Waterloo, IA: Black Hawk County
I’m just going to put this out there. We DID NOT go hungry during our trip to Waterloo. Not that anyone was worried about that. This area of Iowa has been producing some great restaurants for decades with more to be discovered. We even fit in a little baseball, cards, and a day at the water park between meals. Let’s get the sunscreen out. Chow time in Waterloo! Sloooooooow down there JayJay. Check in to your beautiful suite at the Isle Casino first, big boy. And check out that view of the water park from the top floor! (Click on the pictures for descriptions)
Our top floor suite was beautifully decorated with all the modern uniqueness that separates The Isle from other casinos. You don’t have to be gambler to appreciate a stay here. The staff is very welcoming, helpful and professional. Especially when you feel the urge to double down at the black jack table. They’re good with that! After a quick loop around the casino floor, we ventured off to our first meal of this Waterloo trip. We found a BBQ joint that’s been smoking for generations… the Waterloo icon that is D&K Hickory House! All that sauce was just waiting for our chins. Ribs, brisket, and the classic relish tray before the entree. The Hickory House has been doing it this way since the 50’s and they’re not about to change now. Is that a smooth look’n grasshopper I see behind the bar?
The BBQ was right on the way to Riverfront Stadium where we were heading to see the local baseball team put a hurt’n on the visitors. Waterloo Bucks take on the Mankato MoonDogs in a Northwoods League match up that brought in over 1700 fans to the old ballpark. We had box seats right behind the plate which made the sound of the fastballs hitting the batters that more painful looking. Here’s a rib-burger for your trip back to Minnesota. Nice.
The weather could not have been any better for a night game at Riverfront Stadium. One of the oldest ballparks in all of Iowa and still pumping out great memories every season. After the quite regular fireworks displays, the night was getting late. The Bucks concessions are very good, but I had an idea back in the third inning. Something very shiny has been catching my eye during my Waterloo travels and it’s time I figure this out. Late night at the Gyro Hut anyone? Yes, it’s a great idea! Juicy gyro meat piled on a warm pita with fresh veggies and generous amounts cool cucumber’y Tzatziki sauce. Time for another beard cleaning. And the answer is yes. They were able to warp that big-ass gyro up just fine. Late night eats doesn’t equate to amateur hour in Waterloo, folks.
Morning came and with it the not so sudden urge to workout a little. And not so far away is George Wyth State Park and it’s miles of trails. This is something you may want to partake in after a healthy dosage of an gyro the size of a 1978 Impala. Those were the “boat” models. I mean bigg’ns. Take a hike…It’s good for you.
Another classic Waterloo landmark was calling us. No, not Cadillac Lanes. It’s still way early, but that place is really cool! Now I wish they were open at 8am. Anyway, we need breakfast. How about UFO size pancakes with a stick of butter melting away before your eyes…Wheelbarrow sized portions of sausage gravy…Omelets that have so much cheese they actually resemble those commercials you see on TV when it stretches from your fork. We get ALL of that at Morg’s! Along with some classic tunes from the table side jukebox. A little Chubby Checker if you don’t mind. Packed house with speedy service!
It wasn’t until after I soaked up the last bit of gravy with my cinnamon raisin toast when I started to wonder just how wide the water slides were at the water park. Only one way to find out. Send all three of your kids down the slide at one time of course. Just kidding. This guy isn’t getting kicked out of Lost Island.
Charlie, Leah, and Gigi were transformed into very wrinkly children thanks to Lost Island. Which is why they can call themselves one of the best water parks this nation has ever seen. You get in in and don’t feel the urge to leave for hours. What a day and what an absolute blast.
Time to dry off and take in one more Waterloo meal. And we stumbled upon an experience that will bring us back to Black Hawk County just for the curry. Ever have Greek cooking infused with the flavors of India? I know I haven’t. That is until we settled into our seats at the Honey Garden Family Restaurant. Traditional flaming Saganaki cheese came first. Charlie ordered another round of American style breakfast of ribeye steak and eggs. Leah ordered a giant salad with one of the best feta cheese dressings you’ll ever have in your life. I ordered the Athenian Roasted 1/2 Chicken with fried basmati rice and tender sauted veggies. And the dish that topped them all…Monie’s gyro style chicken topped with a very spicy Indian curry with steamed basmati rice. It came with a delicious yogurt sauce and warm pita bread that was not easily shared. My wife is a very kind and generous woman, but could see why the pita and yogurt sauce wasn’t getting passed around. You have a very unique and delicious restaurant with the Honey Garden, Waterloo. The family running it is friendly and thrilled to have you. Let’s go again, right now! It’s totally worth the trip.
Our second weekend getaway to Waterloo in last 7 months. That’s winter and summer down with spring and autumn to start planning for. One guarantee is that there is no way we’ll be going hungry and thanks to the folks that call Waterloo home, we’ll have plenty to do and come back for. We can see why this area’s tourism is on the rise. We’re more than happy to jump on the bandwagon. What’s next, Waterloo!?!
Be sure to read about our last trip to Waterloo!
Now for some very big thank yous….
Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin
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