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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Grinnell Steakhouse nominated for Best Burger

Just off of Highway 146 lies a real gem of a restaurant, the Grinnell Steakhouse. Recently, it was nominated for the second year in a row for the honor of Iowa’s Best Burger. This award is given out by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, and burgers are judged on three criteria: appearance, taste and proper preparation of the meat.

John Howerzyl, left, tends to a grill full of steaks for him and his two sons, Adam and Mason, at Grinnell Steakhouse on Thursday night. Photograph take by Ben Brewer.

Last year, the Steakhouse placed fourth in the state, and recently made it to the top ten in a field of hundreds yet again. In the first week of May, after restaurant visits and tastings, the Beef Council will announce which of the finalists is chosen as the Best Burger in Iowa.

I visited the Grinnell Steakhouse to learn more about why their food is award winning and to sample the famously delicious burger for myself.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was graciously greeted by manager Chad Hauser, whose family owns and runs the Grinnell Steakhouse. We talked our way through the menu and his personal favorites. He then introduced me to Laurie Hauser, who described what makes the Grinnell Steakhouse burger unique.
“Each one of our burgers is made to order,” she explained. “They’re not cooked at all until a customer comes in and orders one.”

The burger is very open to customization, as customers start with a basic burger and can add different types of cheese, grilled onions or mushrooms, bacon, lettuce, onions, tomato and more. In addition, everything on the menu is homemade, from the soups and sides to the desserts.

The wonderful smell of great meat cooking was wafting through the air, and I could not wait to try the burger.

I started, as per Chad’s recommendation, with a cup of the steak soup. From the first sip, I could tell that this was perfect homemade soup. It was an excellent consistency, with a rich smoky flavor. The vegetables were flavorful, and the steak was divine, tender and full of flavor.

As soon as the soup was finished, I dug into my order of onion rings. Never in my life have I encountered such perfect specimens of flavor. The breading was light and flaky, yet had a strong presence that complemented the sweet tanginess of the onions. Fried to a golden crisp, these onion rings were a clear example of the high quality of the homemade food for which the Grinnell Steakhouse has become renowned.

Finally, I made it to the main course. Adorned by expertly cooked, hand-cut fries lay a magnificent masterpiece of a burger. I had ordered the burger with fried onions, pepper jack cheese, bacon and Maytag Blue Cheese made in nearby Newton.

As I gazed upon the burger, smelling the infusion of amazing grilled meat with the fried onions and thick slabs of bacon surrounded by melted cheese and toasted bun, I realized why this was a burger that deserved accolades. This burger was what all burgers aspire to be. This was perfection on a bun.

With the first bite, I was struck by how delicious the hamburger meat was. Too often, the actual meat of a burger is outshone by other ingredients, but here, the beef was the star. The patty was juicy and bursting with flavor. I could taste the complexity of the high quality, expertly grilled beef in every bite. All of the ingredients combined to form a symphony of flavor, melding and mixing in subtle ways. 

Basically, the Grinnell Steakhouse is a wonderful slice of beef heaven. In addition to the famous burger, they offer an extensive salad bar, homemade sides, steak sandwiches and a social “grill-your-own-meat” dinner. The meat is a step above everywhere else, thanks to a highly experienced butcher and quality Midwest cattle.

Visitors to the Steakhouse can enjoy a great meal any day in its elegant yet welcoming dining room. Laurie Hauser attributes the appealing atmosphere to its friendly, dedicated staff.

“We’ve got good people who put pride in their work,” she said. “We all love to eat, and that makes our job a little easier.”

That pride and love of food shows in all of their delectable dishes, including that delicious burger. Anytime a burger or steak craving strikes, or if you are just in the mood for a delicious meal, swing by the Grinnell Steakhouse and enjoy one of the best burgers in Iowa!

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