We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Great decor, good food”
Review of Niland's Cafe

Niland's Cafe
Ranked #1 of 3 Restaurants in Colo
Price range: $0 - $15
Cuisines: American, Diner
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Takeout
Description: Niland's Cafe is a unique setting in a historic "One Stop" - gas, food and lodging. Cafe serves home-cooked meals, ice cream treats, homemade pie and desserts. Known for reubens, hot beef sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, and friendly staff. Eat in or carry out. Seasonal fish fry during Lent, Farmer's market on site summer (Thursdays 5-7pm) with live entertainment, free lemonade and Reed's station open for tours.
Reviewed August 27, 2018

I love this whole restored historic area at the intersection of highways 65 and old 30 (the Lincoln Highway). In addition to the restaurant, there is an old gas station (non-functioning) and a small motel done in the old style which has a few rooms for rent. The restaurant itself has interesting displays regarding highway history and is decorated like a 40's-50's style diner. It even has the front end of an old car protruding into the dining area. The food itself is average to good, and the service we received was OK. They appeared to be a little short-handed the Saturday night we were there, but we were not in a big hurry and didn't expect lightening fast service. Our hot beef sandwiches were hot and tasty, and the salads fresh. I have been there before and will go back again. To sum it up, it is a good but not great experience.

Date of visit: August 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Dee D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (41)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

5 - 9 of 41 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2018 via mobile

I really wanted to like this place. We tried it twice for Sunday brunch and the atmosphere is good, but the food was cold on the buffet and not well replenished. They were using aluminum pans which kept the buffet burners from keeping the food properly warmed. I have no idea if this is a health issue or not but it certainly didn't do much for the biscuits and gravy.

For the buffet price, the selection was poor. There were about 5 items to choose from, less than a hotel continental breakfast.

The second time we were in there, the wait staff was working hard (as in visibly sweating in the effort to keep up) but we still spent a lot of time waiting around without drinks. It was a buffet. Drinks were the only thing anyone needed.

Like I said, I tried hard to like it because it's heavy on charm, but in the end the food wasn't great and certainly not worth the bill. We won't be back and I do not recommend the experience.

Date of visit: July 2018
Thank dereksarahthomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2018 via mobile

Gotta be honest, the chocolate cake was amazing. Often have seen the billboards while commuting daily between Ames and Marshalltown and it was a good spot in the middle to meet up with a friend. Kids appreciated the ice cream that came with their meals. Good portion size of meals for a 6 and 4 year old. Maybe a little small for kids much older or with bigger appetites. It was fun to see a little bit of the local history while we waited for food. Adults had burgers and fries. Onion rings were reported as exceptional. Typical 50s style diner fare for the burgers and fries.

Date of visit: January 2018
Thank D9867CHjeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2017

Waited over 45 minutes in an almost empty restaurant for a burger and a hot beef. Burger bun was soggy, burger was room temperature and sloppy. Hot Beef was flavorless. The gravy was clearly made from a packet and lacked salt and pepper. The mashed potatoes had been microwaved. The "homemade" mac n cheese was laughably terrible. Other customers came in after us and were served and done eating before we got our food. The waitress did not acknowledge that we had to wait so long. We will not be going back.

Date of visit: September 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank cat3178
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nilandcafe, Manager at Niland's Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2017

We have read your review and wish that we could have the opportunity to have you give us another try. I would note that we do not heavily salt our food as many of our customers have noted that they appreciate that they can season additional if they wish (or not if dietary restrictions advise them otherwise).
I have reminded our serving staff to stay on top of updating customers if there is any unforeseen delay in food arriving at the table. Fortunately, looking at our reviews, your experience stands out as the exception rather than the rule

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2017 via mobile

A jewel of a restaurant can be found on the crossroads of the old Lincoln Highway and Highway 65. Niland's has been serving patrons good home cooked food off and on for many years. The hot beef sandwich with real mashed potatoes and homemade gravy is my favorite, but about anything you order is going to be good. It is very clean and the wait staff is friendly without getting into your conversation. You will want to visit the old gas station in the parking lot and you can even stay overnight in one of the historic motel cabins. Don't forget to have a slice of their homemade pie and view the car inside the restaurant before you leave. A lot of history in one small spot.

Date of visit: August 2017
1  Thank 1,213,824
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Niland's Cafe also viewed

Been to Niland's Cafe? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing