Iowa’s Oldest Restaurant Still Going Strong

One of Iowa’s hidden culinary treasures is Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa, near the Mississippi River.

Housed in an old stagecoach house, Breitbach’s serves great food made from scratch-and lots of it-at reasonable prices. Founded in 1852 under a permit issued from President Millard Fillmore, it’s been owned by the Breitbachs since 1891 and is in its sixth generation of family ownership.

Current owners Mike and Cindy Breitbach work hard to preserve the restaurant’s rich heritage. The walls are lined with memorabilia, including a blanket left behind by Frank James, brother of notorious outlaw Jesse James, when the brothers and their gang stayed at a boarding house run by Mike’s great-great-grandfather Jacob in 1876. They even posed for a picture-it’s hanging right there in the restaurant!

Virtually everything in the store is for sale, and there’s an antique store in the basement. And as a bonus, the second-highest point in Iowa, which offers a splendid view of the Mississippi River Valley, is just a block away.

Balltown is on the Great River Road, about 15 miles northwest of Dubuque. Breitbach’s (563 Balltown Rd.) is wheelchair accessible.

For details, call 1-563/552-2220.

Interested in camping nearby? Check out KOA campgrounds in Iowa.