Dan Kaercher learns there's more than ice cream to taste at this small town diner with BIG food. Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe has an award-winning pork tenderloin sandwich.
Hosted by Dan Kaercher, Iowa's Simple Pleasures features Iowa travel destinations, restaurants, events, parks, recreation and more. Produced by Iowa Public Television, the series highlights fun things for Iowans to do, see and taste, right here at home.
Kaercher: Even though this next stop is an ice cream shoppe, there's more than just the creamy cold stuff on the menu. In fact, you might not even have room for ice cream after you try their award winning sandwich. The buffalo roam the land near Prairie City, even serving as the welcome wagon for the Jasper County Community. This iconic small town, complete with required towering co-op, is now known by others around the state and beyond as a must-stop on the Iowa dining circuit.
Unknown: Good morning. May I help you?
Kaercher: Dan Kaercher with Iowa Public Television. Our crew has been traveling around the state, and I've heard you serve a pretty good tenderloin here.
Worker: Yes, we do.
Kaercher: Can I speak to the owner?
Worker: Yes, I'll get him.
Kaercher: Goldie's in the shadow of the co-op but clearly stands out in this community.
Magg: Magg Combo, an Italian sausage sandwich, and a regular tenderloin.
Kaercher: Owner Brad Magg is young in age but a veteran in the kitchen.
Magg: I started my first business when I was fourteen. I started a catering business actually out of my parents' house. At one point they said this is enough, we're tired of catering equipment in our living room. So we built a commercial kitchen on our family farm between Colfax and Mitchellville. I started Magg Family Catering as a freshman in high school. I did that through high school, and I went to culinary school at DMACC in Ankeny. And I had this bad habit of going around to cool places that I liked and asking the owner what they were going to do when they retired or when they were going to retire. And Golda, I asked her that one day, and she said, "Well, whenever you buy the place."
Kaercher: Golda was the previous owner?
Magg: Golda was the original owner and the creator of Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe. She said, "Well, whenever you buy the place, I'll retire." And we signed papers about a month later.
Kaercher: How did you come to perfect your tenderloin recipe?
Magg: You know, when you open a new business and everything, nothing goes quite as planned, so the kitchen wasn't done until the night before we were supposed to open. I'd already made the menus and printed the menus but didn't quite know what the recipes were for a few things. So I made a mad dash to the grocery store and bought quite a few things that I thought might be possible to use in a tenderloin recipe. And about six hours of breading and frying tenderloins, we came up with one that we thought was pretty good. Some things didn't work, however. Ice cream mix is not very good to use in tenderloins.
Kaercher: We know that's not the secret ingredient.
Magg: That one failed miserably. That wasn't good.
Kaercher: Once awarded the top tenderloin prize, the secret of his shop was out and business took off.
Magg: It doubled our business. We went from doing 300 tenderloins a week. We now do about 200 tenderloins a day. So that was a little boost in business. We -- for first two weeks of the award, we ran both the Altoona Fareway and the Ankeny Fareway out of pork loins. We actually had to have special shipments of cracker crumbs brought in because we couldn't keep up with the demand.
Kaercher: So you purchase your tenderized pork loins from the market, but you do the breading and the cooking.
Magg: Yeah. The great meat guys at Fareway, they slice and tenderize the pork loins for us, and then we bread them ourselves with our special recipe. We get customers from all over the state. Since the tenderloin award, we've had customers from all over the world. About once a week we have somebody from outside the county that comes in for lunch or for dinner. So we've made a lot of new friends and met a lot of cool people. But anybody, you know, family, kids, anybody that wants good food, they stop in.
Kaercher: You're open for lunch and dinner?
Magg: Lunch and dinner.
Kaercher: How many days a week?
Magg: Seven days a week. We're closed six days a year. So as long as you don't come on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, or Easter, we'll be here.
Kaercher: Well, it's kind of a small facility here, but you do a lot of to-go orders, right?
Magg: We do. Yeah, we only have five tables, but you'd be amazed how fast people can get in and out. There's normally not much more than a ten-minute wait if you do have to wait. We do about 30 percent of our business is to go. We have a drive-through, so with a van load of kids, you can just drive through and not even get out of your car. One of our things is the Magg Combo. It's where we take a tenderloin and put a cheeseburger on top of it on one bun. We also have the Mingo Special, which is our number one tenderloin with Italian Sausage on top and mozzarella cheese melted over it. So that's really good too. Where do I start? I want to get a little bit of everything here. After sampling the tenderloin, the Magg Combo, and the Italian Sausage, it was time to try one of the ice cream treats. After all, this is an ice cream shop. I guess I have to try some desert. I mean the things I do for this job, I just can't believe what I have to do for the cause. Oh, a banana split. Oooh, oh yeah! This was the brownie sundae. I think I'm feeling a little full at the moment. I can't imagine why.