Thursday, September 4, 2014

Niland's Cafe and Reed's Gas Station

In the little town of Colo, Iowa at the intersection of the Lincoln and Jefferson Highways, is the Reed/Niland Corner.  Here stands Niland's Cafe, originally opened in 1923, and the Colo Motel--both open for business--and Reed's Gas Station, not in operation.
On our way to deliver the concrete pads for propane tanks to a co-op, we stopped here to take a look and eat lunch.  The price of gas at the restored station was 13.8 cents plus 4 cents tax for a total of 17.8 cents per gallon!  Too bad it isn't open; if we had a time machine we could certainly put it to good use!
Above: Reed's Gas Station, Niland's Cafe, and the Colo Motel.
Inside, Niland's Cafe, which was restored by the city and is rented to a private operator, had a definitely 50's style look; even the waitress attempted to dress in a retro style.  We sat down in a booth and were soon given our menus.
I ordered a breaded chicken sandwich ($4.75), water, and later a milkshake, Papa ordered a hamburger without cheese  ($3.75) with fries and a drink, and my sister ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and a drink.  Our total bill came to $21.28.  
While we waited we looked at the historical information displayed on the walls about the surrounding area.  Papa noticed the photo above taken between 1902 and 1906.  I have a feeling it's one of the earliest instances of photoshopping... What do you think?

Service was definitely not as fast as Culver's, but the waitress came with our meals just about 1 second before I was going to say, "This restaurant is not going to get a very high mark on speedy service!"  She barely made it...close one!
 My sister rated the grilled cheese sandwich as just ok.  My breaded chicken sandwich, however, was superbly tasty; from the breading to the tomatoes to the buns and the meat it was completely better than McChickens.  Niland's is just a step behind Chic-Fil-A, but Chic-Fil-A makes the most perfectly tender and juicy chicken sandwich, so it's hard to beat.
Papa's hamburger was also ok, but not impressive.  What Niland's really needs to improve though are the fries which are way too healthy.  Usually I won't complain about healthy food, but when it comes to French Fries, if they don't have any grease and hardly any salt they completely lose their value and taste.  It's good to eat wholesome foods, but saltless and greaseless French Fries don't do justice to the name of fries.
Now are you ready for what was really good?  A strawberry milkshake topped with a Maraschino cherry and two slices of strawberries!  It had just the perfect coolness and taste and was a smooth delight to the tongue! 
This vintage half-of-a-car was in the second dining room.  Niland's is a great place to go for a taste of history, a chicken sandwich, and a strawberry milkshake.
Burger: 3 stars
Chicken Sandwich: 4 stars
Fries: 2 stars
Ice Cream: 4 stars
Cleanliness: 4.5 stars
Service:  3.5 stars
Affordability: 4 stars
Historical Value: 5 stars

51 comments:

  1. Hi Bethany!! Niland's Cafe looks like an awesome place. That milkshake looks epic :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Ah, yes...it was wonderful--I'm starting to get hungry for another ;)

      Delete
  2. awesome place. i love anything retro. The half car in the wall is sweet. The time machine for gas is a pleasant idea too. Wonderful looking town. Maybe I could move there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Small town Iowa is indeed a pleasant place to live in the summer, spring, and fall. Would be nice if we could think of a way to make a time machine for gas a reality!

      Delete
  3. Looks like a fun place to visit and enjoy and that milkshake....yes, please!!

    Thanks for sharing with us, dear Bethany. Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You too, Stephanie--wish I could send a milkshake your way...we need to enjoy them all we can before cold weather kicks in!

      Delete
  4. What an adorable little diner! Thanks for sharing photos of the inside. I agree with you, I am all about healthy food but fries need a little grease and salt to be any good at all!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bethany, at your place the gas is extremely cheap in Europe comparing to US prices of gas are so high. Prices of fast food is completely the same but we don't eat dinners in American style.Of we eat fast food which are fashionable and cheap but not so often. What about photo you are right. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow...I just looked at Warsaw gas prices--translated into dollars and gallons if my math is right, it looks like $6.88 a gallon. That is incredible: about twice what we pay! I would say you should move here to avoid Poland's gas prices, but then I wouldn't get to read interesting posts about Poland ;)

      Delete
    2. Maybe, one day I visit you but you are lucky because Europe is much more expensive than your country.

      Delete
    3. That would be awesome! Yes, I think I'm pretty blessed :)

      Delete
  6. This is interesting place. Have a nice weekend. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have a great weekend as well! Thanks Monika!

      Delete
  7. I LOVE historic buildings! And that price per gallon? One can only wish for such prices again. Here, we currently have the honor of having the most expensive gas prices in the USA (excepting Alaska and Hawaii) per the news :)
    Blessings,
    Aimee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! That's an honor none of us want our states to have!
      God bless you too Aimee!

      Delete
  8. what a cool place, i think you are a lover of milkshakes ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very cool! :) Have a wonderful weekend!

    xoxo,
    Soph

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! That looks like such a fun place to visit! That milkshake photo has given me a huge craving for one...chocolate though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Looks like a fun diner to visit. and I agree, if you're going to eat fries, they can't be "healthy!"

    ReplyDelete
  12. 18 cents?! Wouldn't that be nice.... I bet our ancestors would completely freak out if they knew how much gas was these days! I love old places like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! They sure would be surprised about the gas prices and *so* many other things! The world has really changed a lot in the past century!

      Delete
  13. Wow! That's a great looking place. It brings back memories for me :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I appreciate your view of french fries, Bethany :) and it was fun to see the cafe and the gas prices!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, these look like fun, historical places! :D I would want to visit for the retro value, but it's too bad the restaurant food and service were...lacking. I agree with you on fries. If you're going to eat junk food, it may as well be junk food.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I loved reading about your time at such a neat place and seeing your photos. What a treasure of a place. I think the reason I love getting to be on the road is predominantly to stop in at good, old diners and historical sights like this, such nostalgic reminders of the picture perfect America of the "good old days" :) The fifties style of the cafe is so fun and inviting. Sounds and looks like such a fun place to stop in. And I especially love your first photo with those classic gas pumps. Seeing them reminds me of something out of an Edward Hopper painting.

    Have a blessed day, Bethany!
    ~Jazzmin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jazzmin! It is sweet how there are still so many old places around where we can find reminders of the old days! The day we were there there were posters about an antique car ride which was going to stop at the cafe in the evening--wish we could have stayed. It would have been neat to see, but duties called us away :)

      Delete
  17. What a lovely place!!! I would also want to visit such places :)

    God bless you, darling!!! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God bless you also Liuba! Wish you could have been there :)

      Delete
  18. Oh, you mean that's the price of the gas when it was open?! You got me! I was about to drive there! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! I do wish...hmmm...that might be a good trick to get all my blogging friends to come to Iowa and visit ;)

      Delete
  19. oh my goodness, what an awesome place! i declare, you find some of the coolest diners and stuff. i just love atmospheres like that. all the vintage stuff, quirky things like halfs of cars inside, neat gas pumps, history and good old american food is hard to beat. thanks for sharing!
    -Abigail

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Abigail! It was a very neat place to visit--wish you could have been there and enjoyed lunch with us!

      Delete
  20. You've got me wishing for a milkshake like that! It looks so perfectly retro too. I also hear so much about Chic-Fil-A these days, but when I was in the USA two years ago I didn't spot one. I will have to check them out if I ever do return! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should--I've never tasted chicken sandwiches better than those at Chic-Fil-A; though I've never been to Belgium either...I wonder what would be the best place for chicken sandwiches there--maybe you could let us in on that one of these days ;) Always enjoy reading your blog!

      Delete
  21. That looks like a charming little town. I had never heard of it, but see it is not far from Ames, where I went to graduate school!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome that you went to school in Ames...yes, we drove right by there on our way back from making our delivery.

      Delete
  22. What a charming place to visit, Bethany! I like the vintage look of the gas pumps. The food looked very filling and good. I have not had a milkshake in many years

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat! Ah... you have been missing out! ;)

      Delete
  23. Loved this post! Looks like a great area to stop and have a bite. I agree with you, if you're gonna serve fries, they need to be glistening with grease and salt! haha The milkshake looks divine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good way to put it--at least fries should have some grease and salt! :) Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks so much for visiting!

      Delete