Midwest Black Angus beef, free of hormones or antibiotics, joins with creative ingredients such as A.1. sauce and chipotle aioli to create more than 15 unique burgers at Legends American Grill. These burgers embody a variety and thirst for excitement that radiates throughout each of the grill's central-Iowa locations. There, nestled amid deep-umber booths or brick walls, diners watch sports flicker across flat-screen televisions, rooting on their team and showing disdain for the ref’s decision to wear white pants after Labor Day. But if the score is disheartening, fans can dig into the menu to cheer themselves up. Hand-cut Creekstone Farms steaks offset surf entrees such as salmon in béarnaise sauce or grilled mahi-mahi in a sweet-and-spicy thai sauce. Comfort-food favorites such as meatloaf and fried chicken also make an appearance, pairing with cocktails and beers served by the bottle and pint.
When Craig and Lea Culver created the first Culver’s restaurant in 1984, they wanted to serve homemade burgers like Craig’s mom used to make. These burgers—now known as the ButterBurgers—are made with fresh, Midwest beef patties, and served on a toasty, buttered bun. The burgers are also what helped put Culver’s on the map—there are now more than 500 locations scattered across 19 states. At each restaurant, patties are cooked right on the grill. The other main hallmark of Culver’s menu is its rich, creamy frozen custard, which you can have drizzled with hot fudge or use as a foundation for a signature Concrete Mixer and have it decorated with Oreos and Butterfingers.
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.
The skilled chefs at Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe whip up burritos, enchiladas, and sizzling fajitas to fill an extensive menu of south-of-the-border cuisine. Diners push aside still-steaming nacho and quesadilla starters as a waiter approaches, arms meticulously stacked with plates of enchiladas and burritos ($8.99–$9.99 each). Chefs slather spinach and mushroom enchiladas in butter garlic sauce, and the burro en fuego specialty burrito befuddles meat detectors by burying contraband shredded beef and spicy chili sauce deep inside a warm flour tortilla. Diners can also look over a gluten-free menu to bite into enchiladas and fajitas prepared on corn tortillas as, in the kitchen, blenders buzz up pomegranate and strawberry frozen margaritas into salt-rimmed glasses for frozen fruit consumption without fear of stuck tongue.
WestCyde Wings bastes their signature buffalo-style wings in a selection of 21 lip-smacking sauces. Canines first chew on decisions, opting for traditional bone-in or boneless bites, and mouths water mournfully when forced to choose between dipping cups of blue cheese or ranch dressing that accompany every wing platter and glass of water. Spice sensors with a need for heat can coat the crispy pinions in a spicier ensemble, selecting a sauce that is hot, x-hot, blazing hot, or inferno-ally hot, and milder temperaments with a taste for travel can sample sauces such as curry, Cajun, teriyaki, sweet & sour, or Caribbean jerk (one sauce/order; additional sauces $0.59). Eight beers—including brews from Boulevard, Fat Tire, Bud Light, and Miller Light—cascade from the tap at the bar, slaking thirst wrought from the saucy sustenance or while exchanging pleasantries about optometry with the larger-than-life referees projected on the 8-foot TV screen.