Week 18: Pullman's Bar and Diner

With July fourth just around the corner, we have decided to start this week with a bang! Putting a focus on the 50 states of Biscuits and 50 states of America, this week’s biscuit hails from Iowa in a new take on an old classic, the American diner.

Pullman’s Bar and Diner of Iowa City, Iowa has mastered a menu that is as equal parts familiar as it is unexpected. A traditional diner with untraditional twists? That’s one of our favorite ingredients in a biscuit made from scratch. So, of course, we were really excited to get our hands on Iowa’s biscuits and to see where exactly we would be enjoying them.

We’ve made jokes about gravy trains before, but how about a restaurant that looks like one? With arched ceilings and long, narrow space, and a straight shot to the back, customers can feel the subtle references to a dining car of a train. You guessed, that’s how the name Pullman’s came about as well, as in the original old fashioned dining railcar manufacturers.

That’s not the only thing old-timey about Pullman’s. As soon as you walk in the front door you are greeted with an atmosphere evoking an old American diner: red vinyl booths, a long bar stretching front to back, and vintage lighting. Not to mention the interactive experience, the exposed kitchen so diners can watch their food being prepared, and maybe inspire them to order something else off the menu.

The whole restaurant is a series of moving parts, celebrating the industrial craftsmanship America was built on, it’s like a machine itself. However, don’t be fooled by the comparison of a well-oiled machine. This is not fast food.

In fact, it’s slow food. That is, food that is prepared traditionally, with local culinary expertise and local ingredients. Pullman’s prides itself with its commitment to local food and agriculture tradition. Everything is made as in-house as possible, involving many hands and several farmers.

This means that your biscuit comes with a great accessory, a local honey pot. And what else comes with their biscuit? Fluffy.

Co-owner Corey Kent was kind enough to divulge some tasty tidbits when it comes to their biscuits. “We make a southern-style, buttermilk drop biscuit. It has more of a fluffy bread-like interior as opposed to a traditional flaky biscuit made with laminated dough.” And they create and maintain this wonderful biscuit flakey-ness by “keeping the ingredients cold up until baking them. That's what creates the fluffy, light texture that we are so fond of with these biscuits.”

So, now that you are armed with the traditional safety blanket that is a fluffy biscuit, you can take a step out of your comfort zone and order the exciting things. As strange as they sound it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to eat unexpected food made by exceptionally talented people. So get acquainted and expect the culinary gems like the roasted bone marrow, corned beef hash, and croque madame. 

If we have you worried that you’re not going to make it to Iowa soon enough to try these daring dinners, then we have something that may help. Though it is not served on their biscuits at Pullman’s, its title makes it sound like it could be.When you love biscuits as much as we do, you begin to love a lot of other things based on their association with biscuits, like---- jelly, jam, honey, fried chicken, bacon. So why not bacon jam? And why not the recipe to it?


Pullman’s Bacon Jam

· 1 lb slab bacon, small dice

· 4 red onions, small dice

· 1/2 oz garlic, minced

· 4 cups red wine vinegar

· 4 cups brown sugar

· Pinch of cayenne pepper

Render bacon until crispy and pour out half of the excess bacon fat. Add red onion and cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook until vinegar is reduced and the liquid is syrupy. Once cooled, the texture should be reminiscent of a chunky jam.

Try that bacon jam on their bone marrow, or get on the traditional side of the menu with some amazing fried chicken accompanied by some greens, and, like your surprised, a biscuit!

Pullman’s Bar and Diner, where the 50-60’s age diner and old school stereo system meets new age with an inventive menu and new customers. Pullman’s Bar and Diner, your next dinner destination, you wont regret it. They have plenty of biscuits waiting for you!