2022 T-Bone Trail · Grownup Getaways · Iowa Food · Iowa Wine, Beer, and Spirits · Southwest Iowa

Philly Steak Two Ways & Craft Beer in Union County, Iowa

*County parks, craft beer, burritos and steak sandwiches….That’s a grownup getaway in Southwest Iowa with a lot waiting for all of us! Our visit to Union County was sponsored and funded by the Western Iowa Tourism Region. Some of the goods, services and meals were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

We had a berry good time in Southwest Iowa! Es

Union County, Iowa

Sometimes Mom and Dad need a road trip to ourselves, and we know just where to go when the getaway finally happens. Southwest Iowa has the hilly roads, scenery, restaurants, neighborhood bars and roadside wonders we always want in a road trip which is why we keep coming back. Creston and Union County has all of this and it’s where our weekend began during the last week of the 2022 T-Bone Trail in Western Iowa!

Breakfast Time

Uptown Creston and Adams Street Espresso for gourmet coffee, hot breakfast and some local shopping all in one stop!
Take a spin on a stool or grab a table when you’re at Adams Street Espresso. An old school look with some modern delights on the menu!
Let’s get some of that shopping done! Adams Street Espresso gives you several options to add a keepsake to your coffee. Yup, I meant that…One mocha latte and a pair of earrings, please!
Remember when we went to Creston and I totally got an awesome ice coffee!
That was almost too pretty to eat. This Adams Street omelet was loaded with tons of veggies and beautifully cheesy with every bite.

Stay Active

Miles of trails and scenic views at the parks of Union County. We stopped by two we haven’t been to yet and took advantage of the afternoon in between much needed showers in the area. I just knew that my wife really wanted to take a few selfies with me as well!

Thayer Lake is a quiet and peaceful park just off of HWY 34. If you’re looking for a secluded campsite then this is your spot. The only sounds we heard out here were our own voices and footsteps along with the splashes of fish leaping for insects hovering over the water.
Wild berries all over the shorelines at Thayer Lake. The walking trails are scenic with an inviting feel to every acre in this park.
Hey, it’s Lily! It was nice to have all these floating flowers join us during our stroll around Thayer Lake.

Roadside America & History

The long road for the Mormon plight into the West had a historic path through Southern Iowa. Mount Pisgah is a must see for anyone that seeks roadside attractions, off the beaten path treasures, scenic views and America’s pioneer history near the community of Lorimor.

You’ll drive down a gravel road that seems like a private drive, but keep going and you’ll see this sign greeting you into the historic site.
The names of their dead are etched on this memorial that overlooks a stunning rural valley full of picturesque farmland.
“Stranger not in the church…” would be the only name given to someone who wandered into this Mormon way point at Mount Pisgah.
Weathered and old, but still marking the Mormon path to Utah far from Southwest Iowa.
The sprawling view from the cemetery at Mount Pisgah. This scene is why I’ll never stop exploring Iowa.

Public art is one of the delights and specialties of Union County. The murals keep popping up and this is an area that embraces artists who want to publicly display their talents on the local buildings and streets. You could easily lose count of all the murals in this area!

Just me and a cow loitering at the fairgrounds in Afton. Bovines are my kind of people!
And then I was just hanging out in Uptown Creston and wanting a pretty picture with the sunflowers when this lil stinker showed up….

Let’s Eat Steak

The T-Bone Trail keeps chugging along and Creston, Iowa is a the ideal town for when we want to railroad our way through a meaty meal. Willy’s Bar & Grill we go!

Just off of Taylor Street and tucked into a tasty neighborhood in Creston! 809 South Pine Street
Just give me the whole sirloin, slap it on a fresh roll and let me do the rest! Steak sandwich served up tender at Willy’s, my friends. Those crispy steak fries took several dips into a side of Ranch of course!
My buddy, Ellen went with the Willy steak sandwich! It’s like a Philly, but with a way cooler name. Juicy steak, melted mozzarella, grilled peppers and onions with a buttery toasted roll. Click on the video below and see me and my friend Ellen enjoying Willy’s Bar & Grill!
I’d like to thank Ellen and everyone at the Creston Chamber of Commerce for coordinating and hosting our day in Union County. I can’t wait to comeback and discover more of these communities!

Beer Me, Uptown Creston!

I’ve been accused of being full of hot air from time to time and probably for good reason. I was happy to find some Union County folks that can say the same thing because we were all sipping on some local craft beers from Hot Air Brewing in the heart of Uptown Creston! Click on the video below and see who we met at another of Iowa’s fantastic breweries….

That’s a lot of hometown pride in every sip!
Cold ones with a great group of beer makers in Creston! Katie loves her hometown and pouring these craft beers for the folks who want to experience this refreshing Southwest Iowa brewery!
A full tour of the facility with the man behind the suds himself. J. Wilson is a whizz when it comes to making beautiful beer and my Creston pop culture soulmate. I don’t know if he’s aware of that, but it’s true.

Uptown Creston wasn’t done with us yet. The Lobby was mixing more drinks and supplying a pool table for some friendly husband and wife competition. Spoiler alert…Monie was victorious…Again.

It must have been because of the extensive Moscow Mule menu that The Lobby showcases. That’s the secret weapon for superior pool skills. True story!
I may have lost the game, but I play a hell of an air guitar with a pool stick. Thank you, Uptown Creston for a much needed grownup getaway!


When there’s a Gallivant there’s a quality lodging partner. For our stay in Union County it was the Quality Inn that’s just off the main drag in Creston. That’s what I call a convenient location!

Your HWY 34 road trip has its stopping point in Creston at the Quality Inn! 900 South Sumner Ave 641-243-4977
We could slide right into these beds! Clean room, well taken care of and inviting as usual when it comes to comparing Quality Inn experiences I’ve had leading up to this Creston Gallivant!
Like seriously! I love me a clean room! That’s the smile from a man who’s happy to relax the night away in Creston, Iowa!
I also need this perk with every place I travel to. A desk, supportive office chair with wheels and the flat screen TV with a clear look at the news. The local weather report is what I always tune into when I’m on the road. Just a little gallivant habit I picked up.
The complimentary breakfast was showing its full bounty in the morning. Hot coffee, biscuits and gravy and the waffle iron putting in a lot of morning mileage.

Thanks to the whole staff for doing a great job at the Quality Inn-Creston! We enjoyed the entire day, and this hotel was just what we needed when it was time to start kicking back and winding down. And another HUGE thanks for keeping that coffee bar stocked up!

Bonus Beef

Small towns have some great Mexican restaurants all over Iowa. That goes double for the western region of state and we had many memorable Mexican meals this year with another one in Union County at El Ranchito in Afton, Iowa!

Afton is where we stopped for our much awaited pasta, burrito, and burger lunchtime destination under one roof at El Ranchito on the town square! 183 East Kansas Street
If you love what goes into Philly steak sandwiches then the Crazy Donkey is a burrito you’re going to really find yourself enjoying at El Ranchito. Chopped steak with grilled bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, sour cream and then topped with their rich queso sauce. I added some of El Ranchito’s house made hot sauce because I love it spicy!
Bacon cheeseburgers are hot off the grill at El Ranchito! I like how it can always be burger time at a Mexican restaurant….
Steak pasta with a Cajun zing in Afton, Iowa! El Ranchito tosses their al dente rigatoni in a creamy sauce with just enough Cajun spice to give it a little kick. Click on the video below and see our meal in action!
Burrto-up in Afton, Iowa! Don’t forget the hot sauce….

Southwest Iowa has been on our travel calendar for years and there’s no reason to let up on that routine. Union County has been an entertaining host for us and Ellen has always found some interesting ways to keep us coming back. We can say that we’ve experienced more of Uptown Creston’s exciting revitalization, more of the area’s small town dining and the rural wonders you can only find from the gravel roads. I’m ready for another steak supper, Union County!

Make your reservations for the Quality Inn-Creston on their website.

Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail-Western Iowa on Facebook!
On to the next Gallivant, darlin’….Thank you, Union County!

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