Stephen Travels

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Dixie Quick's, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Dixie Quick’s (Council Bluffs, Iowa)

Over the course of my travels, I have dined in atmospheric restaurants that used to be a knight’s palace, the swimming pool at the Ford estate, a Roman theater from 55 BC, and a Royal Conservatory of Music. Dixie Quick’s marked the first time I was eating in a former Chevy dealership.

This funky restaurant in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa, blends Southern cooking with Cajun, Southwest, and Tex-Mex elements into tasty combinations of pure comfort food. Widely regarded as one of the top breakfast spots in Iowa, where you can sample a cactus scramble or an apple brie omelet, Dixie Quick’s also serves up a savory lunch, and my recommenders were quickly proven correct.

I took a seat next to the floor-to-ceiling windows that used to entice pedestrians with their displays of shiny new cars. Bare concrete walls sport a fair amount of peeled paint, and hubcap-sized plates from different states hang on the wall behind the counter. Light fixtures poke through removed panels of doors hanging horizontally from the ceiling. The friendly, laid-back wait staff reflected the vibe of the place, and I was soon enjoying a no-frills but palatable lunch.

Fork and KnifeTry This: Feel the comfort right from the start with a cup of pork chile or the chicken tortilla soup served with corn chips and slices of avocado. Main entrées like the pan-fried catfish with tomato butter and the charbroiled pork loin with brown and barbecue sauces come with a chunk of cornbread and two sides of your choice: Go for the grits and the delicious zucchini with cheese, or the black-eyed peas and grilled green onions with lime. There’s also a small list of wines and beers, but a “renovated classic drink” like the mango a-go-go—Malibu rum stirred with mango nectar—might appeal more to your palate.