In 1928, native son Herbert Hoover was elected President of the United States. That same year, a small diner along the historic Lincoln Highway, America's first transcontinental highway, opened it's doors to serve the hungry travelers and the local residents of Belle Plaine in Benton County.
The Lincoln Cafe is directly across the street from the historic Herring Hotel, a building that is now the subject of an ambitious renovation and revitalization project. On a Saturday a few weeks ago, I stopped in Belle Plaine to attend a fundraiser for the hotel project and enjoyed a bite to eat in this famous eatery.
According to their Facebook page, the cafe offers breakfast all day, homemade soups, daily specials, and broasted chicken. They prepare everything in house and it is cooked to order. They offer an impressive menu of options. It's definitely a place where just about everybody will find something to like.
They offer regular and daily specials.
However, I decided to try one of the breakfast skillets. I got a skillet full of various breakfast meats and hashbrowns with two fried eggs on top. I think it normally would come with toast, but I asked to sub in a biscuit. The whole thing was spectacularly delicious and reasonably priced. I also got a nice hot cup of coffee.
The cafe has the look and feel like any other well frequented small town restaurant. It's definitely the kind of place that brings a community together. As I like to say, I know that a place is going to be where people gather when I see a bulletin board full of advertisements, notices, and business cards.
There's lots of tables and booths that fill cafe. When I visited, they were not overly busy but it was also very rainy and cold that day.
There is another dining room that was not open to guests when I was there. I still popped my head in, though. It looks like it would be used when they are really busy or for a private event.
For example, The local Lions Club appears to use the room as a meeting room.
I love stopping in places like the Lincoln Cafe. It's a real testament to the quality of the food and service that the cafe has been able to survive for over 90 years. I had a great meal and it gave me the energy to explore more of the town, including making stops at the Herring Hotel (and the tea fundraiser), the grave of Ladimir Klácel, and the Jumbo Well marker.
I only scratched the surface of things to see and do around Belle Plaine, not to mention the other cities and attractions elsewhere in Benton County. I certainly look forward to getting back again soon.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Benton 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.