Gramma's Kitchen/ The Checkered Flag, I-80, Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa
Last Summer during our driving adventure across the USA one of the things we did not want to miss was the big Iowa 80 Truckers Jamboree. The Iowa 80 Truckstop, located on I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa, is the worlds biggest truck stop and since 1979, the Truckers Jamboree has been celebrating America’s Truckers. Country music stars have been know to play, not to mention that just about everyone with a classic or tricked out big rig shows up to show off! The Iowa 80 Truckstop is also a chrome lover's dream come true and has a huge array of chrome fixtures as well as souvenirs, art, eateries and a trucking museum, so if your ever on I-80 near Exit 284- don't miss it or check out their website for future events: http://iowa80truckstop.com
We arrived to Iowa 80 the first night a bit late so the festivities were just winding down, but that was okay because we happened to have the whole next day to enjoy this two-day event. We decided to crosss the street to get a bite to eat at Gramma's Kitchen/ The Checkered Flag Bar and Grill. This restaurant is actually two restaurants under one roof. One side is Gramma's Kitchen, which has the decor of comfort and home and the other side is the Checkered Flag Bar and Grill which has a modern racing decor. In the middle of the two sides is an area where one can find unique and hard to find traveling souvenirs, which is really neat to look through. That night we ate at the Checkered Flag and I have to tell you that eating their Baked Potato Soup is almost an out of body experience! It is very hardy and thick with rich, creamy Potatoes, Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Chives and Bacon Bits served with Garlic Toast and comes in two sizes, a cup for $3.29, or a bowl for $4.29. If you plan on eating anything else, just get the cup! There is a wide array of satisfying dishes on their menu and their prices are reasonable. Also, totally fantastic is a dessert which I do not see on my copy of the menu, but it was essentially an Apple Baked into a Dumpling and covered in a rich Caramel Sauce, with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on the side. This is a dessert not to miss!
The next morning we awoke to the hardest, thickest, most consistent rain I have ever seen. It was really bad out there and one walk from the big rig across any parking lot would leave a person completely soaked. We had hoped the rain would lighten so we dove into Gramma's Kitchen for a bit of breakfast. Since the weather was so inclement, we opted for the Gramma's side of the building looking for a little extra coziness and love. We definitely got it- they even had teapot chandeliers! We had breakfast that morning, which consisted of fluffy home-made Biscuits and Gravy with Eggs. The service was great. They even offered to charge my dying cell phone, which was really sweet. Drinking hot coffee, eating a great breakfast, all the while wishing the rain away so we could go check out the awesome trucks. Turns out the Jamboree was cut short due to the weather, but I'm glad for the experience because Gramma's Kitchen and the Checkered Flag took good care of us and this is not a secret that should be kept. If your in the area, this is definitely the place to go to get a great meal! Hopefully we will see you next Summer!
Gramma's Kitchen/ The Checkered Flag
I-80 / Exit 284
Walcott, IA 52773
Phone: 563-284-5055 Fax: 563-284-6503
COMMENT FROM DANA JOHNSON AT GRAMMA'S KITCHEN:
Thank you for the compliment. Grammas Kitchen was opened in 1884. It is owned by a gentleman named Mike Whalen. He started out in 1978 with the Iowa Machine Shed in Davenport and has gone up from there delivering great experiences for guests and employees. Gramma's food is prepared in a way that you may remember your Grandmother did or still does. Connected to Grammas Kitchen is the Checkered Flag Bar and Grill. It offers the same down home cooking' along with Happy Joes Pizza , and some other fun items. Jeff Grunder plays a big part in the operation and always has great new recipes ready to try. Our current Chief Operating Executive is Mark Bierman who keeps us all in line and is always coming up with great marketing ideas to continually keep everything fresh and interesting. Myself, as the front of house executive, I have a lot of fun playing with the new and unusual items we carry in our country store and singing along with the oldies on the radio. We have Jason Stumpy as the Kitchen Executive who comes up with some of the tastiest feature items to surprise our guests with. John Beaver has been with the company forever ( or close to it) He is the Lead Kitchen Executive and a pretty good baker I might add. You need to come in and try some of his chocolate covered bacon!!!!!! We have a fun staff and great team going on out here in little Walcott, Iowa. We also offer catering and have our Parlor to feed your guests for any occasions. We will fit your needs.You may visit our website at www.hoari.com/Grammas while you are there you can check out the Checkered Flag. Mike Whalen runs his company as Heart of America . You may check out his other fabulous places at www.hoari.com I hope to hear from you again and please stop in and see us again.