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May 3, 2001 12:31 AM

Keosauqua, Iowa

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The quintessential feel good small town, even Life Magazine in 1964 depicted it on one of its covers as 'small town america'. No stoplights, no chain restaurants and no crime. In its history, not one murder has occured, and rightfully so. Right on the Des Moines River is the steamboat gothic georgeous hotel, "The Hotel Manning". Fodors featured it as one of the top 100 grandest hotels in America --my great,great grandfather built it. Matter of fact, he founded the town after sailing down the Mighty Mittitip. My father's house as a kid is now an immaculate B&B. But the real keeper in the town is the Pizza house "Riverbend". Since 1984, this cozy place has been my focus of indulgence. I wont rant, but will just say it's my favorite food in the whole world.

Anyone who wants to visit southeastern Iowa must stay a night in Keo. Granted theres not much to do at night, but the 3 bars are a good place to wallow your boredom away. Keo isn't the most exciting town in America, but you'll feel like you've lived there your whole life.

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    Dave Feldman

    Sounds intriguing. Is it the pizza itself that is the object of your affection? If so, what's special about it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      The pizza itself is amazing, the owner is Italian so he knows what he's doing. The cheese is not sprinkled on, but it's all squares fitted over the sauce. Of course I'm partial to the atmosphere of the joint too -- I remember lots of excursions there as a kid with my late grandfather, cousins etc... I love it's relationship and proximity to the mom and pop drug store, Tilly's Tap (bar) and how it's right across the street from the Hotel and river.

      The hotel is worth having a meal too -- elegant dining room, average food and real old wood trim, a box grand piano that Liszt could have owned, georgeous spiral wood stair case, beautiful chandeliers, and the ancient style front desks. Over a 100 years old it can sometimes feel a little hairy or as Huneker put it "not quite sufficiently like the charnel house"

      but thats its appeal.