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Last updated on January 11, 2023 by Wandering our World

Emmetsburg is a small town located in the heart of Iowa, known for its rich history, friendly community, and great food.

Luckily this town is home to many fantastic restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisines, from classic American comfort food to international flavors, and casual lunch pit-stops to fine dining experiences.

That’s why today we’ll be taking a look at some of the best restaurants that Emmetsburg has to offer, highlighting their standout dishes, atmosphere, and service. All to help you choose your perfect dining spot when next in town!

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and explore the culinary delights that Emmetsburg has to offer!

Chef cooking in kitchen
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+

The Best Restaurants In Emmetsburg (IA): Food Worth Waiting For!

1. Don Jose Mexican Restaurant

Authentic & traditional Mexican food served in a festive environment with amazing service!

If you’re a fan of Mexican food and like to have it at least once a week, then arguably the best place in Emmetsburg for Mexican is Don Jose Mexican Restaurant.

The restaurant is located in a cozy neighborhood just outside of downtown and has a warm, inviting and colorful atmosphere that’s bound to put you in a great mood for some good food.

One of the things that sets this eatery apart from other Emmetsburg restaurants is the friendly and attentive service. Your server will likely be very knowledgeable about the menu and make great recommendations. The staff are also very kind and make you feel like part of the family, making the entire experience a special one.

The menu at Don’s is extensive and has a wide variety of traditional Mexican dishes to choose from. So why not start off with the guacamole, which is known for being absolutely delicious and is made fresh to order with ripe avocados, lime juice, and cilantro.

Next, for your main course, order the Burrito Carne Asada as that will not disappoint. The steak is tender, flavorful, and perfectly seasoned. The dish is also served with fresh cilantro and diced onions and a side of homemade salsa.

The restaurant also has a great selection of Margaritas and we recommend trying the one which is made with fresh lime juice and then rimmed with chili powder and salt!

Don Jose is closed on Mondays. They are open every other day from 11 am to 9 pm. So, make sure you check them out!

Address: 909 Broadway St, Emmetsburg, IA

Mexican food, many dishes of the cuisine of Mexico, flat lay, shot from the top on a vibrant blue background, forming a frame with a place for text. Nachos, quesadillas, guacamole, burritos etc
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Plateresca

2. Sum Hing Chinese Restaurant

Flavorful and delectable Chinese cuisine! With many vegetarian options, perfect for the entire family.

Sum Hing is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Emmetsburg, so if you’re traveling the area and want your fix of some mouthwatering Chinese food, this is definitely the place to go.

The menu offers a wide variety of dishes, featuring favorites from various regions of China. One of the standout dishes is the Szechuan-style spicy pot stickers which pack a flavorful punch with every bite.

The Sweet & Sour Chicken is also a must-try, with just the right amount of heat and a perfect balance of vegetables, and tender chicken. They also offer a selection of vegetarian options for those looking for a meat-free meal.

Apart from all this, the restaurant’s staff are friendly and attentive, always willing to make suggestions or accommodate any dietary restrictions. The service is prompt and the portions are generous too, making this place great value for the price.

Sum Hing is closed on Sundays and Mondays but they are open all other days of the week from 11 am to 8 pm.

Address: 1003 Broadway St, Emmetsburg, IA

3. Mama Nellie’s Pizzeria

Family-owned and operated pizza parlor that has been serving up delicious pies to the community for years!

This is a must-visit for pizza lovers in the area. The authentic and delicious pizza, warm atmosphere, and welcoming service make it a real standout among the other pizzerias.

Mama Nellie’s Pizzeria is also a place where everyone appears to be welcome, whether you’re a local resident or just passing through.

The interior of the place is simple and understated, with lots of plants and greenery displayed in every corner, making the place feel comfortable and laid back. There are some tables and chairs to choose from, and even though its not a large space, there’s somehow always room for everyone who walks in through their doors.

The menu at Mama Nellie’s is simple but satisfying, featuring a variety of classic pizza toppings and a selection of Italian-American favorites.

The star of the menu, however, are the pizzas, made from scratch and cooked to perfection in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.

The crust is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the sauce is made from an old family recipe passed down through generations. The restaurant is also great for takeout if you want to enjoy a slice of Mama Nellie’s at home

The pizzeria is closed on Sundays but opens every day from 11 am to 8 pm. On Saturday, however, they open late from 3 pm to 8 pm, so make sure you check their schedule before heading out.

Address: 2121 Main St, Emmetsburg, IA

wood fired pizza on table
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/JulyProkopiv

4. Edgewater BBQ

A popular local eatery serving up slow-smoked meats and creative sides that will leave you licking your fingers clean with satisfaction!

Edgewater BBQ is a fantastic spot for anyone looking for delicious and authentic BBQ. And with a menu that features both traditional favorites and unique twists, there is something for every BBQ lover.

The restaurant has a great location too, a lovely atmosphere, and the staff are super courteous. A place to go and enjoy quality food at reasonable prices!

The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, with tables arranged in rows and some pretty printed curtains adding a pop of color to the interior. It’s the perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner with friends and family.

Plus, the service is friendly and attentive, and the staff are always there to help you not only with the food, but also to fill you in about all the places in town that you should go to and visit if you’re a tourist or new to the area.

Their meat is undoubtedly some of the best in town! The slow-smoked brisket is known for being succulent, juicy and infused with a rich, smoky flavor.

The pulled pork is another standout, seasoned with a secret blend of spices and cooked until it is tender and juicy.

The restaurant also has a wide selection of sides to choose from, including classic coleslaw, mac and cheese, and baked beans. The sides are hearty, flavorful, and perfect to complement the meat.

Edgewater BBQ is closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, so make sure you catch them from 11 am to 2 pm on all other days.

Address: 2001 Main St, Emmetsburg, IA

Selection of bbq items
Photo for illustrative purposes only (iStock.com/YuraWhite).

5. Cornerstone Pub & Grille

Casual, neighborhood sports bar with delicious food, live music and plenty of craft beer!

Cornerstone Pub & Grille is a local favorite for those looking for generous, quality pub fare. With a lively environment and staff that’s always ready to please, it’s a popular spot for a casual dinner or drinks with friends.

The interior is great too, with many seating options to choose from and live music featuring local artists to enjoy over the weekend.

The menu is full of classic pub favorites, prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Start off with an order of their famous buffalo wings, served with a side of ranch or blue cheese dip. The wings are crispy and juicy, just the way everyone loves them.

For the main course, the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, the BBQ Ribs, and the breaded fish basket are all highly recommended by the locals. Plus, the portions are generous, so come with a hearty appetite!

In addition to their regular menu, Cornerstone Pub & Grille also features an extensive selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails.

The bartenders are always happy to help you choose the perfect beverage to accompany your meal, so make sure to take them up on any recommendations.

Cornerstone is closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All other days of the week, you can catch them from 4 to 10 pm. 

Address: 901 Broadway St, Emmetsburg, IA

guitar player at a live music show
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Pro2sound

6. DejaBrew

Popular local coffee shop with a great selection of quality drinks, friendly baristas, and delicious pastries.

DejaBrew is a charming little coffee shop located in Emmetsburg that will probably become your favorite haunt if you enjoy a good cuppa.

The moment you step inside, the inviting aroma of fresh coffee fills your nose and immediately makes you feel at ease. The interior design is warm and inviting, with a rustic, yet modern feel. The shop is brightly lit and the seating is comfortable and cozy, with plenty of space to sit and relax.

One of the best features of DejaBrew is the quality of their espresso. The rich and smooth espresso is the foundation of many of their drinks, and it’s clear that a lot of care and attention goes into sourcing and preparing the beans.

The cappuccinos and lattes are particularly noteworthy too, with beautiful latte art and perfectly balanced flavors. They also offer a selection of other specialty drinks that change throughout the year, providing customers with a new and exciting experience each time they visit.

The eatery also offers a selection of freshly baked pastries that go great with a cup of coffee, including croissants, muffins, and scones. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a treat and a coffee in peace. It’s no wonder that DejaBrew has quickly become a favorite spot for locals and visitors and one of the most popular restaurants and cafes in Emmetsburg.

DejaBrew is closed on Sunday and Monday but is otherwise open from 7 am to 2 pm.

Address: 913 Broadway St, Emmetsburg, IA.

cafe coffee and food selection
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Alisa Korolevskaya

7. Kirby’s Café

Fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner options all under one roof! What more could we ask for?

With a convenient location, gracious staff, and delicious food, Kirby’s Café should definitely be on your list of restaurants to visit while in Emmetsburg.

The menu features everything under the sun, from classic American comfort food to international flavors. The restaurant itself is a great space too, with an interior that’s in between a café and a diner, but with the best qualities of both. It’s a fantastic spot to hit whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for new places to eat in town.

One of the highlights of Kirby’s Cafe is their commitment to using fresh, high-quality ingredients. As a result the flavors in each dish are bold and distinctive, and the portions are generous.

On top of that the menu changes seasonally, and they have great specials which are always a hit. The cafe’s gourmet sandwiches are particularly noteworthy, made with juicy, locally sourced protein and topped with a variety of delicious toppings.

They also have a great selection of soups and salads which are hearty and tasty!

Kirby’s also has one of the town’s best breakfast spreads, so if you enjoy a luxurious breakfast, full of decadence and indulgence then you will absolutely love the one they serve here. It has everything from classic omelets to pancakes and more. And try their Sunday Breakfast Buffet if you want to have something of everything!

Kirby’s Café is open daily from 7 am to 8 pm, so there’s no excuse not to go.

Address: 3101 Main St, Emmetsburg, IA

Pancakes with banana, walnut and caramel.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Lilechka75

8. Pizza Ranch

A Western-themed restaurant that serves delicious fried chicken and classic American sides.

An eatery that offers a menu of mouth-watering fried chicken and traditional American sides in a western-inspired atmosphere, Pizza Ranch is another iconic restaurant that you simply must visit.

The moment you enter, you’re transported back in time to the wild, wild west with its Western-style decor, rustic, wood-paneled walls, and large murals. The restaurant has a casual and cool atmosphere that really goes well with the theme.

The menu focuses on fried chicken, but also offers a variety of other classic American dishes such as pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and sides like mac and cheese, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes.

Their fried chicken is known locally for being crispy, juicy, and full of flavor, the coating is seasoned perfectly, and the meat is always cooked to perfection, never greasy or dry.

The sides are also very tasty, especially the mac and cheese which is creamy and cheesy. They also have a variety of sauces to choose from, each with its own unique flavor, and a perfect match to their fried chicken.

Pizza Ranch is a perfect spot for casual dining and family outings. It’s no wonder that this restaurant has become a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike, with many customers returning time and time again for their delicious fried chicken.

Pizza Ranch is open seven days a week from 11 am to 8 pm.

Address: 2120 11th St, Emmetsburg, IA

Top view of home made tasty burgers on wooden table.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Kesu01

That’s all from our side, guys! We hope you get a chance to visit these fabulous restaurants in Emmetsburg and enjoy your time in the town.


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.