#RAGBRAI · Grownup Getaways · Iowa Food · Southeast Iowa

Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: Fairfield for Breakfast, Ethiopian, BBQ, Italian, Turkish, Sushi…Part 1 of 2

The most inspirational sign we saw coming into beautiful Fairfield. And The Iowa Gallivant abides.

Fairfield, IA: Jefferson County

I would like to issue a warning. As you scroll down this blog post, you will encounter a gastro-tour that can only be described as the unofficial sport within the event known as RAGBRAI. We experienced small town Iowa in a way that not everyone knows about and the spandex legion is going to get the treatment that we received during Overnight #6 on this year’s route. That is if you can handle it. This is the one and only Fairfield and the flavors it’s famous for. Behold! We’re on a Jefferson County grownup getaway!


Our first stop of the morning was Cafe Paradiso and this place is known for some of the best baristas that you’re ever going to meet. The professional, skilled and very talented young man with the big ‘ole beard was a wizard with the frothy artwork and our caffeinated charges tasted amazing. I’m requesting the Death Star art next time. The one from Return of the Jedi for next level cappuccino craftsmanship. I’m not holding back on this post, folks.


Get used to wonderful pieces of art in this town, because it is everywhere. Revelations Cafe could be a place that could pull you in like the Never Ending Story kid. Hey, that’s movie reference number two already! #80sKid. We made two purchases here and only one of them you can eat. The first was their breakfast masterpiece of avocado, egg, and quinoa with zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, spinach and the perfect touch of feta cheese to give it a little salty-tartness and blend in with that runny over-easy egg we antagonized for the viewers. I know what you’re thinking. Trouble makers. You know who else was a trouble maker? Augustus McCrae in that used copy of Lonesome Dove being presented in the pic above. That was good find and only $2.50! Take your time enjoying the food, decor, and awesome finds from their used book selection.

Are you seeing this? All towns of 10,000 in population and below that are over an hour from any major Midwest metro area, please raise your hand and/or iconic water tower if you have a sushi restaurant. Fairfield, we know you have one and thank you for telling us, but please let someone else participate. Anyone? Okay, Shokai you get this one, so take it away! A Dragon roll with shrimp tempura topped with eel and avocado. Hamachi roll with yellow tail tuna, scallions and sesame seeds. Plus enough unagi sauce to rev-up the protein punch you need on RAGBRAI. Get those steamed soy beans too. You’ll be riding past 1000’s of acres of them so some of you gotta start craving them.

The BBQ loving nation of RAGBRAI will have no problem finding their Sweet N’ Saucy fix in Fairfield and you must dive into their proud brisket. Juicy, smoky, tender and ready for a good home. Like your hungry, bike riding belly. This place is also known for their world class meaty selections other than brisket and you should get to know as many of them as possible. Let’s watch a video!

I hope you liked that video because you’re going to love it in person!


Let’s take a break and find comfort in the local shops and think about shipping something back home. Yes, Fairfield has tons of great restaurants, but they also have plenty of variety when it comes to getting gifts for that special somebody. Like you! The At Home Store has the bedtime story supply you need back at your campsite along with many more options that your home needs. And it does need exotic olive oil, candles, kitchen equipment and a lot more to make your home Fairfield fabulous.

Adela’s found its way into Mrs Gallivant’s heart and you’ll see why. Seriously, RAGBRAI, if you’re looking to get the goods for someone on this tour than plan for Fairfield. Multiple levels of great gift ideas to make overnight #6 a righteous one.

You may need some new gloves by the time you get to Fairfield and, thankfully, they have a bike shop ready to make that happen along with many more items to get you through the 2019 homestretch.  AJ’s is a trusted bike shop that’s ready for visitors anytime of the year including the weary of RAGBRAI.


If there’s anything that I need from a long day of biking hilly Southern Iowa, it’s local cider. Fishback & Stephenson will have the cold and crisp adult beverages you need and one of the best ways to enjoy them is with vintage video games and pinball. Play is a bar that suck you in for hours and that’s not a bad thing at all. And they have the greatest Batman crew ever assembled on the top floor. Adam West was the best caped crusader ever. I’m willing to ignore your opinion if you think otherwise.

*Our stay at the AmericInn-Fairfield was complimentary. The views expressed are of our own. Now, let’s get back to Gallivanting!


We crashed hard and in a good way at the AmericInn-Fairfield. Not only do they have that wonderfully comfy bed to go with a great room, they have a bar for that “just one more before I call it quits on overnight #6”. And by the time you got that out, 4 people from your team shows up and we know where that’s heading.  The staff here was excited to see us and they know how to keep guests happy and relaaaaaaaaaaaaxed. You know that complimentary breakfast was calling our name too. You’ll see that and a WHOLE LOT more in round two of or scouting trip, because you’ve only seen a handful of what we loved about this town. Stay tuned, RAGBRAI nation!

You’ll want to see what this town is getting weird for RAGBRAI! Like the Fairfield Facebook page to see what they’re preparing. Better come up with a good Steampunk name!
RAGBRAI XLVII will be here before you know it, so like their Facebook page to keep track of all the update and information. Have a great time, everyone!
A giant thank you to Terry Baker of the Fairfield Visitors Bureau for showing us around town and inspiring one of the most memorable food tours we have ever had. We can’t wait for everyone to see part 2!


3 thoughts on “Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: Fairfield for Breakfast, Ethiopian, BBQ, Italian, Turkish, Sushi…Part 1 of 2

  1. Don’t forget Bountiful Bakery – across from the library. Wonderful organic, sourdough (not sour) bagels and more organic goodies. Great coffee and a quiet spot to chill.

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