Two-Bite Burgers

2021 Iowa's Best Burger Contest

2021 Iowa's Best Burger WInner

At first glance, Bambino’s appears to be a hole-in-the-wall, nestled between Decorah and West Union. Customers having visited the quaint Ossian establishment, before or after it had ranked among Iowa’s Best Burgers, would concur—there is more than meets the eye.

Ron Lienau, of Fredericksburg, IA, purchased the bar in 1982. Him and his girlfriend, Sue, decided to embark on this journey together, but “for a little while; not too long.” One year later, Ron and Sue wed. Soon after, the couple started their family, having four boys in five and a half years. "We were hoping to sell when our youngest was in Kindergarten,” Sue recalls. “Thirty-nine years later, and we’re still here.”

The Lienau’s raised all four boys, while managing the bar and growing their business. Sue’s bar shift offered flexible hours, allowing her to attend the boys’ sporting events. As they grew older, all four boys worked for the family-owned business. Sue is proud of her boys, as they gained both cooking and social skills from their food service experience. She is now teaching her grandsons how to wash glasses and assist customers.

Bambino’s, which mimics Ron’s college nickname, was “truly a bar,” at first. However, Sue says “food became a bigger demand over time.” When the restaurant in town closed, it left townsfolk without a place to dine. Bambino’s, which did not feature a service kitchen at the time, found a way to open early and serve breakfast. Sue cooked at home, then brought her breakfast items to the bar to serve. Eventually, a new restaurant opened and Bambino’s stopped its breakfast service, but continued with its noontime meal. “Throughout it all, we have had a good noon meal,” Sue says. “My meals are always made from scratch.”

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2021 Iowa's Best Burger Top 10

Arty's Ice Cream & Grill

609 W 5th St.
Wilton, IA 52778

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102 N Lydia St.
Ossian, IA 52161

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621 Franklin St.
Pella, IA 50219


Drive-Thru Location:
2610 Washington St.
Pella, IA 50219

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Fishback & Stephensen Cider House

1949 Pleasant Plain Rd.
Fairfield, IA 52556

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Foodie garage Eatery

1091 University Ave
Dubuque, IA 52001

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Moo's BBQ

1220 W 18th St. S
Newton, IA 50208

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Murph's Creamery & Grill

105 W Hwy 30
Toledo, IA 52342

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Saucy Focaccia

5100 Fountains Dr. NE #100
Cedar Rapids, IA 52411


2360 Edgewood Rd. SW Suite 100
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

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The Map Room

416 3rd St. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

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Troy's Bar and Grill

111 Main St. 
Earling, IA 51530

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FoodService Inspiration:


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