Mix these pantry staples into ground beef to take your burgers, for July 4 and beyond, from basic to brilliant.


Ten juicy Iowa burgers have been nominated by the people who love them as being the best in the state.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association have announced the 10 finalists for their 10th annual Best Burger in Iowa contest for 2019.

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Iowans submitted nominations between Feb. 11 and March 11 to kick off the quest to find the best burger in Iowa. Nominations were accepted online by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

More: This is Iowa's Best Burger for 2019 — and it's just a short drive from Des Moines

The number of votes each restaurant received determined the 2019 Top Ten restaurants and will advance to the contest's final round.

Here are Iowa's Top 10 burgers of 2019:

"Iowa has over 28,000 beef producers, and this contest is a great way to celebrate the beef they produce and the impact they have on Iowa," says Katie Olthoff, director of Communications for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

To qualify, the burger must be a 100 percent beef patty or patties, although other ingredients may be added such as spices, and served on a bun or bread product. Burgers may include any combination of condiments, sauces, cheese or toppings.

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“Several restaurants have really unique and creative ways to encourage customers to vote. It was a close race to the finish line,” said Kylie Peterson, director of marketing for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “In total, we had over 500 towns and cities across Iowa represented, which proves that there are a lot of great tasting burgers all across the state.”

Three restaurants are new to the contest’s Top 10 list and include Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon in Elgin, Landmark Restaurant in Williamsburg and Wood Iron Grille in Oskaloosa.

Seven returning contestants made the list this year.

Returning restaurants include:

  • Ankeny Diner, Ankeny
  • Morgan’s Corner Bar & Grill, Ottumwa
  • Rides Bar & Grill, Fort Dodge
  • Robin’s Nest Café and Bakery, Clarinda
  • Saucy Focaccia, Cedar Rapids
  • The IowaStater Restaurant, Ames
  • The Twisted Tail Steakhouse & Saloon, Logan

The quest for the winner of the Iowa’s Best Burger will now begin. Now, it's up to a secret panel of judges to travel around the state tasting burgers from each restaurant to determine which is Iowa's best. These lucky judges who will evaluate the burgers based on taste, appearance, and proper doneness (160 degrees).

The judges’ scores and comments will be accumulated and the winner will be crowned on May 1 to kick off National Beef Month.

Last year, Cafe Beaudelaire, or Café B, as it is called by Ames residents, took the top spot. Owned by Brazilian-born Claudio Gianello and his wife, Kellie, from Carroll, the restaurant is located in the heart of Iowa State University’s Campustown and serves food with a Latin flavor to Ames’ temporary student population and permanent residents.

The restaurant has been in business for 28 years, and over that time, Gianello has tried several different renditions of his now-famous burger. He settled on a simple combination of salt, pepper and oregano on a hand-made patty of certified Angus beef

“We encourage everyone to visit the top 10 restaurants,” Peterson said. “These are only a few of the many restaurants in Iowa that do an outstanding job of promoting and serving our beef products to their customers on behalf of Iowa’s beef farmers.”

To learn more about the contest and the top 10 restaurants, including addresses and hours, visit

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Previous Best Burger in Iowa winners

  • 2018: Café Baudelaire, Ames
  • 2017: Smokin' Hereford BBQ in Storm Lake
  • 2016: The Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair
  • 2015: The Cider House in Fairfield
  • 2014: Brick City Grill in Ames
  • 2013: 61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis
  • 2012: Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids
  • 2011: Rusty Duck in Dexter
  • 2010: Sac County Cattle Company in Sac City


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