Pork tenderloins are a popular sandwich in Iowa..but not all are created equal. Every year, the Iowa Pork Producers Association holds a contest to name Iowa's best breaded pork tenderloin. Many Iowa restaurants are nominated and then a winner is crowned. If you win this highly coveted honor, it becomes a significant source of pride and certainly helps with marketing.
In recent years, the marketing folks at Iowa Pork came up with a really clever idea. The thought up the "The Tenderloin Trail" and thus Iowa's tenderloin tourism concept was born. By visiting enough of the past annual winners within a two year period, you can collect stamps and thus win a "Conquer the Tenderloin Trail" t-shirt.
On a recent Saturday, a friend and I were in Wright County around the noon hour and decided to head up to Belmond to the Belmond Drive-In to try one of the famous sandwiches.
You can find signs announcing this 2015 honor both inside and outside the restaurant.
This is a great small-town cafe. It's the kind of place where you can grab a quick bite in a hurry or sit down casually with your family. They have a fair amount of seating in the main area and another room toward the back that might be utilized on really busy days or for private events and parties.
Their menu is more than just tenderloins. They offer a wide array of the kind of food items that you would see at any other popular small-town establishment. Their sizable selection of ice cream treats no doubt makes this a popular spot during the sweltering summer months.
The hot beef and hot turkey specials sounded really good but since this was my first visit, I had to go with what has made them famous...the pork tenderloin.
I decided to order my tenderloin with fries, but there were other sides options. The sandwich included lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. I added mustard and ketchup. It was very delicious. Terrific flavor in the breading. I highly recommend.
The walls were filled with pictures, posters, and even a large Bronco head - all in honor of the local Belmond-Klemme Broncos.
You can even add a pin to this large map to denote where you are from. Lots of people have made the pilgrimage to Belmond to enjoy those delicious tenderloins.
On the wall, near where I was sitting, were some historic pictures of the damage from the cataclysmic 1966 F5 tornado that hit Belmond.
Next time you are in the Belmond area, be sure to stop by the drive-in for a great dining experience.
The service was great and I would personally recommend the pork tenderloin. However, I am sure you cannot go wrong with any of their specials or menu choices.
If you are still needing a resolution for 2019, perhaps you could try to conquer the tenderloin trail? This is now the second tenderloin trail stop I've profiled on this site. Last February, I visited Darrell's Place in Hamlin and enjoyed their delicious prized pork. I've also been to Prairie City's Goldie's but did not have one of the tenderloins. That resolution may not help you lose weight, but you are guaranteed to have a bunch of great meals.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Wright County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through my website.