Backwoods Serves Up Homestyle-Cooking and a Cozy Place to Sleep
Two weekends ago, I spent some time in the lovely river-town of McGregor, IA. I took a tour of the Mississippi River via Maiden Voyage Tours and got to see a whole other side of Iowa I had yet to experience. Following the tour, both my friend and I were hungry. Starving was more like it. We asked Maiden Voyage's own Captain Bob for a recommendation. And by the end of our meal, we were glad we did.
Captain Bob was quick to recommend Backwoods Bar & Grill, a rustic little joint in the heart of McGregor on 1st Street. Looking like a saloon straight out of the Old West, there are three levels to Backwoods Bar & Grill.
For starters, you have the actual dining room, complete with a bar and a small section of video games. Then you have the event center, which can be rented out for parties and large gatherings. Finally, you have the Bed and Bath upstairs, where you can book a stay in one of their country cottage-style rooms.
The front of Backwoods mirrors that of an old saloon. A big star above the front door makes it look like a sheriff's building straight out of Unforgiven. Its long porch gives way to extra seating. Had we gotten there earlier, my friend and I might've opted for porch-seating on what was a gorgeous late-July evening.
Even if you didn't know it until you walked in, Backwoods Bar & Grill screams barbeque from its aesthetics alone. Its floor is brown wood, which match the tables and chairs. The tablecloths are checkered like picnic tables, and ketchup-bottles of various hickory smoked BBQ sauces line every table. You couldn't script a better BBQ place on looks alone.
Beyond admiring the scenery, there's plenty to do while you wait for your food. You could have a drink at the bar, take in a view from the porch, or try your luck on some gaming machines that sit near the entrance.
I know I've mentioned before that cheese curds are my go-to appetizer for any new restaurant I try. The cheese curds at Backwoods are different than even I, someone who has eaten my body weight in cheese curds twice over, noticed. The curds tasted eerily similar to Goldfish Crackers.
The flavor matched that distinct baked cheddar taste I can only equate to Goldfish (despite the curds obviously being fried). Good stuff. Completely unexpected (and delicious with a small drizzle of barbeque sauce).
Let's talk about the menu. Backwoods offers burgers and wraps, as well as several smokehouse/BBQ favorites. My friend opted for the Philly Brisket, a messy yet delicious amalgam of a brisket sandwich and Philly Cheesesteak. The Philly Brisket is piled high with smoked, thin-sliced brisket, caramelized onions, peppers, mushrooms, swiss cheese, and (terrific) bourbon sauce.
Other BBQ favorites include the smoked pulled pork and half and full racks of ribs. There's also a barrage of seafood available, including a three-piece cod meal, shrimp, scallops, and more.
Following a blissful cruise on the Mississippi, Backwoods was the perfect place to stop for a meal. The entire town of McGregor, and neighboring community of Marquette, has a lot to offer. McGregor mirrors Galena in both a historical and commercial sense, and the river views make it appear about as homey as the Tri-State area itself.
Backwoods Bar & Grill is located at 111 1st Street in McGregor, IA.