Graettinger Drive-Up

Address: 107 East Robins Ave., Graettinger, Iowa

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sundays

Known for great burgers, also the new broasted chicken. Burgers are $2.50 or $3.75 for a basket that includes fries. A two-piece broasted chicken dinner with potato and salad is $4.80.

Contact them at (712) 859-3140


GRAETTINGER, Iowa — Lynn Neilson has been running the Graettinger Drive-up for nine years, and she really can’t imagine doing anything else.

She and her mother, Janice Simington, bought the restaurant together. Simington retired two years ago, and Neilson and her husband, Dave, took over. Four years ago, they added on, expanding the seating area from 15 to 50.

Neilson likes the flexibility she has to get her daughters Tasha, 14, and Hannah, 12, to school in the morning and be home for them after school or watch their athletic events.

The girls also help at the Drive-Up. Tasha gets pressed into service quite often and Hannah helps out when needed. Dave works for Palo Alto County but helps after work.

As its name implies, the Graettinger Drive-up has a drive-up window that is open year round.

The cafe has a full breakfast menu with customers coming from all over for the pancakes. Each day there is a special starting at noon.

The Drive-Up functions as the Graettinger congregate meal site for the senior nutrition program. Neilson also prepares the Meals on Wheels dinners, which are delivered by volunteers.

The noon special is usually what the seniors citizens eat for their meal. If Neilson runs out, she quickly puts together another special.


"Almost all the older people in Graettinger come here," she said. "We serve 15 to 30 meals per day. It’s their time to visit. It’s a lot of fun."

Neilson’s specials change throughout the month. Hot beef sandwiches, broasted chicken and tacos are popular.

The Graettinger Drive-Up offers a variety of hot and cold sandwiches including burgers, chicken, fish and tenderloins as well as chicken, tuna and egg salad. There are burger baskets as well as chicken strip, shrimp and fish baskets. There are a variety of appetizers and a wide array of ice cream items including hard and soft serve, malts, sundaes, shakes, floats and "Twisters," ice cream blended with candy or cookies.

"The kids enjoy the ice cream," Neilson said.

Neilson does most of the cooking. Her aunt, Joann Stueve, does the baking. Neilson’s sister, Dawn Alesch, helps as part of the morning crew, and there are two other employees.

The Drive-Up is a community gathering place.

"We’ve got our regulars who come in every morning and every afternoon for coffee," Neilson said. "We have a ladies’ table and a guys’ table. It’s the same people every day."

— Jean Caspers-Simmet


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