SUTLIFF— Baxa’s Sutliff Store and Tavern in rural Johnson County, Iowa is a place to hang out after outdoor activities. It is tucked away in the sparsely traveled recesses of the Cedar River Valley, next to a restored Parker truss bridge that is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is accessible by automobile, although a main attraction is as a stopoff on a snowmobile, motorcycle, bicycle or hiking trip around the area. The tavern is frequented by hunters, and trophies and pelts are mounted on the walls. “There really is no town called Sutliff anymore but there still is a great small town bar. When you come inside the bar you will find a ceiling that has ‘who knows’ how many dollar bills with names and messages written on them,” according to a restaurant brochure/menu.
Baxa’s Tavern is part of a destination attraction that includes the historic bridge and miles of rural, less traveled roads. The food is typical bar food, or “pub grub” as some locals affectionately call it. There is a full page of appetizers on the menu, including familiar items like chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and French fries. There are also local specialties of gizzards, fried green beans, fried pickles and corn nuggets— breaded and deep fried just about anything. Prices for appetizers range from $2.25 for fried potatoes to $5 for 12 chicken wings.
There is a selection of sandwiches, featuring the signature Baxa Burger or the Sutliff Philly Steak. Prices ranged from $2.25 for grilled cheese up to $5.50 for the Baxa Burger. “Everything includes ketchup, mustard, pickle and onion,” according to the menu, reflective of the basic bar food fare. There is a limited selection of salads, including potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, cottage cheese and a lettuce salad. I asked some patrons for their review, and every comment about the food was positive.
Beverages include bottled and canned domestic beer and soda, along with a couple of wine selections. Beverages were served in their bottle or can, providing the ambiance of hanging out at a friend or neighbor’s house during the 1960s.
For a while, time can stand still at Baxa’s Sutliff Store and Tavern. While the food and beverages are industrial food service specials, the venue is very popular and worth a try if you are in the area seeking traditional pub grub. Here is some basic info.
Baxa’s Sutliff Store and Tavern
5546 130th Street NE
Lisbon, Iowa 52243
Bar hours (Closed Monday)
Sunday 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. until ?
Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.