Ottumwa is a town of about 25,000 residents so naturally there are a number of good dining options to choose from. In fact, there are several spots on my list for my next swing through the area.
However, on a recent Sunday evening, a friend of mine, who is a native of the community, gave a car full of friends and me the grand tour of the community. I've been to and through Ottumwa a few times, but it is always good to get the low down from an expert.
Since it was Sunday evening, a lot of restaurants were closed but we still found an outstanding option: Bubba-Qs. This tasty restaurant happens to be located in the Quincy Place Mall complex.
There are a lot of great BBQ spots around Iowa and since I like BBQ, you'll probably see plenty of them on this site. Bubba-Q's has built up enough of a solid reputation that they have already added a second location in Pella.
This location is very tastefully decorated with a nice western and industrial chic style.
There are plenty of tables and booths and much of it has been accented by authentic corrugated steel, old barn wood, and nice pendent light fixtures.
Obviously, you can have great decor and atmosphere and still not do well if your food doesn't match. With Bubba-Qs, there is no issue here. The items my party of four enjoyed were quite delicious.
They have a fairly extensive menu of options.
Even though they have more on the menu than just BBQ, I think it always makes sense to try what put put a place on the map to begin with.
I got one of the sandwich specials that included chopped pulled pork on a bun with homemade coleslaw on top and a side of their baked beans. Very delicious.
Another friend got the chopped brisket with baked beans and another did the chopped brisket with the mac and cheese. I did not hear any complaints!
If you like the sauce options available with your meal, you can buy a bottle or two to go home with.
The service was great and the food was very prompt. If you are looking for a delicious, reasonably priced meal in Ottumwa, I'd invite you to pay them a visit next time you are in the area. In the meantime, take a look at their Facebook page and give them a like.
Across town, we were looking for dessert and my friend said we absolutely had to check out a local icon: Graham's Dairy Freez. When I say icon, I truly do mean it...it's been around for well more than a century!
Graham's is an Ottumwa institution and is located near the downtown area of the city. On this particular summer evening, there was a sizable crowd of folks enjoying a sweet treat.
There is no indoor seating from what I could tell - there was only a walk-up window. However, the other side of the parking lot had an area with several spots to rest.
They do have more than ice cream treats on the menu, but naturally that's the big draw of the place.
They have special flavors throughout the year and I heard a rumor that this calendar of information is one of the most important for the locals to have every year.
I was pretty full from my barbecue but I enjoyed a small mint shake. It was very good and exactly the kind of treat I was looking for.
The next time you are in Wapello County and need to indulge a bit, check out Graham's. It's been around for more than a century...so they are obviously doing something right!