Best of 2001: Best Place To Find An Iowa Porker

The Valley House
10767 Woodside Avenue, Santee
619-562-7878

"Back in Iowa they call it 'pork tenderloin,' " explains Dave Hayes, Valley House's owner. "I called it the 'Iowa Porker,' because nobody here knew what 'Pork Tenderloin' was." The thing he calls his Iowa Porker is breaded pork tenderloin with mayonnaise, lettuce, and onion, with soup, steak fries, or potato salad -- basically a big generous chunk of pork sticking out of a sesame bun. "It's my biggest seller now," Hayes says. He buys all his pork from Iowa, "where the hogs are fed on corn." He has to be fussy because "Santee's full of Midwesterners," he says. Tuesdays, Dave also serves up "Maid Rites," another Iowa native concoction he has renamed his "Iowa Beefer." It's seasoned, loose-ground beef simmered in chicken broth and piled in a burger bun. "That really brings tears to the eyes of a native Iowan," he says. "Everyone says I should turn it into a fast-food franchise," he says. "Replace hamburgers!"

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