Today was about as perfect as it gets in Northwest Illinois...mid seventies, sunny and little to no wind. A perfect day for a motorcycle excursion. We left home this morning about 9am with another couple from church and headed an hour west to one of our church's satellite campuses in Galena, IL where we had just an awesome church service.
After church -- lunch time! We headed a little further northwest crossing the Mississippi River at Dubuque, IA.
North of Dubuque on the Great River Road about 15 miles is Balltown, population 73. On weekends, the population of this tiny little town swells by at least ten fold. In the fall when leaves turn, take that population number by 100. It's a beautiful ride up and down the bluffs along the Mississippi River and great food awaits you when you get there.
The good food you'll find in Balltown goes by the name of Breitbach's Fine Dining. Built in 1852, Breitbach's is Iowa's oldest continual operating bar/restaurant. It's said that Jesse James even ate here. This restaurant has been in the Breitbach family for 6 generations.
Many years ago we first stopped at Breitbach's on a whim as we were passing through tha area. We weren't sure what we were getting in to. From the outside it kind of looked like a dumpy old bar and not all that desirable of a place to eat, but we were pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the food was. Everything, and I mean everything, is homemade, right down to the hamburger buns. It's one of those places that although it's a 2 hour drive for us, it's more than worth it!
However, on the morning of December 24th, 2007, Breitbach's burned to the ground. The owner, Mike Breitbach said right away that they would rebuild. Construction started this Spring and they opened Independence Day weekend. The back of their t-shirts say "Back from the Blast" and I would add -- better than ever! There is more seating and the food is as good if not better than ever. It may not be the same atmosphere as before but it's new and unique and they've managed to keep an old restaurant feel.
The new and improved Breitbach's Fine Dining, Balltown, Iowa It's not uncommon on an October Sunday for them to feed over 2000 people throughout the day!
The view from Balltown.
If you look closely you can see the river in the distance as well as parts of Wisconsin and Illinois.
If you are ever in Northeast Iowa, Balltown is the place to go and Breitbach's is the the place to eat.