Jun 26, 2018

A commoner dines (and drinks) at Lonnski’s Pub & Deli, Grinnell, Iowa

It’s time for another trip in the Watts Wayback Machine, this one back to the Norman Rockwell-esque small college town of Grinnell, Iowa and a place I visited a few times for a light dinner, and some “light” drinking, while completing a work assignment in Grinnell.  One might not expect to find one of the town’s best drinking establishments inside a deli, but Lonnski’s Pub & Deli pulls off both quite well.

Located on historic Main Street in downtown Grinnell, Lonnski’s may look rather unassuming from the outside and, in fact, it looks just as unassuming at first on the inside.  There’s plenty of table seating, though … probably much more than you’d expect inside your average deli.   

But work your way to the back and veer to the right, and you’ll find the pub area of this pub and deli.  Whether you choose a high-top table in the bar section or a chair at the smallish rectangular bar itself, this is the section you’ll want to both eat and drink in.  

The decorations surrounding the bar obviously appeal to the hometown and college crowd.  The beer selection trends toward craft brew aficionados. I did enjoy the fact that the bar celebrates “Angry Hour” over Happy Hour, even when the college is on break.  Maybe business really falls off during the last two hours of operation, who knows?  At any rate, I always wished I could have stayed around for those $3.50 Long Island Iced Teas …

Inevitably, though, I would find myself washing dinner down with a craft beer I had never tried before.  The Peacetree Blonde Fatale quickly became a go-to of mine.  The bartenders were surprisingly knowledgeable and always willing to discuss their personal favorites to help in the decision-making process. 

As alluded to by the “Angry Hour” menu, the bartenders were also capable of serving most mixed drink options that could come to mind as well.  While on the small side, I took the cluttered, fully stocked shelves as a good sign of business. 

So, the pub portion of Lonnski’s didn’t disappoint, but what about the deli? 

The menu is certainly not going to offer many surprises – it's your typical selection of subs, burgers, toasted sandwiches, specialty salads and appetizer selections bordering on boring, but they do everything they offer quite well.  The portions are satisfying, and the meats and veggies on the subs are nice and fresh.  I enjoyed having the option to substitute tots for fries, especially since they seem to have a knack for making tots better than most. 

But the best thing to order at Lonnski’s may be their soups.  Whatever the soup of the day is, get it.  Especially if it’s the cream of mushroom, which is among the best I have ever had, period!  All of their soups work wonderfully with their Pick-a-Pair menu option, along with whatever sandwich or salad you select.   

Yes, Lonnski’s Pub & Deli turned out to be a great place for me to stop in for a quick bite to eat, even if I occasionally lost a few hours over drinks afterward.  It’s nothing special, but sometimes all you want is the familiar in a nice, comfortable atmosphere.  It’s a commitment to get to once you exit the interstate, but it’s certainly worth seeking out.

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