One of Iowa’s best scenic overlooks and our state’s oldest restaurant – all in one trip.

It’s one of Iowa’s best scenic overlooks – and it’s right next to Iowa’s oldest restaurant. Hmm, sounds like a road trip!

Scenic overlooks at Balltown

There are technically two different overlooks that are about a half mile apart. Neither overlook has bathroom facilities or water available.

Overlook in Balltown along Ridge Road.

Address: 600 Balltown Rd, Sherrill, IA 52073 [Exact Google Maps location]

The original scenic overlook is just a few hundred feet from Breitbach’s Country Dining. From this vantage point on a clear day, you can easily see across the Mississippi River into the farmland in Wisconsin.

Scenic overlook west of Balltown.

A half mile west of the prior overlook, you’ll find a pull-off area that contains one covered picnic table that

My guess is that this is the most photographed farm in the state of Iowa. It’s viewable from the scenic overlook that is just west of Balltown, Iowa.

An aerial view of the scenic overlook that is west of Balltown, Iowa – showing where you can pull over to check out the view down to the Mississippi River.
Looking northwest from the scenic overlook showing layers of farms as the landscape drops down to the Mississippi River.
The scenic view overlook that’s a half mile from Balltown.

Breitbach’s Country Dining

Address: 563 Balltown Rd, Sherrill, IA 52073

Website (to confirm hours):

What is Breitbach’s Country Dining known for?

  1. The longest-running food and drink establishment in the state of Iowa.
    Breitbach’s opened in 1852 with a federal permit issued by President Fillmore and stands as the longest-running food and drink establishment in the state of Iowa. The Breitbach family didn’t purchase the business until 1862 and it’s been in their family’s hands ever since.
  2. It’s said that this is the only restaurant that has served both Jesse James and Brooke Shields.
    How can that be? Well, you must be open for as long as Breitbach’s for that to happen. The story is told that the James boys came to Balltown and dined here in 1876. Apparently, they left a blank and they had a photo taken with their great-great-grandfather. My understanding is that photo was lost during the fire back several years ago. As for Brooke Shields, she was doing a photo shoot in Iowa and heard about Breitbachs and drove over for a meal – and she then sent some autographed photos to add to their display.
  3. It’s all about the buffet
    And, of course, you would expect that they are known for great food. Their buffet is usually what comes to mind with traditional fare like fried chicken and pork chops. Also extremely popular are the German buffet nights which are typically Thursdays.
  4. Pies and spaghetti soup.
    You can’t leave Breitbach’s without homemade pies. Their homemade soups are also top-notch – especially spaghetti soup.


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