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Brad Magg, owner of Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City, has earned several \u0022best tenderloin\u0022 honors throught the years. Magg talks about the elements that make a good pork tenderloin sandwich. Bryon Houlgrave/The Register

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There can never be too many contests to determine the best breaded pork tenderloin in the state of Iowa.

But a new contest from USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards for 2019 pitted 20 Iowa restaurants against each other. The top 10 winners were then determined by popular vote by readers.

And the best tenderloin sandwich comes from Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe, located about 30 minutes east of Des Moines at 304 W. 2nd Street in Prairie City and owned by Brad Magg, 32, of Colfax. 

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"None of this would be possible without the amazing customers we have," Magg said. Magg also attributed the win to his staff, who perform great under pressure. "Small town Iowa is a wonderful place and it's so supportive, especially the residents of Prairie Cit,y who put up with all these tourists racing through town and taking over their ice cream shop." 

Top 10 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin in Iowa winners

"The breaded pork tenderloin (BPT) is a point of pride in the state of Iowa, the biggest pork-producing state in the nation and home to its very own Iowa Tenderloin Trail," 10Best wrote. "Hundreds of restaurants serve the dish, but the best ones use fresh Iowa pork, cut daily, tenderized and breaded by hand, often to order. A great tenderloin can be eaten plain, but this Iowa specialty is often served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions (sometimes ketchup and mustard)."

The top 10 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin in Iowa winners are:

  1. Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe - 304 W. 2nd St., Prairie City; (515) 994-3190
  2. Darrell's Place - 4010 1st St., Hamlin; (712) 563-3922
  3. Tojo's Bar and Grill- 408 Main St., Jamaica; (641) 429-3007
  4. Nick's Townhouse Tenderloins - 1106 Army Post Rd., Des Moines; (515) 777-2759
  5. The Buffalo Tavern - 2016 S. Main St., Burlington; (319) 754-4338
  6. Dairy Sweet- 118 Iowa Ave., Dunlap; (712) 643-5116
  7. The Lucky Pig Pub & Grill- 113 W. Walnut St., Ogden; (515) 275-9946
  8. St. Olaf Tavern - 106 S. Main St., St. Olaf; (563) 783-7723
  9. Smitty's Tenderloin Shop - 1401 Army Post Rd., Des Moines; (515) 287-4742
  10. Grid Iron Grill & Sports Lounge - 1121 E. 2nd St., Webster City; (515) 832-2255

"We try to walk the line of making the tenderloin big enough in its appearance on the plate but not so big that you can't consider eating one by yourself," Magg said. "We try to keep the meat thicker so you can actually taste the pork on the inside and see the pork. Living in Iowa, there's a reason why the pork tenderloin is so popular is that we have amazing pork here and we try to showcase that."

All of the pork for Goldie's sandwiches comes from Fareway Grocery in Altoona. The store hand-slices and tenderizes the meat and Goldie's takes the prep from there using a seasoned cracker crumb coating for its traditional pork tenderloin sandwich.

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Look for a few variations like the Mingo special — a traditional tenderloin topped with loose meat Italian sausage from Mingo Locker made from Schlosser Farm pork that has never left Jasper County. It's finished off with marinara and melted mozzarella cheese. The Magg Combo is also popular with the addition of a third-pound cheeseburger on top of the tenderloin with pepper jack cheese. 

Goldie's has had quite the foodie history in the building's nearly 60 years. Golda Ingram sold the seasonal ice cream shop she had started in 1995 to Magg in 2007 — when Magg was 20 years old.

Magg started his own catering business when he was 14 and went on to graduate from culinary school at DMACC.

Over the years, not much has changed with the 1,200-square-foot building outside of a new drive-through and a new kitchen, along with some fresh paint. Magg extended the menu and the hours but kept the seat count at 29.

But with awards from the Iowa Pork Producers Association, along with recognition from the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times, Magg said Goldie's has become more of a tourist destination.

"About 70 percent of our customers are from outside of a 30-mile radius," Magg said. Magg serves on the city council of Colfax with its population of 2,000 people. "I really have a passion for small-town Iowa and especially Jasper County. What I thought was going to give me an avenue to be creative and give a small Iowa town a place to have lunch has turned into this thing that is bringing people from all over Iowa and the country to Jasper County."

His core team of employees has grown from six to 40 to help handle the massive increase in the business, including orders from Magg's 18-year-old catering company, Magg Family Catering LLC, with its 1,200-square-foot commercial kitchen located on the Magg family acreage.

Ice cream lovers will also find themselves in the right place. Goldie's offers soft serve made with Anderson Erickson Dairy mix.

"We take great pride in having a wide variety of fun, rare and hard-to-find toppings," Magg said. "We have 50 toppings you can mix and match create with."

That includes homemade items like brownies and store-bought items like Hershey's obscure Take 5 candy bars — pretzel, caramel, peanut and peanut butter-filled, milk chocolate-coated cookie bars — that Magg has shipped specially to the restaurant.

A rotating list of flavored soft serve ice cream is delayed this year, but Magg promises to have the new flavor calendar out on the website soon.

Blended ice cream treats called Twisters include seasonal flavors like Dutch letter and rhubarb. In fact, Magg said all he had to do was post a can of almond paste on social media during the Tulip Time event in Pella and thousands of the desserts virtually flew out the door. 

The 20 original restaurant nominees were chosen by a panel of Iowa food and travel experts including Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, Lori Erickson and Brian Taylor Carlson

Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Location: 304 W. 2nd St., Prairie City

Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; ice cream is served until 9:30 p.m. daily

Contact: (515) 994-3190; goldiesicecreamshoppe.com; Facebook

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