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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Winnieshiek County bar wins 2021 'Iowa's Best Burger' award

Bambino's, a quaint bar just outside of Decorah, is approaching its fifth decade in business.
Credit: Iowa Beef Council

OSSIAN, Iowa — The Iowa Beef Council has awarded the “Iowa 2021 Best Burger” to Bambino’s in Ossian, just outside of Decorah.

The bar is run by husband and wife duo Ron and Sue Lienau, who bought the place in 1982, a year before they got married.

The bar serves the winning burger starting every morning at 9 a.m. until closing at 2 a.m. The seven-ounce patty, an 80/20 ground beef split, isn’t made until the customer orders it. 

The burgers are then cooked at 160 degrees, customized with toppings and placed on the bun.

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Bambino’s most requested burger is the “veggie burger,” which is topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. Customers can customize their burgers anyway they’d like. 

Popular toppings include: bacon, egg, onion rings, and hash browns.

The designation as Iowa’s Best Burger comes after a two-phase competition, sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council through the Iowa State Beef Checkoff and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. 

For a month, burger lovers went online and voted for their favorite Iowa burger place. At the end of the month, the 10 restaurants with the most votes were declared the “Top 10”. 

Three anonymous judges then visited each of the restaurants, scoring the burger patties based on taste, doneness and presentation.