The latest restaurant to claim the title of Iowa’s “Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin” is in the state’s capital city.
The award from the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) was presented today to Nick’s, located near the Des Moines Airport. Owner Nick Iaria says the secret to his pork tenderloin is keeping everything fresh.
“Our one stipulation is the meat that we get is never frozen,” Iaria told Radio Iowa. “So, once we receive the meat, we cut it for the day. We tenderize it in the morning and when you order it, we season it, flour, batter and cook it to order.” The 43-year-old Iaria is a lifelong Des Moines resident and opened his restaurant on the city’s south side four years ago.
“I’m pretty excited,” Iaria said. “I’ve wanted to win this since my first year in business, since I found out about it. It’s an exciting day.” Nick’s menu includes an Italian beef sandwich, a sausage sandwich, pizzas and hot dogs. But, the best seller — by far — is the tenderloin.
“Seventy to 80 percent of all of our food sales are tenderloins,” Iaria said. “We sell 1,000-plus tenderloins a week.” Nick’s sells both a queen size (6-7 oz.) and a king size (12-13 oz.) tenderloin. This is the 14th year for the “Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin” contest. The IPPA presented Nick’s with a $500 check and a plaque.
The 1901 Chop Haus in Traer had the runner-up tenderloin in this year’s contest and received $250 and a plaque.
The other finalists were Sweet n’ Saucy in Fairfield, Stumpy’s Bar and Grill in Duncombe, and Willie’s Sports Bar and Grill in Hampton. Each of those restaurants receive a plaque. Iowa is the top pork producing state in the country. October is National Pork Month.