There are a lot of towns the size of Tingley, population 184 as of the 2010 census, that do not have a cafe or restaurant where the community can gather for a good meal or a hot cup of coffee. However, that is not the case for this little Ringgold County farming community. Not only do they have a great restaurant to call their own, it's open every day of the year except Christmas!
On a recent Sunday (it was frigidly cold), as a friend and I were making some stops in both Ringgold and Taylor Counties, we stopped into the Wagon Wheel Cafe in Tingley for an outstanding lunch.
Most days of the week, patrons of the Wagon Wheel can order off of a fairly vast menu. I think they also have daily specials as well. On Sunday, however, they offer just a special or two with a salad bar. On this particular Sunday, we could pick between pork loin or roast beef plus the salad bar for $8.95. A very good deal.
We both made one pass through the salad bar.
It was a very fresh assortment of lettuce salad and toppings plus a few other prepared salads, such as potato salad. There were also dinner rolls. I would give it a thumbs up, for sure.
I ordered the roast beef. My friend ordered the pork loin.
I didn't try any of his pork, but my friend said it was very good. My roast beef was excellent. The scalloped potatoes were fantastic. I was also impressed with the green beans as they had lots of flavor. They were not your typical small-town cafe green beans. I ordered a cup of coffee with my meal.
It's not a huge cafe but keep in mind, it's also not a huge town. There are a few booths and tables - nothing fancy. However, it doesn't need to be fancy.
You pay up at the counter and they have some great Wagon Wheel art work behind it.
Of course, it wouldn't be a small town cafe without a bulletin board to post community announcements and upcoming sales.
After enjoying our delicious meal, my friend and I scoped out the rest of the town. Tingley is toward the north part of the county. It's just a bit north and west of Beaconsfield, which is home to the first ever Hy-Vee store as well as the hometown of Dr. Peggy Whitson, one of the most accomplished NASA astronauts to ever live.
I spotted a nice white church building as well as a brick church building, too.
There is also a park which includes some ball fields and other playground equipment.
To the east of the park is a water tower.
There are a number of different types of buildings that are in varying states of use and condition.
I got a good chuckle out of this business' sign. Everybody loves their fur baby!
Closer to the downtown where the cafe is, we found another park with a picnic shelter and other playground equipment.
There are some nice but modest single family homes.
However, I did spot a big beautiful farmhouse at a t-intersection on the east side of town.
There were definitely some snow piles when we visited. In the past week, I imagine much of that has melted away.
Tingley is near Sun Valley Lake, which is a popular spot in the summer for recreational activities. If you are headed to the lake or are just going to be in the Tingley area, maybe stop by the Wagon Wheel to see what kinds of deliciousness you can enjoy. I certainly would stop back myself as I am sure there will be something else delicious rolling out of that kitchen.
I am already looking forward to getting back to Ringgold County to check out some more of the communities and countryside. But as always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Ringgold 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 this website.