Riverside Drive; (641) 228-2001
Hy-Vee Kitchen - 901 Kelly St.; (641) 228-1726
Lucky Dragon - 1009 S. Grand Ave.; (641) 228-3689
Pizza Hut - 1003 Blunt St.; (641) 228-2020
Subway - 106 S Main St.; (641) 228-2423
The Pub on the Cedar - 101 N. Jackson St.; (641) 228-3855
Conrad is doing something different for its restaurant week. The theme is #Harvest Conrad. Each restaurant will have featured deals on specific days and diners use a punch card to enter a drawing for prizes.
RJ's Lounge (Sept. 14 - Tenderloin Night) - 109 N. Main St.; (641) 366-2687
Maria's Taco Bus (Sept. 17-18) - 102 E. Grundy Ave.
Hometown Foods (Sept. 18 - Rib Fest) - 119 N Main St.; (641) 366-2244
Oakwood Golf Course (Sept. 20 - Wing Special) - 130 Oakwood Drive; (641) 366-2211
Something to Share (Sept. 21 - Wine Tasting) - 127 N. Main St.; (641) 366-3870
That Place Restaurant (Sept. 21-22 - Prime Rib Special) - 33030 G. Ave.; (641) 366-2911
Each of Corning's restaurants is located within a block of each other. Make a day of it and grab donuts and coffee on your way to visiting the Main Street shops. Grab lunch of pizza or at the farm-to-table cafe. Finish the day with an event at the Corning Opera House.
A "Taste of the Hilltop" provides diners with the opportunity to experience the restaurants in the Hilltop Campus Village. Each restaurant will provide a specialty item on a specific day of the week.
The Brewed Book - 1524 N. Harrison St.; (563) 232-6642
Donuts & More - 1717 Brady St.; (563) 322-5111
Greatest Grains - 1600 N. Harrison St.; (563) 323-7521
Java Station Drive Thru - 1927 N. Main St.; (563) 323-3374
La Moreliana Ice Cream Shop - 1908 Brady St.; (309) 428-6910
Lendi's Gyros - 1008 N. Harrison St.; (563) 345-4976
Mary Sue's Donutshop & Cafe - 1615 N. Harrison St.; (563) 328-2935
McNeal's Southern Smokehouse - 1218 Brady St.; (303) 885-2314
Redband Coffee - 110 W. 13th St.; (563) 484-0098
Rock's Anchor Grill - 1526 N. Harrison St.; (563) 323-6289
Each of Dubuque's participating restaurants is located in a historic building. Perhaps that's why Dubuque is called "Where Iowa Started." As an added bonus, diners can get a punch card from participating locations and visit three restaurants to be entered in a drawing to win "downtown dollars" and restaurant gift cards.
7 Hills Brewing Company - 1085 Washington St.; (563) 587-8306
Charlotte's Coffee House - 1104 White St.; (563) 231-3716
Hops & Rye - 1108 Locust St.; (563) 556-4677
L. May Eatery - 1072 Main St.; (563) 556-0505
Pepper Sprout Midwest Cuisine - 378 Main St.; (563) 556-2167
Pete's Thai Kitchen - 609 E. 22nd St.; (563) 582-2816
The Smokestack - 62 E 7th St.
Enjoy special deals on menu items for restaurant week in Fort Dodge. In addition, make plans to take part in Mug Night on Sept. 20 and then head to the Fort Dodge Downtown Country Jam on Sept. 22 for a night of live music after dinner.
Bloomers on Central Gourmet - 900 Central Ave., #10; (515) 955-2221
Central Perk & Dessert - 14 S. 14th St.; (515) 573-7375
Dale's Dodger Tap - 22 N. 12th St.; (515) 302-8064
Dariette - 17 S. 12th St.
Harty's Caddy Shack Café - 1101 Central Ave.; (515) 302-8004
Jo Jo's Cocktail Lounge - 14 S. 11th St.; (515) 955-2523
KINGZ Lounge - 16 N. 7th St.; (515) 955-5354
Olde Boston's Restaurant & Pub - 809 Central Ave., #110; (515) 955-5333
River Hops Brewing - 1014 Central Ave.; (515) 302-8800
ShinyTop Brewing - 520 Central Ave.; (515) 302-8055
Sneakers Eatery & Pub - 1317 Central Ave.; (515) 576-3336
TC Mae's Family Diner - 1010 1st Ave S.; (515) 573-1101
Diners who eat at all six participating restaurants and turn in a card punched at each will be registered to win $50 in Greenfield Green Bucks. Cards are available at all participating restaurants and at the Greenfield Chamber Main Street office.
The Corner - 284 Public Square; (641) 743-8275
Greenfield Bowl - 203 E. Iowa St.; (641) 743-2160
Los Altos Mexican Restaurant - 302 SE Kent St.; (641) 221-9081
Olive Branch Family Restaurant & Lounge - 108 E. Iowa St.; (641) 743-8300
Subway - 212 SE Kent Highway 92; (641) 743-6688
Tiger Drive-In - 610 SE Kent St.; (641) 743-6123
Each hometown favorite location in Grundy Center's Main Street will feature popular menu items and specials. And when diners order special items, they'll be entered into a drawing for prizes and gift cards. The community will also sponsor a food drive during restaurant week: donate an item of non-perishable food at any location to get another entry into the prize drawing.
Brothers Market - 1400 G Ave; (319) 824-3849
Corn Crib Creations - 26004 225th St.; (319) 240-8079
Crystal Bowl - 1602 G Ave.; (319) 825-6314
The Landmark Bistro - 725 G Ave.; (319) 825-4950
Manly Drug Store - 621 G Ave.; (319) 824-5446
Natural Grind - 721 G Ave.; (319) 825-5544
Pancho Villa - 2101 Commerce Drive; (319) 824-3006
Subway - 1706 G Ave.; (319) 825-4800
Pizza Hut - 602 G Ave.; (319) 824-5443
Stylish Living Bistro - 620 G Ave.; (319) 824-3103
Town & Country Golf Club - 1501 12th St.; (319) 824-3712
Scotty's Saloon - 806 G Ave.; (319) 825-4455
The Hamilton Hometowns communities of Stanhope, Stratford, Jewell and Ellsworth will be featuring a "Taste for $20" menu at each participating restaurant. Diners can sample burgers, tenderloins, pizzas and more.
Jack's - 824 Shakespeare Ave., Stratford; (515) 838-5225
Malibu Pizza & Grill - 707 Main St., Jewell; (515) 827-5167
Our Place - 435 Parker St., Stanhope; (515) 826-3796
Smoke King Bones Eatery - 825 Shakespeare Ave, Stratford; (515) 838-2579
Stanhope Locker & Market - 465 Parker St., Stanhope; (515) 826-3280
Each participating restaurant in Hampton features locally grown products from Franklin County and north central Iowa. Visit during the Hampton Farmers' Market (Tuesday and Friday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) to shop more local producers.
Visit Uptown Marion's shops and restaurants to get your restaurant week punch card. For a chance to be one of five winners, get your card punched five times (you can repeat locations). Winners will receive gift cards to participating locations.
Bistro 3 Nineteen - 796 11th St.; (319) 363-0500
Brick Alley Pub & Sports Bar - 1038 7th Ave.; (319) 550-6600
Café by CK - 699 7th Ave.; (319) 377-8627
THE chocolate SHOP - 1244 7th Ave.; (319) 377-7597
Kettel House Bakery & Cafe - 945 6th Ave.; (319) 310-5509
Louie's Scoreboard - 740 10th St.; (319) 826-2309
MJ's Restaurant - 1107 7th Ave.; (319) 377-7333
Uptown Snug - 760 11th St.; (319) 200-6996
Urban Pie - 1138 7th Ave.; (319) 200-2399
Wit's End Coffeehouse - 630 10th St.; (319) 573-2277
Zio Johno's - 755 7th Ave.; (319) 373-2400
Did you know that Mount Pleasant ranks 170th in the nation for pizza crusts per capita? Celebrate this fun fact during pizza wars at Central Park during the farmer's market. Diners can pay $5 to try each restaurant's pizza and then vote for People's Choice.
If you dine in at least five of the 18 participating eateries in Mount Vernon and Lisbon, you could win a $20 lunch or dinner. Get your passport signed at each location and turn in your completed passport by Oct. 1 for a chance at winning. Each location is also offering "Taste for $20" specials during restaurant week.
Addy's Public House - 126 E. Main St., Lisbon; (319) 408-1096
Alger's Pizza Palace - 106 1st St. W, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-6971
Big's BBQ Brew Pub - 124 2nd Ave. N, Mount Vernon; (319) 535-1060
Bon Appetit at Cornell College - 600 1st St. SW, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-4363
Chameleon's Pub & Grub - 119 1st St. W, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-8654
FUEL art and espresso - 103 1st St. E, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-8429
Gwen's Restaurant - 119 W. Main St., Lisbon; (319) 455-2873
Java Hut - 353 U30 SW, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-6334
Lincoln Cafe & Wine Bar - 125 1st St. W, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-9463
Mount Vernon Confections - 118 1st St. SW, #1, Mount Vernon; (319) 310-6399
Mount Vernon Creates - 121 1st St. W, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-2682
Palisades Cafe - 117 1st St. W, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-4041
Perfect Blend Shortbread - 224 1st St, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-6862
Scorz Bar & Grill - 109 1st St. W, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-8453
Skillet Café and Bakery - 101 1st St. E, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-8540
Sing-A-Long Bar & Grill - 100 First St. SE, Mount Vernon; (319) 895-9464
Whitey's Bar and Grill - 125 US-30, Lisbon; (319) 455-3191
Yock's Landing - 102 E. 1st St., Mount Vernon; (319) 895-6160
Seven of Osceola's locally owned restaurants will highlight honey-based foods and sweet treats during restaurant week. Working with the Iowa Honey Company and Honey Hill Events Center, Osceola is working to bring back the bee population and showcase Clarke County-grown honey whenever possible.
Iron Horse Neighborhood Grill - 123 S. Main St.; (641) 342-4351
La Pequena Tienda Y Taqueria - 112 N. Main St.; (641) 342-1521
Mayberry's Coffee House & Eatery - 128 W. Jefferson St.; (641) 223-8175
Nana Greer's Family Table - 1610 Jeffreys Drive; (641) 342-4153
Percussion the restaurant - 525 Warren Ave.; (641) 223-8098
Playa Margaritas Mexican Restaurants - 707 W McLane St.; (641) 342-4900
Timber Ridge Country Market - 117 W Washington St.; (641) 342-6002
Visit Hunter's Cafe in Oskaloosa to try a fall dish for restaurant week: pasta with pumpkin and squash sauce, side salad and a specialty tea. Hunter's is known for its healthy, made-from-scratch options with unique seasonings.
Hunter's Cafe - 113 High Ave. W; (641) 673-9911
Kick off Ottumwa's Restaurant Week with Taste of Ottumwa at the Walk on Art Street on Sept. 15. From there, decide which of the restaurants you'll visit during the week to get your passport stamped.
2nd Street Cafe - 107 2nd St. E; (641) 684-5626
Appanoose Rapids - 332 E. Main St.; (641) 954-9818
Blaine's Bagels - 101 S. Market St.; (641) 682-9460
Burritos Los Roy - Market on Main, 331 E Main St.; (641) 455-1370
Canteen Lunch In the Alley - 112 2nd St. E; (641) 682-5320
Coal Palace Café & Books - 226 W. Main St.; (641) 814-8700
Hub Coffee - 133 2nd St. W; (641) 455-0060
Joe Burger - 319 E. Main St.; (641) 682-9457
Market on Main - 331 E. Main St.; (641) 682-0261
Morgan's Corner Bar & Grill - 436 2nd St. W; (641) 684-0851
Owl's Nest - 116 S Court St.; (641) 682-9368
Pallister Brothers Brewing Company - 116 N. Market St.
Polar Xpress - 221 E. Main St.; (641) 814-5220
Scratch Filipino Cuisine - 331 E. Main St.; (641) 226-2363
Tequila Grill - 112 N. Market St.; (641) 954-9665
Top Hat Coffee and Entertainment - 228 E. Main St.; (641) 814-9129
Story City restaurants will showcase unique recipes and award-winning menus for restaurant week. Each of the five restaurants has created "Taste for $20" specials for the week. Some will also feature Scandinavian recipes to celebrate the community's heritage.
Alley's Pizza - 529 Broad St.; (515) 733-6868
Dinners by Dawn - 516 Broad St.; (515) 733-2440
Guys With Grills BBQ & Catering - 204 W. Broad St.; (515) 733-2026
KaffeGeita - 1463 Broad St.; (515) 733-2029
Los Altos Mexican Restaurant - 1518 Broad St.; (515) 733-0088
Pizza Ranch - 1513 Broad St.; (515) 733-4111
The Royal Cafe - 1550 Broad St.; (515) 733-9074
Each time you dine at a participating Spencer restaurant, you'll be entered to win a gift card. Ten diners will win a $20 gift card to one of the restaurants and one grand prize winner will win $20 gift cards to all participating restaurants.
The Bear Coffeehouse & Wine Bar - 24 W. Park St.; (712) 580-2327
Carroll's Bakery - 416 Grand Ave.,; (712) 262-4575
Chen's Garden - 18 E. 4th St.; (712) 262-2883
Godfather's Pizza - 113 Grand Ave.; (712) 262-7742
Grand Lunchbox - 208 Grand Ave.; 712-346-7720
Hy-Vee Kitchen - 819 Grand Ave.; (712) 262-2443
Jimmy John's - 500 Grand Ave.; (712) 580-3100
Pizza Ranch - 528 N. Grand Ave.; (712) 262-6262
Terrazzo Cafe and Restaurant - 605 Grand Ave.; (712) 580-4732
Weasy's - 216 Grand Ave.; (712) 262-9871
Enjoy a taste of Washington, featuring menu options from $20. At the end of restaurant week, the community will host its second annual Sip & Shop, a tasting of Iowa wines, located within the shops and restaurants on Main Street.
JP's 207 - 207 W. Main St.; (319) 458-9181
Participating restaurants will punch cards for diners who can turn in completed cards at the Community Development Group Office for a chance to win $50 in community bucks.
Good Fellows Restaurant, located in the 1878 Odd Fellows Lodge building in the heart of the Main Street District in Woodbine, will dish out its signature chocolate cake all week. Just say "Main Street" and you'll be given a slice of this sweet treat to eat in or carry out to enjoy later. Daily lunch and dinner specials will be featured during restaurant week.
Good Fellows - 501 Walker St.; (712) 647-3317