Search Begins for Iowa’s Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin of 2020

Search Begins for Iowa’s Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin of 2020

Comfort foods are high on the list of what Iowans are looking for in this stressful time. In Iowa, one of the star comfort foods is the breaded pork tenderloin. Despite the fact that many of our local restaurants are closed, or maybe only running a takeout service, the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) restaurant and foodservice committee is looking ahead and hoping Iowans will join them as the search begins to find the best breaded tenderloin in Iowa. In October, the 2020 winner will be announced!

And, here is how you can help: Get online and nominate the restaurant that serves your favorite tenderloin. Yes, that restaurant may be even momentarily closed, but your taste buds remember it! Nominations can be made online at

Nominations for the 18th annual Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest will continue to be taken until June 5.

“We always look forward to this contest because we love how excited and passionate our Iowa tenderloin connoisseurs get,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA marketing and programs director. “But this year has a couple of underlying issues we hope will bring more people in to make nominations. First, those nominations are going to spark morale at restaurants who just cannot bring their customers in and serve them right now. Second, you can remember the great times you’ve had with friends and families at those restaurants and look forward to returning to them.”

The Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that have pork as a regular menu item. Nominated tenderloins must be from any Iowa restaurant or café that is typically open year-round with regular hours. The effects of our current situation on establishment hours of operation do not impact eligibility. However, food trucks, concession stands, seasonal establishments and catering businesses are not eligible.

It’s the first round where you, the tenderloin-lover, will have the biggest impact. Only one nomination per person can be made, so consider carefully your favorites before makng your selection! Also, your nomination could help you win some money. The people nominating the winning restaurant will be entered in a drawing for a $100 prize.

From the nomination round, 40 restaurants will be selected to move to the summer portion of the contest. Selected restaurants will be reviewed by IPPA’s restaurant and foodservice committee. Their reviews will determine which restaurants are turned over to a secret panel of judges who will score the tenderloins on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics and eating experience. The winner will be named during October Pork Month.

Sutter said the contest not only supports the state’s restaurants, but also Iowa’s nation-leading pork industry. “We’re looking forward to discovering more of Iowa’s great restaurants and finding Iowa’s best breaded tenderloin for 2020!”

The winning restaurant will receive $500, a plaque to display in their business and statewide publicity that will bring in new business.

Winners from the past five years (past winners are not eligible for the competition): 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; 2015 – Belmond Drive-in, Belmond.

Nominations in 2019: – IPPA received 5,390 nominations for 470 different establishments.