Last Wednesday, I headed up to Fort Dodge after my regular 8 to 5 job in order to attend an event featuring five of the candidates for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. While that was my primary reason for heading to Webster County, I figured I might as well find somewhere interesting and local to eat before the event.
Through the years, I've driven through Fort Dodge plenty of times on my way to or from my parents' farm in far northwest Iowa. However, outside of some occasional stops at Tom Thumb Drive-Inn, McDonald's, or a convenience store along Highway 169, I've rarely explored other options off the beaten path.
Looking for expert guidance, I asked my friend Afton about where I should go. She owns Cornerpost Marketing, one of the top agricultural marketing firms in the state, and is well connected within the greater Webster County area.
Her suggestion? She offered up several but suggested I definitely to make a stop at Ride's Bar and Grill on the south side of Fort Dodge. Not only was it a great place to visit but it was also about two minutes from the venue where my political forum was going to be held. Convenient!
As you might guess by the name, this is definitely a biker bar. However, they take their culinary offerings very seriously and were recently included in the top 10 of the Iowa Beef Industry Council's "Best Burger" contest. In fact, this is the 4th time in the last five years that they made the list. Always the bridesmaid - never the bride. I am sure their time will come sooner than later.
In addition to the restaurant and bar, they also have a party room, a banquet room, and an outside patio. Below is a photo of the entrance to the banquet center. I'm sure it could host a wedding or many other similar type events.
The party room was not in use when I was there and the lights were off - but clearly there are some pool tables and ample seating space.
A few bikes were parked outside and there were a few patrons enjoying the nice early May sunshine on the patio. On Wednesdays from May to October, they have a bike night.
Inside the restaurant, the walls and even the ceiling were covered in fun race, motorcycle, and car memorabilia and insignia.
They had seats at a bar, some booths, and a number of different tables of varying height.
One corner of the bar has lots of merchandise for sale.
Now to the menu and their line-up of top 10 burgers. The menu has lots of other items but clearly, burgers are the main event.
Not only did my friend give me great advice of where to stop, she and her colleague even joined me for dinner. I ordered the Studebaker, which is one of their specialty burgers. It comes as two burger patties, cheese, bacon, fried egg, and peanut butter...all served on a bun with fries. The two photos below show the burger with both the bun top on and off. You can clearly see the peanut butter on top of the egg. It was quite delicious! I would recommend - though it was quite messy. It was also more food than I needed so you best come hungry!
My friend ordered the pizza burger and she gave it high remarks. Her sandwich was accompanied by chips.
Lastly, my friend's colleague also ordered the Road King burger. She liked it too. The Iowa Adventurer sticker was not included.
Before departing, I used the restroom and found this sign in to be quite amusing.
It was an excellent stop and the service was friendly and great. Would definitely recommend Rides and so definitely check out their Facebook page and give them a like. There is so much more to see and do in Fort Dodge so I will be back. However, I might have missed this place if it were not for the local expertise of my friend. That's why I always welcome suggestions of places to visit and profile in Iowa.