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Coffee Cup Cafe: The Best Tenderloin in Iowa

I have been on my road trip now for two weeks and have visited good friends and great places in five states:  Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Iowa & Illinois.  Most of the time I eat on the run or with friends and family, enjoying the conversation.  Sometimes those meals are in great restaurants worthy of praise.

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Day 2 R & R Pella Tulips 082On a day trip with family to Pella to see the tulips in bloom and visit a delightful Dutch bakery, we stopped for dinner at an unassuming little place in Sully, Iowa.  This restaurant is called Coffee Cup Café, and it exudes a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, appropriate to its name.  It feels like you are sitting down to share a cup of coffee with an old friend.  And if you are lucky, you will be there when a young man dressed as Thor helps protect the place!  [He was very cute and heroic, but a photograph would have zapped his powers!]

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Day 2 R & R Pella Tulips 080One of the specialties offered at Coffee Cup Cafe is a breaded tenderloin.  This sandwich, I am told, is a matter of pride throughout Iowa with many places boasting to have the best tenderloin in the state.  The most typical version is pounded very, very thin and thus covers nearly the entire plate.  The Coffee Cup Cafe’s version is not quite that big, but the breaded tenderloin generously overlaps the bun and covers about half the plate.  And oh my, what a taste sensation!  The spices are just right in the breading, and the tenderloin is perfectly cooked, tender and juicy.  It is served on a homemade bun with options such as onions, mustard, and pickles.  I ordered my sandwich with onion rings that were also to-die-for.  But the homemade potato salad was amazing as well.

I just cannot imagine a better Iowa Tenderloin.  This was fabulous.  In fact, I ordered a second one, ostensibly so I could take a picture, but then just had to take it home to have for breakfast the next morning.  What a great way to start the day!  It was just as good as leftovers—which is a great sign for me of good cooking.

Day 2 R & R Pella Tulips 076Day 2 R & R Pella Tulips 074The Coffee Cup Cafe is owned by a couple who share the work load.  I met Robin, the baker responsible for the wondrous made from scratch breads and baked goods.  I had a chocolate cream pie that was sinfully delicious.  My cousins enjoyed their cherry berry slices!  The pies are so popular that to make sure pie is available for you at dinner, you need to call in earlier in the day and reserve a slice!  I’m so glad we remembered to do that!  Robin’s husband runs the grill and fryer.


Day 2 R & R Pella Tulips 077Coffee Cup Café offers a wide selection on its menu.  The tenderloin, potato salad, sliced beef sandwich, and—of course—the pies are standard fare.  But the restaurant also offers special daily items.  Tuesday is Jumbo Taco Day with homemade tortillas.  Wednesday offers Hot Wings, Friday is Italian Pizza & Pasta Night, and Saturday is all you can eat chicken and pork!  This incredible little place has won numerous local and national awards for its delicious pies and specials.  A logistical problem is all that has kept it from being showcased on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and DivesApparently, any place the show visits must have other places that are showcase worthy within a 40-mile radius.  Coffer Cup Café always seems to be just outside that mileage requirement.  The show even called Robin the other day when they were in Des Moines, but this great little place was just a bit too far away!

If you are ever in Iowa, Coffee Cup Café in Sully is the place to go for an Iowa Tenderloin and the best pie you have ever had!  You will love the experience!  The menu offers thanks to its customers:  “Dans je wel voor de bezock” (Thank you very much for your visit.)  But you will be thanking Robin and her husband for the best meal ever!

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Comments on: "THE BEST TENDERLOIN IN IOWA!" (15)

  1. Wow, that all looks delicious! I’m so glad you’re enjoying your adventure!

  2. Sherry D'Attile said:

    Oh, my does this bring back memories of the car trips “back home” to Iowa made with my mom and dad so many years ago. As soon as we crossed the border into Iowa, my dad stopped at the first home cooking cafe he could find and we all enjoyed a pork tenderloin sandwich and agreed there was nothing as tasty on the face of the earth!

    • So tenderloin really is an Iowa tradition, huh? I believed my cousins and the restaurant owner, but confirmation is appreciated. Hopw John is improving more and more and you are taking care. We’ll have to get together when I get home.

  3. And the best PIE!!! We had a wonderful visit. It was so good to see you and get to share some time and space. We love you…;–)

  4. I had never heard of a breaded tenderloin but that looks so good! I haven’t made it to Iowa yet so I am taking notes. Sounds like you are having a great trip

  5. One of the best things of travelling on the road is finding gems like this … but after that sandwich, I’m too sure I could finish the pie!

  6. That was a great blog. Thanks for posting. Best wishes from Dai in Kathmandu, Nepal

  7. […] a cold drink or snack. But I could seek out unique local eateries as well.  I already reviewed the Coffee Cup Café, but I also ate some great local pizza in Colfax, Iowa and Peru, Illinois.  I had a great relleno […]

  8. […] great way to end the day would be to drive to Sully, Iowa, to eat at the Coffee Cup Café.  You will be able to enjoy the best Iowa Tenderloin ever!  The pies are great […]

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