Just in time for the Iowa State Fair — and the cavalcade of Democratic presidential hopefuls — comes my story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Caucus Bistro, in the small Iowa town of Ladora.
Midwest Traveler: Caucus-themed Iowa restaurant serves up political fare in classic surroundings
Small-town Caucus Bistro salutes Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential contest.
By Betsy Rubiner Special to the Star Tribune
AUGUST 1, 2019 — 6:52PM
The Caucus Bistro building, formerly the 1920 Ladora Savings Bank in Ladora, Iowa, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
We needed strength. We needed sustenance. We were steeling ourselves to see 19 Democratic presidential candidates (including Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar) on a Sunday afternoon in June at a political event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that promised little food and lots of speeches.
What better time for a Bleeding Heart Flatbread or the Inaugural Balls at Caucus Bistro, a new restaurant paying homage to the nation’s first-in-the-nation presidential contest? (The 2020 Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 3.)
The bistro is located in the farm community of Ladora, about 39 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids — and an easy stop along our two-hour drive from Des Moines. We also were in luck that it serves Sunday lunch.
Although my husband and I enjoyed Caucus Bistro’s low-key but sophisticated fare, the biggest draws were the caucus-themed decor and the faded grandeur of the restaurant’s digs — a restored former jewel box-style bank that opened in 1920 and closed 11 years later during the Great Depression.
Ladora (pop. 274) is what my husband calls a “blink town” — as in “blink and you’ll miss it.” (He grew up in one in Kansas.) After driving 90 miles east from Des Moines, we landed in Ladora via Hwy. 6, a two-lane road that runs through rolling hills dotted with cattle grazing in green fields, pretty old farmhouses and the occasional McMansion.