Moveable Feast: Road Trip to LeMars, Iowa

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
August 29, 2014
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St. Paul, Minn. — For our weekly feature Moveable Feast, John Birge and Minnesota Monthly's Rachel Hutton talk about where to go and what to eat in Minnesota.

With Labor Day weekend upon us, summer is coming to an end. This week, John and Rachel expand their sights beyond Minnesota's borders. John asked Rachel if she has any food-and-travel highlights to recommend?

Here's what she has to say:

It just so happens that last weekend I was in Le Mars, Iowa, the Ice Cream Capital of the World. It's in the northwest corner of Iowa, about four-and-a-half hours from Minneapolis. It's the home of Wells ice cream, which produces the Blue Bunny brand, and more ice cream comes out of this one tiny town than apparently any other city in the world.

In downtown LeMars, they have an ice cream parlor — I visited twice in one day — it has a large variety of flavors for cones, sundaes, malts, floats, and so forth. Portions are generous — one scoop looks more like three! In honor of Minnesota's Pearson's Candy Company, I had a Nut Roll sundae: vanilla ice cream with marshmallow, caramel and salted peanuts.

If you're looking for somewhere to eat dinner in the area, there's Bob's Drive-In for lunch, where they serve hot dogs topped with "tavern sandwich" meat, which is to say, loose ground beef.

For dinner, Archie's Waeside [sic] supper club has all the attributes of such an institution: it's packed by 6:30 p.m., and the people who arrived at 4:30 are already leaving. The steaks are delicious and affordable. I had a 10 oz. petite tenderloin for $20 — beef so abundant in Iowa it's practically free. Archie's actually won a steakhouse competition put on by Rachael Ray's television show and it won the Midwest bracket.


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