Try these four rarebit burgers

Try these four rarebit burgers

The word “rarebit” rings legendary for Iowans in search of a cheese-soaked dinner. What started as a Welsh dish of melty cheddar, paprika, cayenne, and other spices was adapted as a sandwich sauce by downtown’s Younkers Tea Room. The Tea Room has closed up shop, but if you’re looking to recreate the magic, here are four local variations of the oh-so-tempting rarebit.

1. If a super-cheesy rarebit is more your speed, look no further than Johnny’s Hall of Fame. Their take is pretty routine—bun, patty, and gooey cheese—with one twist: they leave the top bun on. The result is a cheddar-drenched burger with enough leftover for french fry dipping. Plus, you can add chili for a buck, so you’ll definitely need your fork to finish off the plate. Price: $7.95 Find it: 302 Court Ave., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily; 515-280-6679,

2. Football season is well underway, and The Longest Yard is Valley Junction’s favorite place to let loose and catch the game. Their rendition of the rarebit is a little different, as it’s served up on thick-cut toast that soaks up white cheddar sauce as it rolls off the burger. It’s one tasty way to celebrate a touchdown. Price: $8.49 Find it: 122 5th St., West Des Moines, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily, 515-274-1710,

3. Wellman’s Pub and Patio Wellman’s is one of the coziest places in town to grab a beer with friends. And if hunger hits while you’re shooting the breeze, they have a mouthwatering menu of upgraded bar foods. The pub has a traditional view of the rarebit: bottom bun only, a beef patty, and cayenne-spiked cheddar as the oozing topper. Sometimes basic really is better. Price: $8.99 Find it: 2920 Ingersoll Ave., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 515-280-6679,

4. This old-school diner is a Drake-neighborhood staple (case in point: it’s packed with starving college kids during the university’s parents weekend). And on the menu with their slew of breakfast options and the famous Maytag blue cheese burger is their delicious adaptation of the open-faced rarebit. This one shines by combining the best beef patty on the list with well-spiced sauce. Add onion rings and a milkshake for food-induced bliss. Price: $8.79 Find it: 1111 25th St., 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, 515-277-1111,

About the Author

Joe is a contributor to Juice Magazine.

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