The Amana Colonies is a group of small towns in Iowa connected by a rich heritage present today in shops, museums and restaurants. It’s one of Iowa’s largest tourist attractions, drawing in history buffs, wine lovers and antique collectors. And it draws families. And families have to eat, right? So I decided to write this post about our experience dining in Amana with our young kids.
Below, I share about the family-friendly restaurants we found in Amana, as well as a bakery and tasty treats we sampled in stores.
Family-friendly restaurants in Amana
For the purpose of this post, I’m sticking with restaurants in Amana, Iowa. We spent the most time in that town, and it’s home to the heavy hitters of family-style Amana dining: Ox Yoke Inn, The Colony Inn and the Ronneburg Restaurant. I’ll tell you about Ox Yoke and Ronneburg, though, since they were the ones we dined at.
Ox Yoke Inn
If you dine just one place, make Ox Yoke Inn. We had dinner here on our first night and it set the enchanting tone for the weekend. Our server, Rhonda, was so incredibly welcoming, and offered a history primer in Amana and its tradition of communal living.
We ordered the family banquet – and feast of three entrees, two cold salads, bread and strawberry jam, vegetables and potatoes. We overate, and it was worth every strained waistband.
The kids devoured the fried chicken and green beans, and of course, the chocolate pie we split at the end.
I recommend smearing that strawberry jam on your bread – it was the best jam I’ve ever had. And the potatoes were so good, and probably had to do with the generous amount of butter used.
They serve local wine and beer, and I’d recommend trying the Millstream Brewery beer flight if you like trying new microbrews. It’s Iowa’s oldest brewery and it’s just down the street form Ox Yoke Inn.
Venture upstairs to peek at the small antique room.
Everything about our dining experience at Ox Yoke Inn was wonderful.
My family had a Sunday breakfast at Ronneburg, and of course, we had to go with the family-style option. It included the delicious Amana pancakes, a pile of bacon, eggs, toast, and fresh fruit.
The thin pancakes were the clear winner of this meal. They were almost crepes save for those crisp edges.
It’s hard to live up to the experience we had our first night, and Ronneburg was a bit of a disappointment because of the service. The server was friendly, but our meal was inexplicably slow, our coffee and water glasses sat unfilled for too long. We had to pull out a lot of our tricks to keep the kids entertained while we waited.
Amana Colonies Bakery & Café
It’s presumptuous of us, but we assumed we’d find some amazing pastries in Amana, so we planned for one breakfast to be pastries.
Amana Colonies Bakery & Café had display cases of tempting pastries and shelves of baked goods and treats. We ordered three pastries to split – apple strudel, chocolate éclair and a cinnamon roll – and coffee for the grownups. We ordered a maple cookie, too.
The kids loved the éclair, though it was way too gooey for my liking. The flaky strudel was subtle and more to my liking. I think the cinnamon roll would’ve been better if it was warmed up, but as it was, it was OK.
I wouldn’t make a special trip just for any of the pastries, to be honest. It has a pleasant outdoor seating area, but the music just didn’t fit and definitely didn’t make me want to linger.
Of course, the kids had no complaints, and I’m sure yours wouldn’t either.
Where to find samples of Amana sausage
My kids are natural snackers, so if there’s a chance to sample a variety of food, they’re all in. There was definitely the opportunity in Amana.
We were in Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse because I wanted to buy some snacks for the road and tasty souvenirs to bring home to family.
While browsing the shelves, the friendly ladies working there started putting out samples. The kids tried three types of sliced summer sausage, a couple snack mixes and beef jerky.
It was all so good. It’s worth a stop!
Desserts and treats in Amana
For sweets, there are several sweet shops from the Chocolate Haus to the Amana Colonies Popcorn and Ice Cream Co. Mr. Wonderful popped into the Village Store and Fudge Factory, where they offered samples. He bought a small brick, and they sliced it in fours so we can each have a hearty taste. Even a small brick would’ve been too much for one person
Your turn: What was your favorite thing to order or sample when you visited Amana, Iowa?
Read more about the trip
Visiting the Amana Colonies With Kids (where to eat, what to explore and where to play)
Get Travel Inspiration Directly In Your Inbox
Subscribe to the FREE twice a month(ish) e-newsletter sharing what’s new in Omaha, giveaways, family travel ideas, and more! Subscribe here.