The Twisted Tail in BeeBeeTown is well known for its ribs, which won first prize in the 2013 Iowa State Fair Farm Bureau Cookoff. And now, the restaurant can add “Iowa’s Best Burger” to its list of awards.
The western Iowa restaurant has been owned by Ed and Ruth Spencer since 2011, and is managed by two of their three children, Luke and Hannah. In addition to the restaurant, the family also farms and runs a real estate and auction business.
Throughout the past few months, the family has worked together to ensure that their patrons have been able to continue enjoying the Twisted Tail’s delicious meals. “You will often see the grandchildren helping bus tables on Friday and Saturday nights,” says Hannah (Spencer) Johnson.
During the COVID shutdown the restaurant operated on a takeout only basis from March 18th to May 13th, however, they are now open again for dine in and takeout. All tables are at least six feet apart, and the former reception and party rooms now hold tables to allow for more social distancing between customers.
Ed’s love for history and antiques and their auction business has contributed to the decor and atmosphere of the restaurant. Antiques, memorabilia and reminders of BeeBeeTown’s history are scattered throughout the restaurant and bar areas.
Made out of 80% lean ground chuck, the winning burger patty is simply seasoned, allowing the true flavor of the meat to shine. The Certified Angus Beef is all locally sourced.
Eleven different burgers are featured on the menu, all using the same 8 oz. (half pound) patty. In addition to the burgers, the Steak Philly, Prime Rib French Dip, and Filet are all fan favorites.
The Best Burger Contest
This is the 11th year for the annual Best Burger contest sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, through the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Program, and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The Twisted Tail Steakhouse & Saloon joins a great group of past best burger winners from around the state. Along with last year’s winner, Wood Iron Grille of Oskaloosa, previous winners include: 2018 - Café Beaudelaire; 2017- The Smokin’ Hereford BBQ of Storm Lake; 2016 - The Chuckwagon Restaurant in 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.
The designation as Iowa’s Best Burger comes after a two-phase competition. The first phase took place entirely based on votes from the public. For a month starting back in February, burger lovers went online and voted for their favorite Iowa burger, submitting nearly 7,000 votes representing around 630 restaurants. At the end of March, the ten restaurants with the most votes were declared the “Top 10.”
From there, three anonymous judges visit each of the restaurants, focusing on the burger patties and scoring them based on taste, doneness and presentation.
The final judging occurred in August and September, and the winner was revealed on September 21.