Ottumwa's Canteen still receiving national attention

The Canteen has been a staple in Ottumwa since 1936.

An Ottumwa landmark is once again getting national attention.

New York Times freelance writer Seth Kugel recently ate his way through the Hawkeye State and then wrote about it, and, of course, he made a stop at Ottumwa's Canteen in the alley. Kugel called the Canteen's signature loose meat sandwiches "a sloppy joe without the slop" and though he deemed them a perfect combination of "fats, carbs, sugar and salt", he was generally positive about the meal.

The Canteen has been in Ottumwa since 1936, but staff are not surprised at how much attention it still gets from national news outlets.

"Just seeing everybody that comes in here from all over the world, we have a map that we have that's changed twice a year and people come in from all over the country and everything and they mark their tacks, where they're from," said Loretta Storto, a 12-year employee at the Canteen. "Just seeing everybody is what's kind of neat."

Kugel also ate at the Golden Dome Market and Cafe in Fairfield, a stark contrast to the type of food served at the Canteen, but also distinctly Iowan.

Storto said the Canteen serves anywhere between 120 and 150 pounds of meat a day, so there are no signs of the place slowing down quite yet.

To read Kugel's full article,click here, and to visit his website, click here.