It’s not hard to find a place serving burgers in Iowa, but I’ll argue that it can be difficult to find a great place serving great burgers in Iowa. We’re all familiar with them. The general formula is a ground beef patty, housed inside a bun. The toppings, the patty, and the bun itself are generally what varies from one burger or restaurant to the other. Some add veggies, others add sauces, and yet others add haystack onion rings.
But imagine a place where they challenge that traditional idea of a burger. And rather, not so much question it, instead they want to advance it. These are the dreamers of dreams…artist using food to offer the world the new Mona Lisa. Actually, something even better: an edible Mona Lisa.
But all this isn’t to say their passions stop just outside the bun. They understand that to convey this passion, they must also provide an environment that is just as much complementary as it is fundamental.
If it’s good enough for a bust of Elvis, you’re damn right it’s good enough for you.
This place has charm. It’s got bright colors. It’s got seating aplenty. And, it’s also got a bar:
Now, you may think that I’m being silly. And, you’d be right. But let me make one thing clear, if Guy Fieri were to try this place, he’d say it was the real deal, and he’d be right.
Yes, the infamous Tator Tot. A classy affair indeed, made superb with nacho cheese, ground beef, jalapenos and fresh made guacamole. I’ve had these beauties twice, with two different groups, and in both cases they were crowd pleasers and didn’t last. The fresh guacamole is astounding and really makes this dish.
At West Towne Pub in Ames, I always get their Skippy burger. A burger with nothing but beef, bacon, provolone cheese, and chunky Skippy peanut butter, hence the name. You’d never have thunk it, but peanut butter and ground beef go amazingly together. I know it seems odd, but think of Thai food and the peanut sauce you dip your chicken satay into. It’s not a stretch to think of beef with that image in your head, is it? Well, I can tell you that I haven’t won my wife over with this burger, but maybe some day she’ll come around. Anyways, while looking over the menu at Oddfellow’s I noticed their Elvis Presley burger, a very similar affair to the Skippy burger, but with the cheese held.
Is it as good as West Towne pubs? Yes, I think so. In fact as far as the peanut butter goes it seems there’s more of it. And if a little peanut butter is good on your burger, then a lot more is even better!
My father in law got their Grilled Pork sandwich with the included roasted red peppers, pepper jack cheese, and BBQ sauce. He said it was great and considering nothing was left when he was done, I’d have to say that I believe him.
Both my wife and mother in law got their cheddar cheese burger. They both said they loved it. And knowing that they ground their beef fresh daily, I’m not surprised.
My eldest daughter ordered her usual: Mac ‘n Cheese. There were no complaints from her so I suspect it was good.
Oddfellows is owned by Chris Patterson, who owned the now defunct Pazzesco Italian restaurant in West Ames. I don’t miss the name (pronounced PAD-ZEES-CO, as it still annoys me every time I say it) but I certainly miss the food. I can’t wait until he reopens it or something like it again in the future. Until then, I will certainly be satisfied by his fun burger creations.
In Central Iowa there are two kings of the fun and outrageous burger that I’m aware of: Zombie Burger in Des Moines and Oddfellows. Both are great in their own right, offering a fun atmosphere and serious burgers. If you’re in the Ames area and looking for a great burger place, I highly recommend trying Oddfellows. I’ve only shown you a fraction of their menu. They also feature other fun burgers including one where the buns are replaced with glazed donuts and yet another that sandwiches the patty between two grilled cheese sandwiches. So why not start a new adventure and head on over?