The breaded pork tenderloin is a sense of pride for many Iowans, and their appetite for perfection is once again needed to find the state’s juiciest, most flavorful sandwich.
Today, the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) began accepting nominations for its 19th annual Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest. The winner will be named during National Pork Month in October.
Through June 4, the public can submit a nomination online for the restaurant that serves their favorite tenderloin.
“After nearly 20 years of this competition, past titleholders continue to tell us how life-changing the experience has been,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA marketing and programs director. “Please share where to find the best of the best by submitting a nomination, and help put those mouth-watering tenderloins on the map!”
The Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that offer hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloins as a regular menu item. Nominated tenderloins must be from a restaurant that is typically open year-round with regular hours. The effects of COVID-19 on establishment hours of operation do not impact eligibility. Food trucks, concession stands, seasonal establishments, and catering businesses are not eligible.
This first round of the contest is a chance for tenderloin fans everywhere to get their top choice on IPPA’s radar. Plus, those who nominate the winning restaurant will be entered into a drawing for a $100 prize. Nominations are limited to one per person.
Following the nomination round, IPPA’s restaurant and foodservice committee will select 40 restaurants for review; that list includes the five restaurants with the most nominations from each of IPPA’s eight districts. It’s those reviews that determine which restaurants are turned over to a panel of undercover judges, who visit the contenders and score their tenderloins on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics, and eating experience.
Five finalists will be named in October, with the winning restaurant receiving $500, a plaque to display in their business, and statewide publicity that will bring in new business. The runner-up is awarded $250 and a plaque from IPPA.
Winners from the past five years (past winners are not eligible for the competition): 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; 2016 — Nick’s, Des Moines. See the full list of past winners, dating back to 2003.
Nominations in 2020: IPPA received 4,501 nominations for 390 different establishments.