Oskaloosa’s competition-winning restaurant On the Green is worth a stop if you happen to be in the area at mealtime. We stopped through on a Monday evening and found an excellent dinner in a comfortable, casual place humming with a friendly, neighborly vibe.
Chef Pam Oldes won Iowa’s 2nd Annual Best Bite Challenge in 2013 with her proposal for the restaurant sought by the city of Oskaloosa. Winning the contest over other entrants garnered an existing space, start-up costs and myriad other financial windfalls to help establish a classy, inventive eatery in this classic southern Iowa town. On the Green is housed in the club building of the Oskaloosa Golf and Country Club at 2214 S 11th Street, Oskaloosa. As the name implies, the restaurant overlooks the greens of the golf course, with a sports bar/booth and high-top table area on one side, and a more traditional dining area away from the numerous televisions on the other side of the building. There were enough screens in the dining area to satisfy the most demanding sports fan.
Our dinner was tasty and well-constructed, at a reasonable cost. We shared a tray of the signature Risotto Tots, which are creamy balls of risotto, breaded and deep fried, and served with marinara sauce. We ordered the Grandma B’s Lasagna ($14), hearty and darkly rich with thick — not too sweet — tomato sauce and Pecan Crusted Salmon with seasonal veggies and steamed rice ($17). The salmon was cooked properly, though I thought it could have used some sort of additional flavoring or sauce. We both enjoyed our meals, the service was excellent, and the ambiance was pleasant. We skipped dessert as we still had to drive back to Des Moines and were already full. I was sorely tempted by the Beeramisu, a spin on traditional tiramisu made with Bent River Stout. Alas, another visit is in order to test out that and the other things on the menu—pizzas, pastas, interesting sandwiches, some clever sounding salads and a solid variety of traditional and inventive entrée selections.
The bar looked to be fairly well-stocked and served Iowa craft beers along with cocktails and a small wine selection. Intriguing martinis (Caramel Apple, Lemon Crème Pie, Pineapple Upside Down Cake) are $4 on Wednesdays, and there is no corkage fee on Thursdays.
It makes me happy to have a great option for lunch or dinner when we are out and about in southern Iowa, and doubly happy that the residents of Oskaloosa have such a delicious and welcoming place to eat. From the look of things, most people were local and loving it.