It’s no secret that there’s lots to see and do in northern Iowa. But you may be surprised to learn just how many delicious places there are to eat in Mason City, Iowa. In addition to a vibrant arts scene and amazing architectural history, Mason City has some truly iconic eateries.
Whether you’re looking for a craft brewery where you can enjoy a pint or a classic steakhouse with more than 100 years of culinary history, you won’t be disappointed. During my time in Mason City I had the opportunity to not only eat at a number of local restaurants but also had some time to get to know their owners. While their food is undoubtedly delicious, it’s the love of tradition and passion for their community that really sets Mason City eateries apart.
The next time you’re in the area, be sure to come hungry! From classic steakhouses and delis to Mexican restaurants and ice cream shops, there are tons of incredible places to eat in Mason City, Iowa.
Places to Eat in Mason City, Iowa
1910 Grille & Lounge
Located inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Historic Park Inn, the 1910 Grille & Lounge is the perfect place for a special occasion. Whatever you’re celebrating, this upscale eatery is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal. With a menu that is largely locally sourced and changes seasonally, the 1910 Grille offers a variety of shareable appetizers, grain-based dishes, and meat-heavy mains.
Even if you don’t enjoy a meal at the 1910 Grille, the downstairs lounge is the perfect place for a night cap after a busy day of exploring. If you’re a fan of craft cocktails, this cozy bar as some of the best in town. Personally, I recommend the spicy Paloma.
1910 Grille & Lounge, 7 W. State Street in Mason City, Iowa
CURRENTLY CLOSED: Birdsall’s
No list of places to find delicious treats in Mason City is complete without mention of Birdsall’s. This classic ice cream shop is a local staple and for good reason. For more than 85 years, Birdsall’s has brought homemade ice creams, delicious sundaes and more to the Mason City area.
When it’s in season, their fresh peach ice cream is my absolute favorite. But you really can’t go wrong with any of their homemade flavors. On my most recent visit, I opted for another of their seasonal flavors, Dutch letter, in a homemade waffle cone.
Sadly, Birdsall’s longtime owner passed away in November 2020. The shop is currently closed. Though I hope it’ll reopened some time in the future.
Birdsall’s, 518 N. Federal Avenue in Mason City, Iowa
Fat Hill Brewing Company
Located just across the park from the Historic Park Inn, Fat Hill Brewing Company is the perfect place to grab a craft beer and enjoy some live music. Craft breweries are high on my list of places to visit when I travel and Fat Hill Brewing did not disappoint. They have a wide variety of their locally brewed beers on tap at all times, and I especially enjoyed their mission to highlight Iowa ingredients like wildflower honey and aronia berries.
In addition to some great beers, the brewery has a large taproom that was packed the Saturday night I visited because of the live music they regularly host. If you’re looking for a pint recommendation, during my most recent visit I especially enjoyed Fat Hill’s Aronia Saison and Honey Kolsch.
Fat Hill Brewing Company, 17 N. Federal Avenue Mason City, Iowa
Jitters Coffee Bar
For a travel lover, Jitters Coffee Bar was the best possible surprise! Not only is this Australian, travel-themed coffee shop a cozy place to start the day, but they also have amazing coffee and a delicious assortment of pastries. Jitters is conveniently located near downtown Mason City and is a great place to get your caffeine fix. I loved perusing the travel books strewn across the shop’s tables while enjoying a still-warm turnover with my iced coffee.
Jitters Coffee Bar, 124 4th Street SW in Mason City, Iowa
Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy Mexican food in Mason City, look no further than Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant. With spacious seating and a great bar area, Las Palmas is the perfect place for happy hour or when you’re dining with a larger group.
I also heard great things about Pastime Gardens, which was unfortunately closed for vacation during my last visit to Mason City.
Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant, 3115 4th Street SW in Mason City, Iowa
Mason City Brewing
Opened in 2013, Mason City Brewing was the north-Iowa community’s first craft brewery. Their small batch beers are inventive and their taproom hosts a variety of events from live music to comedy acts. While they don’t serve food in their taproom, they allow craft beer lovers to bring their own food in. I especially enjoyed pairing my Iowana cream ale with a gyro from local favorite Pete’s Kitchen.
Mason City Brewing, 28 E. State Street in Mason City, Iowa
A meal at Northwestern Steakhouse was an essential part of my visit to Mason City as I researched my book, Iowa Supper Clubs. Before visiting I had heard incredible things about this classic Greek steakhouse, but I was truly blown away. Not only do the Papouchis make all of their guests feel like family, but the food is truly as good as everyone says.
I opted for one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes—the filet—accompanied by a side of the Greek spaghetti. Everything was absolutely delicious, and I can’t wait to visit again. Want to know more about Northwestern Steakhouse? Check out Iowa Supper Clubs!
Northwestern Steakhouse, 304 16th Street NW in Mason City, Iowa
Every town needs a classic deli. In Mason City, that’s Pete’s Kitchen. In a lot of ways, this local sub shop reminds me of one of my Des Moines favorites, Hansen’s Manhattan Deli. Not only does Pete’s offer sandwiches, but they also have some truly outstanding gyros. During my visit, I opted for a classic gyro with an order of their homemade baklava for dessert.
Pete’s Kitchen, 629 6th Street SW in Mason City, Iowa
Pro’s Sandwich Shop
I have a confession to make: I had never had a loose meat sandwich. At least not until I visited Pro’s Sandwich Shop. These messy sandwiches may be an Iowa tradition, but somehow I’d never managed to have one. After my visit at Pro’s, I realized that I’d seriously been missing out.
Grab a stool along the diner’s bar and choose from a bevy of Midwest favorites. At Pro’s, a Beef Delight is made with peppers, onions, and loose ground beef on a bun, and comes balled up in red and white checked paper. Unrolling the sandwich it’s almost impossible to eat this north Iowa delicacy in a neat fashion. But wow is it worth the mess!
Don’t pass on ordering a homemade malt. I promise you won’t be sorry.
Pro’s Sandwich Shop, 629 S. Federal Avenue in Mason City, Iowa
Three on the Tree Coffee & Cafe
Coffee is an essential part of any trip—or really any day—for me. I love finding local coffee shops when I visit new places and my time in Mason City was no different. Three on the Tree Coffee & Cafe is the perfect place to grab a quick cup of coffee (and a sweet treat) while exploring downtown Mason City. Plus, this cute coffee shop is attached to Market 124, one of my favorite local shops for gifts, home goods, and more.
Three on the Tree Coffee & Cafe, 124 1/2 N. Delaware Avenue in Mason City, Iowa
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear from you! What type of food do you seek out when you travel? Tell me about your favorite places to eat in Mason City, Iowa.