Dottie’s Landmark: a ‘friends and family’ bar and grill7/17/2013
OK, picture this. You’re playing sand volleyball, tanning by the water, fishing, boating, “bro-ing” out — whatever it is you do at Saylorville or Big Creek. You’ve spent all afternoon in sunny bliss, but now the beer has run out, the fish aren’t biting and your sunscreen is beginning to wear off. You and your crew trudge back to the car to head home — but, not so fast. You have one more stop you really need to make.
Get on the road, drive to the Polk City square and walk through the welcoming door of Dottie’s Landmark Bar and Grill. Tim and Dottie Tracy have owned the place for the past four years and have since added their own personal touches.
“She calls it ‘Tiki,’ ” said Tim, laughing at his own lack of decorating knowledge. But it’s a fitting adjective to describe the place.
A small palm tree sits tucked away in the corner, parrot décor clings to the walls and a faux palm grass canopy hangs above the hard liquor selection. Taking it all in, you can almost hear a barefooted Jimmy Buffett strumming his six string on a creaking front porch swing.
But it’s not only the atmosphere of the bar that makes it a great venue to visit; it’s the food and hospitality, too. On Wednesdays, Tim cooks up cavatelli with homemade Italian meat sauce. Fridays he dishes out a variety of specials, from Iowa chops to ribeye steak.
“We usually sell the hell out of that stuff,” he said.
But if you’re more of a burger person, they have those, too. And because Miss Dottie refuses to buy commercial, frozen meat, you’ll be served fresh, juicy Angus beef bought at local meat counters.
“If it’s frozen, it has no flavor,” she described.
Like any small town bar, though, the real magic is the people. Many first-timers come in on bicycles, motorcycles and snowmobiles.
“We have a variety of people and tourists,” Dottie explained.
Tim added that the old joint also has a great group of locals who support the Landmark year round. In the back corner dining area, a large bulletin board filled with dozens of pictures of patrons drinking, laughing and having a good old time, support Tim’s claim.
“I call it the wall of shame,” Tim grinned.
The husband and wife duo describe the Landmark as a “friends and family” bar and grill.
“We don’t let it get rowdy in here,” Tim warned.
It’s the type of place you can roll into — still covered in lake weeds and water — put your elbows up on the cushioned bar and relax. Dottie and Tim will fix you up with some grub and a stiff drink — unless it’s the last 10 laps of a Nascar race. Then you might have to wait. CV
Dottie’s Landmark Bar and Grill Address: 217 W. Broadway St., Polk City Phone: (515) 984-9388 Hours: Tues-Fri. open at 3 p.m., Sat. and Sun. open at noon, Mon. closed Entertainment: n/a besides flatscreens and touchtunes Happy Hour: n/a; daily specials Capacity: 75