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Canteen Lunch In The Alley

Certificate of Excellence
American, Diner
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112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA 52501-2925
(641) 682-5320
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Closed now
All hours
Mon - Wed 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thu - Sat 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
More Info
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111 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
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Time of year
Showing 110: English reviews
Ottumwa, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

The old home town place that every body has to go when back in town or visit regularly. It's simple good and hasn't changed since 1936.

Thank William A
Norfork, Arkansas
Level Contributor
45 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

I ate at the Canteen for the first time when I was about 5 years old when my family went to visit my great grandparents in Ottumwa. I am now nearly 35 years old and the Executive Chef of a fine dining restaurant. I loved their food then and I still love it today. I practically live off of their... More 

Thank Brendan M
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Stopped in for a Canteen Sandwich. Well it was very good, but the story of the Canteens beginnings and the history of the little cafe are priceless. The pies are very good too. Step back in time and give it a visit, you'll be glad you did.

Thank Norb G
Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
661 reviews
258 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Heard about this and read about this place so we figured we had to stop in while in town for RAGBRAI. Love the story of the parking garage being built around the Canteen because of local support---really endearing that a community will come together for a favorite place. Been here about 70 years and serves the iconic loose-meat sandwhich--which is... More 

Thank MaryKop
Lone Pine, California
Level Contributor
37 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The "loose meat" sandwich (like a Made Rite) was delicious. Got it with everything. Peace of pecan pie topped off the meal. Diner-like atmosphere, fast and not expensive.

Thank Linda H
Level Contributor
41 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I went to St Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing (1966) and the Canteen was a staple for all of us students. Whenever I return to Ottumwa this is a MUST visit for a sandwich, malted milk and pie.

Thank Grace M
newton, iowa
Level Contributor
61 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

FUn little hole in the wall restaurant,, worth your time to the "alley".. service was quick..food was excellent..

Thank hurleyhermie
Runnells, United States
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2016

Let me begin by saying that I love Maidrites. Had good ones and bad ones and Canteens are good and made the old fashion way. The ingredients on soft buns were generous and tasty, but from all of the over the top write ups in the Des Moines Register and the high ratings here on Yelp, I was expecting something... More 

Thank Joyce C
Polson, Montana
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2016 via mobile

Traveling to see family in Iowa we knew we wanted a loose meat sandwich. Trip Advisor led us to this hole in the wall joint. It was great. A small counter with seating for a dozen or so. Some gruff yet friendly older ladies cooking and taking orders. Tell them what you want on your sandwich and twenty seconds later... More 

Thank notthefaketzb
Level Contributor
44 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2016 via mobile

This is my kids' favorite thing to do with grandpa! They beg him to take them! Great memories!! And great food! Save room for the pie!

Thank Amy H

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
American, Diner
Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Takeout, Parking Available
Good for
Dining on a budget, Families with children
Open Hours
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA 52501-2925
  • Location: United States  >  Iowa (IA)  >  Ottumwa
  • Phone Number: (641) 682-5320

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?