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Tojo's in Jamaica

So…what should we do on a nice sunny Saturday? Road Trip! We’re quite fond of just jumping in the car and heading out somewhere within a couple of hours drive. Especially if that somewhere has something spectacular to eat. Today, another attempt to find the best breaded pork tenderloin in Iowa. Grant did a little research on Des Loines and we were off to Jamaica. Jamaica, Iowa, that is.

Of course, you don’t want to drive right to your destination. We try to plan a route that takes us through a town or two so we have a chance to maybe add a bar to our Bar Book. Ahh, the Bar Book – our little black book of 480+ bars, taverns and lounges we’ve visited throughout Iowa. Besides, it gives us a reason to drink before noon. As if we need one. The Bar Book is another post in itself, but today we stopped in at the Rockin Horse in Perry.

There were a few guys watching a western on AMC, but otherwise, it was pretty quiet. We sat at the bar and enjoyed our first Miller Lite of the day. Only $2.75 each.

There were even some actual rockin’ horses. Another Iowa bar true to it’s name.

Back on the road, we drove west on Highway 141 out of Perry. After about 8 miles or so, we took a county road into Jamaica.

If you weren’t expecting to see this, it could seem slightly weird.

There wasn’t much going on in downtown Jamaica, but there were several cars in front of this place – Tojo’s.

Tojo’s has a real tropical vibe with palm trees and beach scenes, even a nod to the real Jamaica. No reggae music though, darn it.

But while the décor is nice and all, it was time to get a beer and eat! A very nice young lady brought us some menus and there it was – the Famous Tenderloin.

We each ordered one with a basket of onion rings to share. When we saw the cook toss one of the tenderloins into the fryer we realized it was HUGE and we could have easily shared one. Oh well, who diets on Saturday? It was a big cut of pork and they hand bread each one to order. Thick and juicy, the crispy breading has just a hint of seasoning – it was a thing of beauty.

The menu also features burgers, sandwiches, a bunch of fried appetizers and even a few dinners. But seriously, should you find yourself in Jamaica, Iowa, you need to try the breaded tenderloin at Tojo’s. Maybe even skip breakfast, you’ll need the extra room. These deep fried pieces of perfection are a great deal, too, only $6.75. Adding on a couple of beers, it was a reasonably priced yet delicious and very satisfying lunch.

Take the short drive from Des Moines to Jamaica – a little road trip is just the ticket to beat these almost end of winter blues. Plus you can pretend you’re in the tropics.

We did make one more stop on the way home at the Harvest Moon in Dallas Center. The friendly bartender, Jeff, whipped up a spicy Bloody Mary for Grant and we met the chef, Joan, who is treating her customers to some of the best food around. We’re planning to feature all of the tasty goodness coming out of the Harvest Moon very soon.

Let us know where your latest road trip took you and what places we need to visit!

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Reader Comments (8)

Need to visit Gilbert Corner for a great tenderloin, on highway 69 as you turn to go into Gilbert.
Also Nodaway Diner and the Old Hotel in Greenfield, Iowa both have great food.

Feb 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

@Martha - Thanks for the suggestions! We'll add these to our list of places to try!

Feb 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Penny & I went to Waterloo for the weekend. We discovered a new Italian restaurant called " My Verona" in Cedar Falls. The restaurant was excellent. Our martinis, wine, and meal were great. They have a pasta dish made with rabbit I'm going to try next time. Oh, Penny & I were quite impressed with downtown Cedar Falls. I see several trips exploring downtown Cedar Falls in my future.

Feb 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott & Penny

TOJO's has the best tenderloin. I have eaten several. There is a totally relaxed atmosphere at TOJO's and you can truly enjoy the activity and pace you have set for your day. If you love Prime rib you will have to stop in on a Friday night for a tender, juicy, flavorful bite of heaven. Get there early and if your party is large call ahead to arrange to have enough for all, 641-429-3007. Tell Tommy a.k.a. TOJO, that Frankey sent you.

May 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrankey Hein

Hey Frankey! Thanks for the tip on the prime rib. Grant loves prime rib and it sounds like we need to try it at Tojo's. And you're right about the atmosphere at Tojo's - it was just what we were looking for! Thanks for the comment.

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

this is the town were my mom grew up in and my grandpa and grandma still live here and whenever we go up we always eat at tojos

Oct 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterethan ludwig

I lived in Bagley with my late mom, only a few short miles from Jamaica. My late grandparents helped at the community building in Jamaica for bingo on Thursday night's. Come Friday grandpa had to have his ToJo's.......as well as on Tuesdays! Over the past few years I haven't gotten to ToJo's as much as I'd like......but while growin up.....it was by far one of my favorite places to eat. There may not be much goin on around town, but everyone knows everyone......it pretty much makes us all family! Love you ToJo! Mom would be happy to know y'all are still cookin strong! Hope to see y'all soon.

Feb 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Sheeder

Hi Heather, thanks for stopping by Iowa Foodie! Love your history with Tojo's - it's a great place for some great food.

Feb 23, 2015 | Registered CommenterAmy

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