#RAGBRAI · South Central Iowa

Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: The World’s Largest City Square Means Party in Centerville

A world record is a world record. Veteran riders of RAGBRAI have gotten to know Centerville very well and they’re back for another few loops around their city square!

Centerville, IA: Appanoose County

You’re just a few horseshoe tosses to the Missouri line when you arrive in Centerville and that means you just got to know some of Iowa’s hilly countryside. You have an appetite and a craving for some small town hospitality. Lucky for you, Centerville has a very large way of showing you both and a lot more!


Located by the Chamber of Commerce office on the city square is the sweet solution to your carb crazy week!
You’ve had apple fritters plenty of times. Now it’s time for pineapple to get some of your attention!


They still have those traditional donuts fritters you grew up with. That frosting isn’t going to stick to your fingers by itself. Pick one up in Centerville!


Some riders may recognize the Main Street Doughnuts name because they have another great location in Ottumwa. The local doughnut shops can get a lot of attention during RAGBRAI and the manager at this one is looking forward to the big day. Fritter your way through the summer here!

Just inside the city square district and a place that the locals steered to. And we were glad they did!
Cashew Chicken and all its rich sauces making it cling together with every bite.
Steamed dumplings that we had to wait several minutes to cool down. That is a good thing, my friends.
The noodle party started in Council Bluffs and has followed us all the way through Iowa and Centerville was in on the slurping too!

If you’ve been a fan of The Iowa Gallivant, then you have noticed a trend in our travels. Small town Iowa is where its at for some of the tastiest Chinese food in the state. We asked folks to tell us where their favorite place was and the Centerville loyal chimed in with Ching Dow! The Cashew Chicken’s wonderfully sticky sauce met up with the fluffy steamed white rice and was devoured in harmony. The Lo Mein had a large amount of chicken and tender veggies that will be just what you need in a carb/protein boost here in Appanoose County.


Hard working and chipper employees of Raymond’s are ready to keep the ice cream coming and the grill packed with your RAGBRAI delights.
RAGBRAI’ers love their bananas and you can get them frozen and dipped in chocolate here at Raymond’s. Just ask for the Monkey Tail!
Make this happen in Centerville. The Italian sausage patty on a bun. The time is now to start recognizing this sandwich as a classic here in Iowa.
And here another scene from the big kids of the world. Cozening up to their favorite sandwich at Raymond’s!

Another tip from the locals and we were NOT going to turn this one down. The seasonal dairy bar is a summertime passage for countless fans of these historic landmarks and you can usually find some very delicious sweet and savory treats at these places. Raymond’s Dairy Creme Showed us what’s great about their little oasis and we felt that it was far overdue when it comes to the beauty that is the Italian Sausage Patty sandwich. Watch the video below and tell me I’m wrong!

Let’s continue down their city square and see more of the Centerville locals that are gearing up for the riders!
It’s another round of yet another familiar beacon of the comfort food we all love in Iowa… the pizza and steakhouse restaurant concept that thrives in so many of our small towns.


The unique “twist” in their dough is one of the reasons why we love George & Nick’s!
These two are getting ready for the RAGBRAI hungry and they plan on seeing you at George and Nick’s!
There is no skimping on the cheese here in Centerville!

This Gallivant was very local driven, as you read from above, and all of them unanimously suggested George & Nick’s Pizza & Steakhouse as a must when it came to visiting this city . We busted into Centerville a few summers ago for the first time and ate at George & Nick’s during our gallivant. You know a place is that good when we return to write about it again. This is truly one of Iowa’s best pizza joints. The mozzarella is in no shortage and they have a generous hand when it comes to the toppings. Carbing up here will be a satisfying and cheesy experience here on the square.


They have things “wrapped up” here at The Hungry Cow!
The mountain of nachos is always my preferred way to be welcomed into town.
My favorite part is when they said their nachos usually feed two. Challenge accepted!
You have plenty of ways to help a choclohoilc get plenty of sweets in Centerville. I could eat the Hungry Cow’s buckeyes like popcorn.

I am surrounded by literature, coffee, sweets and unforgettable culinary creations… where am I? If you guessed The Hungry Cow at the Book Barn, then you would be correct! There is a lot to see during RAGBRAI and that’s why I think its important to locate the interesting places such as The Hungry Cow. A book store with a very good variety in literature that can keep you fed with home cooked meals and baristas that know how to blend together coffee heaven in a cup. They use fresh ingredients and a lot of care into everything they make here. Right down to the cheese sauce on the nachos. They’re not pouring it from a can. It’s their own recipe and it’s coming from the stove top and then onto your plate and in that RAGBRAI belly!

Cool Down and Rest-Up

This historic square has a historically amazing hotel and their restaurant is a beacon of great food in Centerville!
Before you get seated, get a very frosty fill-up with a cold beer from the bar. You know you deserve a few of these!

You know how to cool down in many ways and for many the frosted pint glass filled with your favorite beer is good way to get that done. Lucile’s Steak & Spirits is a Centerville centerpiece on the city square. The full bar sits on the ground floor near the lobby of the Continental Hotel and you will love the lavish look of this Iowa icon. It has the look of hangout where the rat pack might pull up a few chairs and join you in a few cocktails.

*Our stay at the Continental was complimentary. The views expressed are always of our own. Let’s get back to Gallivanting!

One of Iowa’s most historic hotels sits on worlds biggest city square and they bring a certain ageless beauty to the town.
An 1893 hotel with all the modernization you want in your rooms. Our suite had a full kitchen, spacious living room, and plenty of ways to keep us entertained and comfortable.
See what I mean by staying comfortable!
The lobby has the exquisite that keeps the historical integrity intact. This is the step into the 1890s that you’re looking for.
One more Food Network show before checking out on the huge couch in the suite we enjoyed.
The folks here at The Continental know how to make anyone feel at home and they did exactly that while we enjoyed Centerville.

The Continental Hotel was a gift that we couldn’t have been happier with. The hotel was more than just historical. It’s a necessary fully functional work of art that tells so much of Southern Iowa’s history in every corner of the property. The staff here keeps the rooms inviting, the beautiful lobby jaw dropping, the restaurant delicious and energetic, the bar stocked and friendly, and everything running smoothly. This is all you would want in historic stay in Centerville. Keep your eyes on The Iowa Gallivant as we show you more of this hotel in the future. Want to see another glimpse of this hotel? C’mon! I’ll show you!

The Green Chili Smothered Breakfast Burrito!
The inside looks just as good as the outside.

Lucile’s isn’t just a popular dinner spot. No way! The breakfast here is just as memorable. Our server suggested this burrito and it was a worthy suggestion. Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, and cheese rolled up in a flour tortilla and smothered with a rich green chili sauce with with delicious pork. That’s a great way to start a day here on the square!

The square is quite the site no matter what time a day you show-up or ship-out.

For us, the RAGBRAI journey started in mid-March on the town of Fairfield and ended in late June here in Centerville. This city square is a district that I hope more people discover and enjoy as mush as we did- on RAGBRAI and beyond. We were once again met with the small town hospitality that keeps The Iowa Gallivant fueled. This is our fifth year scouting the overnights and we keep finding more reasons to head back theses towns every time we visit. More than we could ever put in our posts. Which is why we encourage as many riders to make the trek back to these host cities whenever possible.

Meet Kipp Davis who made this talented mural on the city square.
Job well done, Mr. Davis!
Thank you to Sarah Lind who helped us have another great scouting mission. Centerville’s kindness was everywhere and we know you’ll have a great RAGBRAI! Like the Centerville-RAGBRAI Facebook page to see what’s in store for Overnight #5!
Like the RAGBRAI Facebook page to see all the updates on this year’s trek across Iowa!

You need to click here and bone-up on our coverage of RAGBRAI-2019!

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