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Dec 27, 2007 07:36 AM

A tragic loss [Balltown, IA]

Breitbach's in Balltown, Iowa, one of the oldest restaurant / bars west of the Mississippi, burned to the ground on Christmas Eve. Some of you might have seen Alton Brown's visit there recently on the Food Network. It's a place where Frank James allegedly stopped for a meal on his way back from Northfield, MN., following the bank robbery that is stuff of legends. The raspberry pie was also stuff of legends. I hear the restaurant will be rebuilt. Let's hope it still exudes some of its historic charm.

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  1. Yea, I came back from Christmas with relatives in Chicago, to hear the news about Breitbachs. I sent many a visitor to the upper River valley on a scenic drive with Balltown as one of the eating stops. I was there last summer with mother and friends, shortly after the series with Alton was filmed. You noticed I'm sure that Brown didn;t focus on "good eats" there as much as the family tradition of running that restaurant. I think I'll miss the mural on the wall the most. NE Iowa has also taken a hit in losing the "Twisted Chicken". Sounds like Kim (the owner and most recent chef) got tired of working so hard. Now I'll have to head to Decorah to find a interesting meal

    2 Replies
    1. re: WI LouLou

      apparently Breitbach's was rebuilt, reopened and then burnt again. any news?

      1. re: zfwp

        There's a series of articles on the KCRG-TV website. The second fire, on October 24, 2008, was reported at The most recent article, last week, reports that the restaurant's future remains uncertain, and the family won't make a decision until the fire investigation is complete -