Cafe B cheeseburger
Cafe Beaudelaire, Ames

2018 Iowa's Best Burger Winner

Cafe Beaudelaire, Ames

The 2018 Iowa's Best Burger has been named at Cafe Beaudelaire in Ames! The restaurant's award-winning burger is a simple combination of salt, pepper and oregano on a hand-made patty of Certified Angus Beef. Together with a toasted bun and a variety of toppings.

Read the complete news release here >>>

Claudio Gianello
Cafe Beaudelaire

Claudio Gianello, owner of Cafe Beaudelaire in Ames, presents an award-winning burger.

The Soul of Brasil in the Heart of Iowa

For Claudio Gianello, the Brazilian-born owner of Café Beaudelaire in Ames, fame has never been a priority. Instead, the goal has always been good food in a great atmosphere. And his humble approach has led to 28 years in business on Lincoln Way, and now, the honor of being named Iowa’s Best Burger.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is undoubtedly special. The small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant and bar in the heart of campus-town serves food with a Latin flavor to Ames’ temporary student population and permanent residents. Throughout the day, Gianello says, the clientele changes. From a few older gentlemen who drink coffee and watch the news in the morning hours, before the restaurant officially opens, to the professors who visit for lunch, and then the students who keep the place busy late into the night, a wide variety of patrons feel right at home.

Soccer games on the flat screen television go hand in hand with flags from around the globe circling the room. Menu items are inspired by flavors from Brazil, Argentina, Spain and other European and South American countries. The menu is meant to mimic “street food” sold by food truck vendors in those countries, leading to a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere with plenty of character.

Café B, as it is called by regular customers, actually began as a walk-up window, with burgers and fruit juices on the menu. After only a few months, it expanded to a traditional restaurant and bar, and has been owned by Gianello and his wife, Kellie, who is from Carroll, from the start.

Over the years, the menu has changed, and Gianello has tried several different renditions of his now-famous burger. He settled on a simple combination of salt, pepper and oregano on a hand-made patty of Certified Angus Beef. Together with a toasted bun and a variety of toppings, the result is nothing short of amazing.

The designation as Iowa’s Best Burger comes after a two-phase competition, sponsored by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council. 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 10,000 votes representing around 700 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. One of the judges, who has judged the competition in the past, told contest administrators, “I always ask myself, would I go out of my way to get this burger? Would I drive a long way to have this burger again? In this case, yes, I would, and that tells me it’s a great burger.”

Café B’s burger is well-known to locals, but it has stayed out of the spotlight, with some effort on the part of its owner. Gianello was approached by Food Network and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but turned down the opportunity to appear on the show.

The restaurant – and its amazing burger – couldn’t hide-out forever, though. And when waitress, Lexi, who is also a student at Iowa State, decided to promote Café B’s burger as part of a public relations class she was taking, the votes came rolling in. From there, it was up to the judges, who determined that the burger really was deserving of the title of Iowa’s Best Burger.

If you go:

The restaurant is fairly small and parking is limited, so take that in to consideration. But the restaurant is also well-known for their Long Island Iced-Teas and Caiprihina, a Brazilian cocktail, so relax with a drink while you wait.

2504 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa

Monday-Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.

Friday – Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.

Kitchen open 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily

Cafe B cheeseburger

Classic Burger

Cafe B Burger

Spanish Burger

2018 Iowa's Best Burger Top 10

Read the news release here

2018 Top 10


3980 Center Point Rd. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Mon – Sat: 11 am-9 pm
Sun: 11 am-8 pm
(no checks)

Learn More

Cafe Beaudelaire

2504 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50014
Kitchen Hours:
Sun-Sat: 10 am-9 pm
(no checks)

Learn More

Iowa Stater Restaurant

2100 Green Hills Drive
Ames, IA 50014
Sun-Sat: 6:30 pm-10 pm

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Moo's BBQ

1220 W 18th Street S
Newton, IA 50208
Mon-Sat: 11 am-8 pm
Sun: 11 am-7 pm
Closed March 25
(no checks)

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Morgan's Corner

436 West 2nd Stret
Ottumwa, IA 52501
Mon-Sat: 11 am-midnight
(cash or check only)

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Ride's Bar & Grill

723 South 31st
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
Kitchen Hours:
Lunch: Mon - Thur: 11 am – 1:30 pm
Evening: Mon-Thursday: 5 pm-9 pm
Friday-Sat: 11 am - 11 pm
Sunday: 11 am - 7:30 pm
(cash or check only)

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Robin's Nest Cafe

112 E Washington Street
Clarinda, IA 51632
Sunday-Sat: 6 am - 2 pm

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Saucy Focaccia

5100 Fountain Drive NE, Suite 100
Cedar Rapids, IA 52411
Sun-Thurs: 10:30 am-8 pm
Fri & Sat: 10:30 am-9 pm
(no checks)

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The Twisted Tail Steakhouse

2849 335th Street
Logan, IA 51546
(BeeBeeTown, Iowa)
Mon: 11 am-9 pm
Tues -Sun:11 am-9 pm
(no checks)

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Wrangling Grace Cafe

109 Ramsey Street W
Bancroft, IA 50517
Mon-Fri: 7:30 am-3 pm
Wed: 5 pm-8 pm
Fri: 5 pm-?
Closed Sat & Sunday

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The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association sponsor the annual Iowa's Best Burger Contest.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association are proud to announce the 9th annual Iowa’s Best Burger Contest. Nominations will be taken from Monday, February 12 to Monday, March 12, 2018


Past Winners

2017's Winner was the Smokin' Hereford BBQ in Storm Lake!

Visit the past year's contest results

Smokin' Hereford BBQ

L - R: Jonathan Borjas, manager, Ileck Thammathai, kitchen supervisor, Natalie Schumann, front-of-house manager. 

2017 Iowa's Best Burger Winner

Smokin' Hereford BBQ

The 2017 Iowa's Best Burger has been named at Smokin' Hereford BBQ in Storm Lake, Iowa! 

The restaurant serves The Hereford Burger which is 8 ounces of hand-pattied Hereford beef dressed with their house seasoning, made to order. The burger is cooked over a flame grill and is served with a choice of one side and corn bread. The burger is served with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on the side, and served on a toasted bun.

Read the complete news release here >>>