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Canteen Lunch In The Alley

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Canteen Lunch In The Alley
Directions
112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA
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112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA
(641) 682-5320
Today
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Mon - Wed 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thu - Sat 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 57 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 43
    Excellent
  • 9
    Very good
  • 3
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 1
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4.5 of 5 stars
Most recent review
Another Ottumwa Tradition

This is a lunch counter under a parking garage. The specialty is the "loose meat" sandwich. (sliced beef long simmered on a bun). The food is filling and most of Ottumwa passes through at some point. If you never met a stranger, the lunch counter is a good place to strike up a conversation.

4 of 5 starsReviewed December 23, 2014
D J
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57 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2014 NEW

This is a lunch counter under a parking garage. The specialty is the "loose meat" sandwich. (sliced beef long simmered on a bun). The food is filling and most of Ottumwa passes through at some point. If you never met a stranger, the lunch counter is a good place to strike up a conversation.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Urbandale, Iowa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2014

A part of Ottumwa history you have to visit! The food was a basic loose meat sandwich but it was very tasty and the pie was wonderful!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Waterloo, Iowa
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

This place is famous in town and with the locals. Their sandwiches are great and I stop by almost every time that I am in town. It can be difficult to find if you don't know what you are looking for, but most locals will help you find the way!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Des Moines, Iowa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

Canteen Lunch in the Alley- perfect name! Great loose meat sandwiches, better than Maid-Rite! Friends told us we had to go here when they heard we were passing through town, and I am so glad we did. An adorable place, friendly staff, who told us the history of the place and gave us tips on other things to do in... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Port Orange, Florida
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

My introduction to the Canteen was as a youngster and now I am 63. The Canteen is one of my adored places in Ottumwa. Any time I am near I make it a point to down one of those delicious maid rite style "hambergers". My mother was born and raised in Ottumwa but moved to New Jersey where I was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Iowa
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

We had read about this place and finally made it there. We had a terrific meal and were not disappointed in the slightest. The ladies tending the shop were friendly and entertaining as they prepared our sandwiches right in front of us. They also filled us in on the history of the place and answered our questions. The sandwiches were... More 

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Konya, Turkey
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

I'm a native Ottumwan, and this place, down to the portraits of FDR and JFK, hasn't changed much since it was founded in 1936. There is something about the older women bustling around in a tiny space producing cheeseburgers, Canteens, and malts that is, for me, pure nostalgia. Brings back my paper route days when, on Saturday mornings, I'd spend... More 

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Kansas City, Missouri
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

This place has been here for 78 years for a reason! Best loose meat hamburgers ever! Nothing like Maid-Rite. Staff is super efficient and friendly. We had a canteen with cheese and butterscotch milkshakes. Delicious!!! I have been going here for 30 years with my dad who has been going since he was a kid. Always tastes the same!! They... More 

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New Port Richey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

It brought back memories of my youth, when my grandfather would take me to the diner on the corner and buy me ice cream or a malt. The history and reputation of the Canteen Lunch drew me to Ottumwa, as a side trip on my cross-country drive from my home in Florida. I ate a "canteen" with a chocolate malt,... More 

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Ottumwa, Iowa
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

The canteen... what a classic! I was very impressed with the efficiency of the workers, and I loved the food! Totally awesome!

Was this review helpful? Yes

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA
  • Location: United States  >  Iowa (IA)  >  Ottumwa
  • Phone Number: (641) 682-5320
Open Hours
Monday
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tuesday
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday
10:00 am - 8:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Canteen Lunch In The Alley staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?