Annual Search Begins for Iowa's Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin

April 18, 2024

The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) invites the public to nominate their favorite restaurant for the 22nd annual Iowa's Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest.

Nominations opened on April 17, and will run through June 3. During this period, tenderloin lovers can submit their top choice for the state's best breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Each person is limited to one vote, and those who nominate the winning restaurant will have a chance to win a $100 prize.

“Iowans love their tenderloin sandwiches, and there is no shortage of restaurants serving up these beloved Iowa staples,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA's marketing and programs director. “The 2023 competition nearly broke 10,000 nominations, so we’re hoping to see great participation and support for Iowa’s restaurants again this year!”

Iowa is the national leader in pork production.

To qualify for the contest, hand-breaded tenderloins must be part of the regular menu at an Iowa establishment with consistent year-round hours. Food trucks, concession stands, seasonal eateries, and catering businesses are ineligible.

Following the nomination period, IPPA's Restaurant & Foodservice Committee will review the top 40 restaurants, which include the five establishments with the most nominations from each of IPPA's eight districts. These leading contenders will then be evaluated by a panel of undercover judges who will visit the locations and rank the tenderloins based on pork quality, taste, physical characteristics, and overall eating experience.

The top five picks will be unveiled during National Pork Month in October. The winning restaurant will receive a $500 cash prize, a plaque to display, and statewide publicity. The runner-up will be awarded $250 and a plaque from IPPA.

The contest traditionally generates tremendous enthusiasm, as evidenced by the more than 9,000 nominations for 774 different restaurants received in 2023. The winning restaurants from the past five years include:

Click here for a complete list of past winners dating back to 2003. IPPA also invites food lovers to conquer the Iowa Tenderloin Trail and win a T-shirt.