As its name implies, The Corn Patch Restaurant celebrates the Heartland roots of American cuisine with a menu of pork chops, freshly breaded chicken, and hand-cut steaks prepared according to recipes known only to the chefs and family owners. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the creamy, house-made potato soup, which accompanies every meal only after diners sign an oath to never speculate on its secret recipe. To further honor their down-home roots, the owners have named some of their most popular dishes after friends and family, including such favorites as Lucy’s chicken breast and Dennie’s Famous Reuben.
Inspired by trips to the state's northwestern lakes, Okoboji Grill conjures the wayfaring spirit of summer vacation with hearty American comfort food. Chefs marinate chicken strips in beer before hand-breading them in a secret blend of spices, crown crispy onion strings with Iowa-raised pork chops, and stack thin-sliced meats into towering club sandwiches and edible replicas of the Chrysler Building. Okoboji Grill also culls recipes from international cuisines, adding an American take to greek gyros, housemade tzatziki sauce, and italian bruschetta and pastas.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
The chefs inside Godfather’s Pizza’s kitchen crown original, thin, and gluten-free crusts with fistfuls of more than 15 meat and veggie toppings. Predesigned pies simulate the flavors of other foods in configurations such as the bacon-cheeseburger pizza with beef, bacon, cheddar, pickles, and onions. Sandwiches and hot wings round out feasts. Delivery drivers bustle past, filling orders or toting catered fare, and Godfather’s Pizza brims with happy chatter during field trips that introduce students to the pizza-creation process.
Planet Sub sidesteps the flavorless land mines of days-old bread, opting for filling-packed subs and sandwiched meaty delights. The menu offers signature subs to sate hungering masses, such as the bacon-bolstered mega roast beef ($5.49/$8.99) and the Planet BBQ, a saucy concoction stacked with ham, turkey, and roast beef ($4.49/$7.99). Vegetarian options abound, so meat abstainers can try the spicy cheese sub ($4.79/$8.19) or the Pesto Bello, which is loaded with portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and a tomato-garlic pesto as smooth and suave as an Italian R & B crooner ($5.19/$8.79).
Since 1926, the line cooks and soda jerks at Maid-Rite have slung a menu of American diner classics, including their signature loose-meat sandwiches, malts, shakes, and root-beer floats. Customers can silence grumbling stomachs with myriad variations of the free-spirited hamburger sandwich, a kind of sloppy joe, including the classic Maid-Rite ($3.19 for sandwich; $6.59 for basket of fries and large drink), the shirt-staining BBQ Texas-Rite ($3.89 sandwich; $7.29 basket), or the belief-begging Mega Philly Cheese-Rite ($6.69 sandwich; $9.98 basket). The corn dog ($2.39; $5.79 basket) carries on the century-old tradition started by corn of eating food off a stick, and the Smokin' turkey-breast dinner ($7.99) shows up to palate parties slathered with hot or mild barbecue sauce and accompanied by an entourage of two sides and a biscuit or bun.