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Monticello Restaurant Among Finalists for Iowa’s Best Burger

From quaint hometown diners to upscale urban eateries, the competition was fierce as the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association accepted nominations for the 15th annual Iowa’s Best Burger contest.

This year’s contest saw record-breaking engagement, with more than 7,500 burger enthusiasts casting their ballots, underscoring the deep-seated love and passion for beef in Iowa. The restaurants making the 2024 Top Ten finalists list (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Big Head Burger, Waterloo
  • Chuckwagon Restaurant, Adair
  • Flight Bar + Grille, Huxley
  • Houston’s On Main, Milo
  • JJ’s Tavern + Grill, Ankeny
  • Lucile’s at The Continental Hotel, Centerville
  • The Flying Elbow, Marshalltown
  • The Market at the Tap, Monticello
  • Wilder at Graduate Hotel Iowa City, Iowa City
  • Williamson Tavern, Williamson

“More than 500 restaurants were nominated during this year’s voting process,” said Kylie Peterson, Director of Marketing for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “This year’s Top Ten restaurants are award-winning worthy, but are only a few of the many restaurants in Iowa that do an outstanding job of promoting and serving our beef products to their customers on behalf of Iowa’s beef farmers.”

To qualify, the burger must be a 100% real beef patty served on a bun or bread product. Burgers may include any combination of condiments, sauces, cheese or toppings. In celebration of the contest’s 15th anniversary, we allowed all previous Iowa’s Best Burger winners the chance to compete in the 2024 contest.

Three of the Top Ten restaurants are past Iowa’s Best Burger winners, including Chuckwagon Restaurant (2016), The Flying Elbow (2022) and Flight Bar + Grille (2023). Only one of the remaining restaurants, Lucile at The Continental Hotel, has been a previous Top Ten Iowa Best Burger qualifier.

The final phase in the quest for the 2024 Iowa’s Best Burger will now begin. All Top Ten restaurants will be visited by a panel of anonymous judges who will evaluate the burgers based on taste, appearance, and proper doneness (160 degrees Fahrenheit). The judges’ scores and comments will be accumulated and the winner will be announced on May 1 to kick off May Beef Month.

As beef remains a cornerstone of Iowa’s economy, events like Iowa’s Best Burger contest serve as a testament to the dedication and passion of Iowa’s cattlemen and food service providers working together to provide memorable and delicious beef eating experiences.

Previous Iowa’s Best Burger winners include: 2023 – Flight Bar + Grille of Huxley; 2022 – The Flying Elbow of Marshalltown; 2021 – Bambino’s of Ossian; 2020 – Twisted Tail Steakhouse & Saloon of BeeBeeTown; 2019 – Wood Iron Grille of Oskaloosa; 2018 – Café Beaudelaire of Ames; 2017 – The Smokin’ Hereford BBQ of Storm Lake; 2016 – The Chuckwagon Restaurant Adair; 2015 – The Cider House of Fairfield; 2014 – Brick City Grill in Ames; 2013 – 61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis; 2012 – Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids; 2011 – Rusty Duck in Dexter; and 2010 – Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City.

To learn more about the contest and the Top Ten restaurants, visit

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