The Prairie Canary (operated by a Des Moines chef who won a grant to start her dream restaurant) couldn’t find a better home in Iowa than Grinnell, a prairie town known as the home of Grinnell College, one of the nation’s most liberal schools. Dining in the airy renovated storefront that is home to the Canary is like a little taste of Portland, thanks to the organic menu choices, thinky conversations in the air and the sight of patrons with long beards sitting cross-legged in their chairs with their Birkenstocks tucked neatly below.
The dishware is hand-thrown. The hickory tables are handmade. Needless to say, the food is locally sourced. Open for lunch during the week and dinner most evenings, the Canary presents a delicious variety on its menu. On our lunch visit, we enjoyed the mango chicken wrap (chicken salad with mangos) and a Canary burger (topped with blue cheese, caramelized onions and bacon). The veggies stood out as fresh and colorful, reflecting the energetic sensibility delivered by the restaurant overall. The dinner menu includes twists like chicken breast stuffed with figs, goat cheese and sage and crepe filled with veggies and goat cheese.