It has been an exciting seven months for Michael Glesener and Matthew Gunn, owners of the Wood Iron Grille in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Last fall, they opened their new restaurant with the goal of making it into the Top 10 in Iowa’s Best Burger Contest. This spring, they did that and more, not only reaching the Top 10, but ultimately winning the competition.

Inspired to enter the competition by a past winner, the Wood Iron Grille staff has been working hard to make their restaurant great since opening. After studying pastry arts in Chicago, Glesener, the head chef, temporarily worked in banking while his business partner, Gunn, worked in various restaurant roles along with turf and greenhouse management. Luckily, they joined forces to make the Wood Iron Grille what it is now. 

Glesener and Gunn take pride in the panoramic views of emerald fairways and rolling greenery along the Oskaloosa Public Golf Course that visitors get to enjoy while eating their food. Aspiring to “raise the bar” for hospitality in Oskaloosa, they have been working to provide an extraordinary place for their community members to eat, instead of traveling to Des Moines for dinner. With their exceptional menu and impeccable service, they are certainly reaching their goals.

The menu contains three exemplary versions of the 6 oz, hand-pattied burger. The Wood Iron Original Burger features applewood smoked bacon, a sweet and tangy onion jalapeno jam and smoked cheddar cheese. The Cajun Black and Blue Burger is topped with applewood smoked blue cheese and Cajun seasoning. The ‘Merica Burger is a classic with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. All the burgers consist of a mixture of ground chuck and beef short ribs. 

The Wood Iron Grille also features beef in the form of Poutine, a combination of slow-braised beef, served over fries, with local Frisian Farms Gouda Cheese Curds; a classic 12-oz ribeye, which is hand cut by the chef and sourced from Upper Iowa Beef and a Philly Beef flatbread. 

This is the 10th year for the annual Best Burger contest sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, through the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Program, and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The Wood Iron Grille joins a great group of past best burger winners from around the state. Along with last year’s winner, Café Beaudelaire of Ames, previous winners include: 2017- The Smokin’ Hereford BBQ of Storm Lake; 2016 - The Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair; 2015 - The Cider House of Fairfield; 2014 - Brick City Grill in Ames; 2013 - 61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis; 2012 - Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids; 2011 - Rusty Duck in Dexter; and 2010 - Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City.

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