BALLTOWN, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Dubuque County is home to the oldest restaurant and bar in the entire state. Now they're getting state recognition for being a can't-miss place to eat.
Travel Iowa, the official tourism website for the state, has put out a list of 99 restaurants. One for each county, as one of those places you have to go.
You'd have to go back ten years before the Civil War to find a time when Breitbach's Country Dining did not exist in Balltown.
Over 150 years later, co-owners Cindy and Mike Breitbach said they strive to create a family atmosphere to give people a reason to come back. A family atmosphere that has carried over through seven generations of Breitbach.
Though it was not always easy.
Between December 2007 and October 2008, the restaurant was destroyed by fire not once -- but twice.
But the Breitbach family says this is not just a restaurant, it is a destination that puts Balltown on the map.
They believe they are being recognized now, because of the way the business is run. They explained they have continued to work at creating a place where everyone is accepted as they are.
"I'd have to say that my husband makes this place special because he wants it to work,” Cindy said. “The pride that he has in what we do."
"It's like coming home,” Mike said, describing the atmosphere in the restaurant. “We appreciate everybody that walks in this door as a customer, no matter who, what, where from, and we make it feel like home and you feel like coming back because it is like home."
Both Cindy and Mike Breitbach were shocked to learn they were selected as the choice in Dubuque County, but it helped them solidify what they already knew.
“It’s awesome,” Cindy said. “Because to get to the state level you have to take care of everybody on our level first. And that just makes me smile because that's what we strive to do. Just try to be the best that we can be and obviously somebody noticed and thought so, so that's great.”
If you want to take a look at the full list of restaurant choices made by Travel Iowa, click here.