Juicy news to help kick off October Pork Month: the top five finalists have been selected for the 19th annual Iowa’s Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest, presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).
- Elk Horn — Larsen’s Pub (winner in 2007)
- Emerson — Old Road Cafe & Bar
- Harlan — Victoria Station
- Indianola — Z’s Eatery and Draught Haus
- Miles — Stalker’s Pub
“We are always looking for a tenderloin that celebrates the taste of pork,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA’s marketing and programs director. “I’ve been involved with this contest for 10 years, and I’ve seen a definite increase in restaurants offering thick, hand-breaded tenderloins that do just that.”
In the spring, IPPA called on tenderloin fans everywhere to nominate their favorite sandwiches. Nearly 6,000 nominations were submitted for 526 different establishments.
The five restaurants with the most nominations from each of IPPA’s eight districts—for a total of 40 from around the state—were reviewed during the summer by IPPA’s restaurant and foodservice committee. Leading contenders were then turned over to undercover judges who scored tenderloins on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics, and eating experience.
Any Iowa restaurant, café or tavern offering hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloins on its daily menu was eligible to be nominated. To win, the business must be open year-round with regular hours. Food trucks, concession stands, seasonal establishments, and catering businesses were not eligible.
The first- and second-place winners will be announced later this month, dubbed #Porktober21 on social media channels as part of the monthlong celebration of pig farmers and the great product they produce.
The winning restaurant will receive $500, a plaque, a banner to display, and statewide publicity that will bring in new business.
First-place restaurants are not allowed to compete for five years afterward.
Winners from the past five years: 2020 – PrairieMoon On Main, Prairieburg; 2019 – The Pub at the Pinicon, New Hampton; 2018 – Three C’s Diner, Corning; 2017 – Grid Iron Grill, Webster City; and 2016 – Nick’s, Des Moines.
See the full list of past winners, dating back to 2003.