Historic Eastern Iowa Cafe is Only Open Once a Week for 2.5 Hours
At the junction of Highway 218 and Highway 30 in Benton County is a small building with a BIG history. Thanks to a recent article from Iowa Farmer Today, we've learned all about a historic place called The Youngville Café (formerly known as the Youngville Station) in Watkins.
According to Wikipedia, the Youngville Cafe was built in 1931 by a man named Joe Young. He constructed the building on his land for his widowed daughter Lizzie Wheeler as a way for her to support herself and her children. Only the cafe remains today, but the one-stop business also used to include a Skelly gas station and three cabins for travelers to rent. The antique gas pumps are still on display in front of the cafe.
The State Historical Society of Iowa website says that the Youngville Cafe was known for it's "family-friendly atmosphere with fried chicken, homemade pie, live piano music, groceries, and even a few slot machines." It closed down in 1967 when it could no longer support all the travelers coming through the area, and was then used as a private residence until it was abandoned in the 80s. The cafe was eventually reopened in 1994 after a state grant allowed it to be renovated. Damage from the derecho caused the cafe to close again in 2020, but it was repaired and reopened in 2022. Youngville Cafe was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Iowa Farmer Today reports that Youngville Cafe is currently run by volunteers and is only open one day a week. The cafe serves burgers, soup, sandwiches, and grilled tenderloins, but cafe manager Jim Hanke says that they are famous for their pies. If you want to stop by the historical business, it's only open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Have you ever visited Youngville Cafe? Tell us about your experience in the comments or by sending us a message on the app!