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.
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.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation?s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics?including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts?which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand?s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic?s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top-five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milkshake, and Best Drivethru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through its program [Limeades for Learning](http://www.sonicdrivein.com/About/Community, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.