Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
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812 4th Avenue South
December 24, 2009 10:53 AM
Its hard to think about travelling to Denison without a visit to this cafe on the side of the Lincoln Highway. Cronks has been in business since 1929, its history recounted in newspapers from as far away as Sioux City. Vintage menus from when hamburgers were a quarter and tenderloins forty cents hang on a wall in the waiting area. The Lincoln Highway was actually a block south when the cafe first opened, and it continues to draw a few travellers into this cafe each day. Across the street is the restored Park Motel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When you walk inside your first choice is: in which room to eat? There is a lounge area and a banquet space built long after the original building. It's the main dining area with booths and a breakfast counter that feels like a time warp. The shape of the counter and the booths combined with the strong light makes this place unique.
The menu is large, with nearly all the Iowa diner foods represented. There is a hot pork sandwich, made with slow-cooked ham over bread and topped with gravy. Along with the ground pork burger, there are two traditional beef sandwiches. Saturday nights are time for the Baron of Beef, a 60-ounce slow-cooked piece of roast beef that must pull in a crowd in this small town.
The tenderloin actually tastes better than it looks. It's not big by the standards of this sandwich, but tastes of pork and good crunchy breading. I had to pass on dessert because I was in a hurry, but there is a tempting pie cabinet behind the counter.
Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
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