Founded largely by Swedish immigrants and named after a town in Sweden, Boxholm in northern Boone County has laid claim to being the "Swedest" town in Iowa.
It's located on Highway 169 and is a town I've driven through, on countless occasions, on trips to and from my parents' farm in O'Brien County.
It's home to just over a couple hundred people and a few other elements that you would expect to find in a small Iowa town like a grain co-op, churches, and some downtown buildings, among others. However, it is also home to The Lucky Donkey Bar and Grill, a restaurant and bar that is quickly developing a good following with it's nice atmosphere, excellent food, and regular events and entertainment. On a recent Saturday, after making stops in Webster, Humboldt, Pocahontas, and Calhoun Counties, I ended my day with a delicious dinner at The Lucky Donkey.
Located in the downtown area of the community, the bar and grill occupies a large corner brick building.
It looks as though they have a patio set up but on this particular bitterly cold January evening, it certainly was not going to be in use.
The entrance to the restaurant may seem a little underwhelming from the outside, but once inside you quickly realize that it's a happening community hangout. With varying hours, they are open on five days a week.
When I showed up, it was a little sparse.
But by the time I departed (less than an hour later), it was packed with people enjoying the menu items and competing in rounds of trivia.
According to the schedule of events located on the napkin dispensers, a DJ was planning to take over after the trivia ended.
If that live entertainment is not for you, there are also televisions, a large projector screen, and some other machines in one of the corners.
They have a very nice menu of items - much of what you would expect to find at a popular small town Iowa restaurant.
They also had some specials on this particular Saturday evening. Unless some place is really known for something, I'm usually prone to give the special a shot.
I tried the sirloin special and was very pleased with that decision. Quite good. This special included a very nicely prepared medium steak, a couple of pieces of toast, a baked potato, and some of their very popular cowboy beans (baked beans). I did not take an "after' photo, but I can assure you that I had zero complaints.
They also have a well stocked bar with a number of different options.
There is wine available from Backcountry Winery near Stratford. It looks like the kind of place I'll have to stop at in the future.
They also were serving some beer from River Hops Brewing in Fort Dodge.
Of course, you can even get yourself some branded merchandise.
I had a great experience at The Lucky Donkey and I had been meaning to check it out ever since I saw this sign along the road on 169.
While in Boxholm and before it got too dark, I drove around the town a bit to see some of the other sights. Admittedly, I don't know that I've ever ventured off of Highway 169 despite having driven through the town literally dozens of times over the years.
Like most small towns in Iowa, there is a grain elevator and other agricultural-related facilities.
The south side of town has a school building and athletic facilities that are part of the local school district.
In addition to The Lucky Donkey, there are other buildings in the downtown area that of varying stages of use and condition.
I'd like to come back and check out the Boxholm Museum sometime.
Elsewhere on Highway 169, there's a beautiful old church building, a bank, an abandoned gas station, and another commercial building that has been, in recent years, a farm toy store and a catering business.
I also found a Methodist Church in town.
The town has mostly modest single family homes but there is also some higher density housing too.
Of course, no post on Boxholm could be complete without a photo of a drumming round-bale bear that greets you and wishes you Merry Christmas on the south end of town.
Boxholm is a town I get to regularly because it's on one of my usual routes - but I had never explored it before. I would certainly head back to the Lucky Donkey again to try other items on the menu or to check out some of their entertainment options. Perhaps it will be warmer on my return visit. Boxholm is fortunate to have a great place like The Lucky Donkey. I can tell you that there are other towns of 200 people that are not as "lucky".