Iowa Eats Destination: Luna Valley Farm; Decorah, IA

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Sitting on a beautiful farmstead somewhere on the outskirts of Decorah, Iowa is one of the best hidden food destinations Iowa has to offer. Luna Valley Farm and their brick oven pizza coupled with the setting that they offer make this an Iowa eats destination for sure.

Most of my blog visitors have more than likely been to Decorah as it has two of Iowa’s most popular breweries in Toppling Goliath and Pulpit Rock. Both places are well worth the drive there as well and I’m also a big fan of Mabe’s pizza…BUT…..if you are there on a Friday night, no dinner plans, get google maps up and get to Luna Valley. Not only can you eat there, drink some great local brews, but you can also go glamping in one of their cabin/tents! Also, they are only open from 4-8 and ONLY on Fridays! Get there early, grab a seat in the barn, and enjoy.

Seeing how many people made it there on this particular Friday night makes me want to rethink calling it a “hidden” food destination. It’s a popular spot, very popular. Once the dough is out, that’s all she wrote. Luckily, we got there in time and got our orders in. The first thing I noticed when ordering was the excellent beer selection! Pulpit Rock, TG, PIVO and a few others on tap. I ordered a Saftig, and that beer and that setting is about as good as it gets!


The pizza was wonderful. Chewy crust, fresh toppings, and a great sauce. We went with the Iowaiian – bacon, pineapple, and jalapeno and the margherita and friends got the Pepperoncini pizza. All 3 were fantastic! Even with how busy they were the staff was extremely friendly, helpful and added to what was a memorable evening! Check it out the next time you hit Decorah on Friday night, you won’t be disappointed in this Iowa Eats Destination!

Small Town Iowa Eats: Marlee and Me; Spragueville, IA


If you ever find yourself in Jackson County and you have quite an appetite, drive on over to Spragueville and head on into Marlee and Me and you will get more than plenty to fill you up!

Spragueville is about a 20 minute drive from Maquoketa, right off of Highway 64 and is a town (maybe a town?) of not even 100 people. Marlee and Me is a can’t miss spot, literally, if you drive through town you can’t miss it. It’s settled into what looks like an old two story home and is as Mom and Pop and family friendly as it gets…exactly what you’d expect in small town Iowa.

So, finding myself on a fun road trip with my parents, doing a little small town bar hopping, we ended up in Spragueville. We stopped at Marlee and Me intending on just having a quick beer but the food that was coming out of the kitchen signaled that this was our last stop, our meal stop.


Huge slabs of prime rib with hash brown casserole piled high next to it. The plates were overflowing with beefy goodness and I couldn’t wait to dig in. We walked passed the salad bar as we headed to our seats and I noted the braunschweiger dip and planned to eat my weight in that. One of the great things about small town restaurants like this is there is always a great salad bar. Homemade pasta + potato salads and tons of dips. As this is a beer blog, I should note the beesr I had….Busch Light and a Coors Light. I’m not even sure what the options were, just went with a blue yummy. My parents decided to try the wings. Deep fried wings that were tossed in a jalapeno jelly….never thought of tossing wings in a jelly but these were delicious. I hammered the salad bar and the braunschweiger was as good as I’ve had.

Now it’s time for the main course. A HUGE cut of prime rib, cooked perfect to medium rare and a side of hash brown casserole that could feed a family of four. The steak was perfectly seasoned, a nice crust on the outside. The potatoes were loaded with cheese and garlic and the beer was cold. The perfect Saturday night meal.


Soooo….if you find yourself on a little road trip, don’t ignore those small town diner/restaurants. And if you find yourself in Jackson County with a big appetite and a hankering for a huge cut of meat…head to Spragueville and Marlee and Me! Worth the trip!

New to Shelves: Barrel-aged Buffalo Sweat, Eric’s Ale, Ovila Dubbel, Pecan Pie Porter!

the sausage foundryQuite a few tidbits to get the week started. So much great stuff going on in the area. Many new restaurants out and open. I’m hoping to hit up the Sausage Foundry in NewBo sometime this week. Steve does great stuff! If you’ve ever had any of the sausage from Lion Bridge, Steve is responsible for those, so get out and support him! Everytime I’m at Lion Bridge I make sure to check what the week’s sausage is and when they had that mushroom sausage available, holy shit, one of the best things I’ve eaten in some time. This week they had Zivawurst, he’s making blueberry sausages using Oregon blueberries, last week he had lamb, polish, cheddarwurst, and I believe chorizo. I can’t wait to get there and buy 2 of everything.

And courtesy of Steve, I recently read about Sauce Bar and Bistro which is located at 1507 C St in CR. It looks like that will be my next date lunch with my wife as their hours are currently only 11-2 but I believe that will change soon. And we have a new double IPA coming from Big Grove this Friday! If you haven’t had Fear get out and try it! A delicious black double IPA, very reminiscent to Blakkr for me. Lion Bridge has their Untitled Saison back on tap and it is tasting mighty wonderful. Quinton has hit a home run with this brew!  On with the tidbits!

buffalo**Tallgrass Bourbon Barrel Buffalo Sweat** I think this one will make many people happy. Tallgrass taking their beloved Buffalo Sweat stout and aging it in bourbon barrels. This beer will be available in 12 oz cans and will be available this fall.

**New Belgium Brewing Eric’s Ale** – the sour peach ale returns to eric's aleshelves (and probably already has) this month! Eric’s Ale comes in at 7% and is a member of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Series. More from the brewery:

Eric’s Ale, named for long time New Belgium brewer Eric Salazar, combines a dry, sour beer aged up to three years in oak foeders with a semi sweet, higher alcohol base beer. The resulting blend is re-fermented with peach juice, creating a smooth ale with subtle peach tones and a warm, spicy finish. The aroma has pleasant hints of vanilla and tropical fruit, the wood characteristics are present but nicely muted.

clown shoes**Clown Shoes Coffee Pecan Pie Porter – this beer will hit distro this fall and come in 22 oz bottles coming in at 8% ABV. I’ve really been digging Clown Shoes offerings lately and am looking forward to this one.

**Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Ovila Dubbel – the last time Sierra Nevada released sierrathis beer it was only available in California. With the expanding footprint and another brewery it looks like this might make a larger distro. Fingers crossed we get to see this in Iowa as this falls’ version will be aged in red wine and bourbon barrels. This brew will check in at 7.5% and will be available in 750ml bottles.