Butch Bittle was brought to tears this morning when the Iowa Pork Producers called to give him the good news. The tenderloin Butch sells at his River Rock Cafe in Oakland Mills has been declared the Best Tenderloin in the State!
The Iowa Pork Producers Association has selected the restaurant as the winner of the 2013 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest.
River Rock Café will receive $500, a plaque and statewide publicity for winning IPPA’s 11th annual contest. IPPA’s Restaurant and Foodservice Committee will make the official award presentation at the café on Oct. 16.
“I am just so amazed to have won,” said owner Butch Bittle. “I have been working toward this award since we opened and it’s such an honor for both me and my staff. Hats off to the local pork producers who raise the product for me!”
River Rock Café double coats its hand-pounded pork tenderloins in a cracker and bread crumb mixture daily and serves roughly 500 a week.
209 Main in Paton came in a close second and will receive $250 and a plaque. Rounding out the top 5 finalists was the Hard Luck Café in Kalona, Doosky’s Pizza & Patio Restaurant in Hinton and Malarky’s Pub in Storm Lake. These three restaurants will receive an honorable mention plaque to display in their restaurant.
Everyone who nominated River Rock was put in a drawing for $100 from IPPA. The winner is Jordan Ross of Mt. Pleasant.
“The best breaded pork tenderloin contest provides the opportunity for restaurant owners to talk about pork and share their pride in an Iowa product,” said Chef Phil Carey, committee member. “The winning restaurant is a small, very unique place that makes you feel welcome when you walk in. The owner is very passionate about pork and this award will make his whole year!”
The best breaded pork tenderloin contest continues to be a highlight for many Iowans. The contest attracted 373 nominations this year and 42 restaurants received the required three or more nominations. Initial judging was done by producers and members. The five finalists were selected in early September and final judging of those restaurants was completed earlier this month by a judging panel appointed by the IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee. The tenderloins are judged on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics and eating experience.
The contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that support the swine industry by putting pork on their menu. All restaurants, cafes and taverns that serve breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches can be nominated for the award each year. Previous contest winners also are eligible, but are prohibited from winning two consecutive years.
River Rock Café is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday, as well as during the summer months.