It has been an exciting seven months for Michael Glesener and Matthew Gunn, owners of the Wood Iron Grille in Oskaloosa. Last fall, they opened their new restaurant with the goal of making it into the Top 10 in Iowa’s Best Burger Contest. This spring, they did that and more, not only reaching the Top 10, but ultimately winning the competition.
Inspired to enter the competition by a past winner, the Wood Iron Grille staff has been working hard to make their restaurant great since opening. After studying pastry arts in Chicago, Glesener, the head chef, temporarily worked in banking while his business partner, Gunn, worked in various restaurant roles along with turf and greenhouse management. Luckily, they joined forces to make the Wood Iron Grille what it is now.
Glesener and Gunn take pride in the panoramic views of emerald fairways and rolling greenery along the Oskaloosa Public Golf Course that visitors get to enjoy while eating their food. Aspiring to “raise the bar” for hospitality in Oskaloosa, they have been working to provide an extraordinary place for their community members to eat, instead of traveling to Des Moines for dinner. With their exceptional menu and impeccable service, they are certainly reaching their goals.
The Wood Iron Original Burger
The menu contains three exemplary versions of the 6 oz, hand-pattied burger. The Wood Iron Original Burger features applewood smoked bacon, a sweet and tangy onion jalapeno jam and smoked cheddar cheese. The Cajun Black and Blue Burger is topped with applewood smoked blue cheese and Cajun seasoning. The ‘Merica Burger is a classic with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. All the burgers consist of a mixture of ground chuck and beef short ribs.
The Wood Iron Grille also features beef in the form of Poutine, a combination of slow-braised beef, served over fries, with local Frisian Farms Gouda Cheese Curds; a classic 12-oz ribeye, which is hand cut by the chef and sourced from Upper Iowa Beef and a Philly Beef flatbread.
Michael Glesener and Matthew Gunn, Wood Iron Grille owners
This is the 10th year for the annual Best Burger contest sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, through the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Program, and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The Wood Iron Grille joins a great group of past best burger winners from around the state. Along with last year’s winner, Café Beaudelaire of Ames, previous winners include: 2017- The Smokin’ Hereford BBQ of Storm Lake; 2016 - The Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair; 2015 - The Cider House of Fairfield; 2014 - Brick City Grill in Ames; 2013 - 61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis; 2012 - Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids; 2011 - Rusty Duck in Dexter; and 2010 - Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City.
The designation as Iowa’s Best Burger comes after a two-phase competition. The first phase is all based on votes from the public. For a month, burger lovers went online and voted for their favorite Iowa burger, submitting nearly 6,000 votes representing around 500 restaurants. At the end of the month, the ten restaurants with the most votes are declared the “Top 10.”
From there, three anonymous judges visit each of the restaurants, focusing on the burger patties and scoring them based on taste, doneness and presentation.
If the eye-catching scenery and environment of the Wood Iron Grille does not draw Oskaloosans and out-of-towners into the restaurant, their delectable burger will surely do the trick. Trust in the judges’ taste buds and make a trip to the Wood Iron Grille in the near future.
If you go:
Address: 2214 S 11th St, Oskaloosa, IA 52577
From Highway 92, take South 11th Street south until you reach the golf course.
Monday - Thursday: 4 pm - 9 pm
Friday & Saturday: 4 pm - 10 pm (Appetizers only after 9 pm)
Sunday: 11 am - 8 pm (Brunch 11 am - 2 pm; Bar and Appetizers 2 pm - 4 pm; Full Menu 4 pm - 8 pm)
Reservations are encouraged for parties of 7 or more.
Editor’s note: High resolution photos of the winner and burger can be downloaded here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskQWJPYz
About Iowa’s Best Burger: The Iowa’s Best Burger contest is sponsored by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and funded in-part by the Iowa Beef Industry Council through the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Program.
About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 10,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”
About the Iowa Beef Industry Council: The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head National Beef Checkoff Program and the $0.50-per-head Iowa State Beef Checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.