2022 T-Bone Trail · Museums and History · Roadside Iowa · Southwest Iowa

The Gravy Filled Swedish Inspired Ribeye Road Trip You’ve Been Waiting For: Montgomery County, Iowa

*Southwest Iowa’s HWY 34 brings in the travelers and explorers like us to communities that are home to some energetic entrepreneurs. Our trip to Montgomery County was funded by the Western Iowa Tourism Region. Some of our meals, services and goods were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

Someone get the younger generation over to Stanton, Iowa! They gotta see how we called our parents for a ride through the 1990s!

Montgomery County, Iowa

I love a great cup of coffee, steaks, gravy, history and any reason to pull over to snap a picture of a roadside wonder. Lucky for me, and countless road trippers out there, we have Montgomery County, Iowa and the opportunities it’s home to for all those entering reasons I listed above. Let’s get a taste of Sweden in Stanton, Iowa!

Roadside America & History

The Swedish heritage is on full display throughout many areas of Stanton. For some of them you’ll need a keen eye to notice and some will pop out like a Scandinavian beacon calling you into town.

Local celebrity, Virginia Christine, was one of America’s most noticeable spokeswomen for any brand during the golden years of television in the mid-20th century. Many folks outside of Stanton know her as Mrs. Olson who loved her Folgers Coffee! You can see why it’s fitting that the town’s water tower is shaped like a Swedish coffee cup on a very big saucer!
Now over to the retired water tower, but still very much a part of Stanton’s Swedish gems. Read the info above and get your homework done because you’re going to get an up close look at Stanton’s Swedish coffee pot. Just watch the video below!
Are you ready for a fresh pot of roadside America?
Right next to the coffee pot is the Swedish Heritage and Cultural Center inside the old school. This wooden sculpture of the area’s immigrant past will greet you as you walk inside.
Multiple exhibits, artifacts, antiques and endless stories can be experienced here at the center.
The years and uncountable hours spent on this Swedish relic is something to respect.
It was a long trip from Sweden’s coast to the Midwest of America, but these folks made it happen. Iowa would have a hardworking group of folks making history year after year in Stanton.
Artwork is all over the museum and you can see the influence their heritage brings out in these colorful pieces.


One of the biggest reliefs to travelers is when they locate the local coffee hub where we can order our favorite caffeinated beverages. Or dive into a local delight you can’t get back home. That Montgomery County hub for me was Fika Coffee Hus on the main drag of Stanton!

The Swedish sensations are inside and Fika Coffee Hus won’t be difficult to find when you get to Stanton. Coffee and baked goods a Viking would be proud to enjoy!
The proud owners of Fika and one of their beautiful cakes! Let’s meet them by clicking on the video below!
Your dietary and sweet tooth needs can be taken care of at Fika Coffee Hus!
I bellied up to counter and received my ice coffee standby and was immediately satisfied!
Fika Coffee Hus specializes in many ways to enjoy something sweet and delicious. The talented bakers prepared this gluten free treat that I quickly got introduced to.
That’s what I call a cupcake eating grin right there!
Gluten free, Paleo and more dietary specialties can be ordered at Fika Coffee Hus and they do a wonderful job of making it all look as good as it tastes.
Lemon Barry Rolls? Pass that pan down my way!

Let’s Eat Steak

*We’d like to thank the Mills/Montgomery Cattlemen for being the official meal sponsors during this wonderful Gallivant through Montgomery County! Let’s see what we ordered….

Your Montgomery County aged Ribeyes are getting ready for the steak lovers who’ll travel for an outstanding meal! 317 Broad Ave, Stanton, Iowa

The wind is just right for a thick steak in Stanton! The locals were looking forward to this evening for a long time and they supplied one of the greatest welcoming gifts I’ve ever received. Let’s get to know Gibbs Chophouse!

Patio time with Mr. Gibbs himself! Our matching wardrobe wasn’t planned, but I was happy to see someone else who knows how to dress for the occasion.
Upon walking into Gibbs Chophouse was the valkommen I was talking about! Local Stanton Elementary kids heard we were in town for a beef inspired promotion, and they prepared some special decorations. This artwork was an incredible way to start an evening in Stanton!
We started our meals with the colorful cows all around our table. A fresh salad is always a great start to any steak supper. I think the cows on the wall would have liked this course.
A popular appetizer here in Iowa, and Gibbs Chophouse has a phenomenal recipe of their own. Spinach artichoke dip made everyone a happy customer at our table when these hot bowls landed!
Poutine is a magical thing and I was thrilled to see it as an option on the Gibbs’ menu. Crispy fries topped with melted cheese, chopped bacon, rich gravy and sliced green onion. I hope to find this in my Christmas stocking someday!
Out came the entrees and many are big on beef! Gibbs Chophouse is also known for their BBQ and how tasty it can be. Look at this plate of smoky brisket with its best buddies of loaded baked potato and green beans with bacon!
Then the Ribeyes showed up! A masterful job was done on these steaks because the Gibbs Chophouse kitchen crew is one of the most talented in the area. Watch the video below to see this Stanton party in action with these perfectly aged Ribeyes!
All of us at the table were born for the camera! Especially those steaks…
They weren’t letting us leave the chophouse without dessert! All of these selections were delicious, but that bread pudding…..Oh baby that was amazing!
I believe nightcaps are in order! Cheers to you, Gibbs Chophouse and the entire Stanton team that showed us how great this town can be!
Whoa, JayJay! Can’t leave without getting one more picture at Gibbs Chophouse! A chef and his wife side by side helping to make this restaurant and Montgomery County community a memorable one for all of us visitors and locals!


Just below Gibbs Chophouse are some modern suites that are operated by an old lumberyard in Stanton, Iowa. I really mean that! 227 Thorn Street 712-829-7350

My preferred way to travel anywhere is to park my car and have the room, restaurant, and a business district all within steps of each other. This is possible in Stanton because of the OLY suites!

Completely renovated lower level of this historic Stanton building and just below the patio of the Gibbs Chophouse!
Modern accommodations mixed with some Stanton history in these OLY suites. Comfortable sheets on a nice bed with the flat screen TV in perfect position to go channel surfing while you relax in Stanton.
A great shower and bathroom is always a much needed part of any stay anywhere. OLY has the hot water, fresh towels, and clean sinks for any pretty face who checks in. Look what it did for me!
Imagine the drinks and refreshments you could place on this counter for a little get together!
The Swedish theme keeps going strong in the OLY suites. There’s a valkommen around every corner in Stanton!
And now the event venue that could be hosting your next shindig. This unforgettable OLY facility is directly across the street from the suites and has quickly become one of the most popular event centers in SW-Iowa. The old look of the lumberyard is paired with the renovations that make this building beautiful.

Bonus Beef

Red Oak is where I found the Montgomery County gravy train! A restaurant that’s been cooking for generations is the place I had to experience, and I was thrilled to meet up with some awesome folks at The Rainbow Café!

Sometimes you have to go off the beaten path to find a wonderful meal….and find what’s at the end of a rainbow. My middle name is pot’o gold. True story!
Yes! A beer with one of the Rainbow’s most valuable regulars! There was no way I was going to turn down this opportunity!
The Rainbow Café team was entertaining and extremely happy to see us join them for the lunch hour. And they literally had the oldest table in town ready to go for us!
The beefy meals were served hot and filled us up with some delicious Red Oak cooking! The Rainbow uses a 70 year old meatloaf recipe and never skimps on the rich gravy. One of the best perks of this special is the German chocolate cake that automatically comes with your meal. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and a chocolaty dessert in one meal. That’s a stick to your ribs Red Oak specialty right there!
Was the gravy train making just one stop at the Rainbow Café? Heck, no! This place has an excellent hot roast beef sandwich that can satisfy any beef lover! Watch the video below and meet the Cattlemen reps that joined me and the Rainbow Café team that made all this happen!
Gravy mission accomplished, Red Oak!
Did I save room for pie? Probably not. That’s why I got this homemade sour cream and raisin pie to go. One of the finest pies us Iowans have enjoyed for generations.
A Red Oak memory I’ll never forget. Great food, laughter, catching up, and new friends made with plates full of spuds, brown gravy and the terrifically cooked beef we showed up for. The treasures you can find all over Montgomery County and SW-Iowa

We just featured some great ways to consume delicious meals that have beef as the headliner. Now, let’s get to know one of Montgomery County’s farmers who has a professional team that raises some quality cattle. Let’s go to Hart Farms near Stanton!

We’ll see you again, Hart family!

Stay Active

I stumbled upon some of Montgomery County’s prairies and parks the last time I was here, but not all of them. I needed more miles on my step tracker and I got the job done near Elliot at Pilot Gove County Park with a trip around its lake.

That’s a genuine smile from a genuinely marvelous time in Montgomery County.

The act of going back to a place you’ve traveled to before can be a satisfying one. Less than a year went by since my last visit to Montgomery County, and yet I managed to see more of the area and meet more of its entertaining and welcoming locals. I used the word “welcome” several times in this blog post because that simple gesture was all around me the entire time. You all did a top-notch job of representing your communities, and I thank all of you for your friendliness and true character. Let’s meet for a gravy filled lunch and party the Swedish night away again!

Find information about the Stanton Old Lumber Yard and Event Center on their website.

Like the Mills/Montgomery County Cattlemen on Facebook!
Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail-Western Iowa on Facebook!
There’s a lot going on in this pic. Hawaiian shirt with bibs, a Swedish coffee cup and some otter thingy sneaking up on me. Only in Stanton!

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