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Jun 10, 2003 09:17 PM

I-80 from Omaha to Chicago

  • p

Any suggestions for non-chain places to eat...not too far off the interstate (5-10miles)
Healthy foods!

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  1. Several of the restaurants in the Amana Colonies -- specifically Bill Zuber's in Homestead and The Ronnenburg and Ox Yoke Inn in Amana -- used to have terrific food. It's spotty now. I've found them offering "pre-fab" weinerschnitzel all of uniform size and shape made up of chunks of meat rather than proper piece of meat -- and they don't seem to remember the hunk of lemon for seasoning it! Also, I've been disappointed that I can't find their delicious fresh homemade cottage cheese at any of the restaurants any more. What they serve tastes just like anything I can buy in a carton at the grocery.

    The only meal I partake of now when I'm heading that way is breakfast if I can get there early enough at Colony Inn in Amana. It's served family style (even if you're the only one at your table) with a big bowl of fresh fruit to start, platters with incredible buttermilk pancakes, laid-today sunny-side up eggs, fabulous Amana bacon and sausage, a bowl of tasty homefries, good orange juice and toast.

    In Iowa City, there's a bar and grill downtown next door to Prairie Lights Bookstore. Can't recall the name of it right now but I bet someone here knows it. I've had some terrific seafood pasta dishes there in the past and other items on the menu look marvelous, too. It's not your traditional bar and grill fare. Oh, and the place has the most gorgeous bar and mirrored bar back I've ever seen! It's quite an antique -- ask about it if you visit. If you're a book person, don't miss stopping in Prairie Lights. Allow at least an hour 'cause the place is large, independently owned, devoted to small press and more esoteric books, and just a wonderful place to be!

    Have a good trip.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jane

      I went to the Amana colonies several years ago and it was quite good, but be warned, they serve well-water unless you specify otherwise. Some people have adverse reactions if you know what I mean...

      1. re: Jane

        I second the motion in favor of the Colony Inn in Amana. It's very non-commercial and the food is well prepared and tasty - well worth the few miles side trip it takes to get there. Head north from Iowa exit 225 and stay on US151 until you reach Amana. Turn right. A few blocks in, you will see a sign pointing you to the Colony Inn.


      2. l

        Try Ron's Cajun Connection on US 6 just north of Utica, Illinois (Starved Rock area) Exit at exit #80 off I-80 south, one mile to 6 and then east maybe 2 miles. Authentic cajun food and cooking at great prices. We had a great meal for the four of us with appetizers, entrees and pie for $50.


        1. Anita, Iowa has an awesome steakhouse called the Redwood. Also, RIGHT off the Adair exit is Mikey's Berry Sweet. They serve pizza, salads, lots of ice cream flavors, and the traditional restaurant food.

          1. Amana makes good washing machines, but the food is laughable (at least until you eat it).
            Kellog Sully

            1. I realize this isn't quite a 'non-chain', 'healthy' option, but
              next time I pass through that area, I intend to try a loose-meat sandwich, a regional specialty. Maid-Rite is apparently the main local chain that serves it.


              1 Reply
              1. re: paulj

                Ha, that's a blast from my past. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to find steamed ground beef, but it's not bad. Their buns are always fresh and the fries are real (no strange batter on them like a lot of chains seem to have now). There is one in Grinnell, IA off I-80, north on HWY 146 a few miles, then it's right around the intersection of HWY 6. It's probably one of the older franchises and only has a dozen or so tables and booths. Very friendly family owned and operated I think.