Jamie wrote in to tell us about Rides Bar & Grill in Fort Dodge, IA. When asked if she had a favorite bartender, she said…herself!
We certainly don’t mind a little self-promotion on this pageifpublic opinion backs it up—and in this case it does! Rides sounds like a cool dive bar where you’ll find great food, a brand new family, and unforgettable conversation.
With a name like Rides, it’s no surprise that all of this bar’s burgers are named after, well, rides. However, it is very surprising that you can get almost all of these meaty concoctions with friesfor less than $10. That’s right—there is a Heaven on Earth and it’s in Iowa.
Choose from nineteenburger varieties, including the Hot Rod (spicy), the Hog (includes hog meat), and the Rat Rod (does notinclude rat meat).
The drink and food specials are constant, as if this stuff wasn’t cheap enough to begin with. Enjoy live music on select nights as well as tacos and cheap margaritas on Tuesdays. Watch the TV or play a game of pool. Peruse the automobile and motorcycle signs that make up the main décor of Rides (look up!), and of course hang out with Jamie at the bar.
The website hasn’t been updated since 2018, but like most great dives, they don’t really need to work on internet fame to stay in business. Rides brings in plenty of customers through word-of-mouth, or people just stumble into the place by chance. Their reputation for having some of the best burgers in the state precedes them.
Rides is cash-only (which is probably how they keep their prices so low), and food is typically served within 10 minutes of ordering. Most importantly, however, is the fact that the people who own this bar love what they do andlove their customers.
You’ll never find a more welcoming, caring bunch of people than when you step inside Rides. Walk up to its unassuming exterior and into someplace truly special, warm, and inviting. Hang out with the regulars, Chicken Chuck, T$, Bigg Hoss, and Point. Jamie says they can usually be found at Table 1, and if you decide to plop down and join them you’re likely to get an earful!
There are endless tales of the folks at Rides Bar & Grill helping people in the community and dragging brand-new customers to meet friends and family. This is truly a home away from home, whether it’s your first time inside or your 100th.
We’ve all been to dives where strangers simply aren’t welcome. It’s like you’ve gotta prove that you can hang with the crowd before you’re accepted. Some people like that; they like the challenge. But you’ll find none of that here. These people likepeople.
So next time you’re driving through Iowa, make sure you stop off at Rides Bar & Grill. You’ll be glad you took the time to eat a great burger, have (and maybe share) a bucket of beer, and meet these friendly folks.
Location: Fort Dodge, Iowa
Be sure to try: a can of domestic beer on “Crappy Beer Night” (a.k.a. Tuesdays from 3pm-close)