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Food with a twist

Robert and Courtney White open The Iron Horse

Pictured are Robert and Courtney White in their restaurant The Iron Horse Neighborhood Grill.
OST photo by AMY HANSEN Pictured are Robert and Courtney White in their restaurant The Iron Horse Neighborhood Grill.

It’s American bar-and-grill food, but with a twist.

That’s how Robert White described the food at the new restaurant The Iron Horse Neighborhood Grill, which he owns with his wife Courtney.

Robert has lived in Osceola for 10 years. He was the executive chef at Lakeside Casino for five years.

“The reason I wanted to open this place was to do my own thing, make everything from scratch and serve the best quality food I can,” he said. “And, offer some good, quality craft beers, as well.”

The Iron Horse, 123 S. Main St., opened in September. It’s in the same location as the former Redman’s restaurant.

The husband-and-wife team of Robert and Courtney have been married for seven years.

Courtney said she worked in restaurants throughout college and helped her mother open the Artistry House in Osceola.

“I’ve just always shared the same interests as Bob. So, when we discussed this was something we wanted to do, I was quite on board with it,” she said.

The name

Courtney said “Iron Horse” is the term Native Americans used for trains centuries ago.

“We wanted something that would link the restaurant to the community,” she said.

The interior of the restaurant has been updated. The restaurant also has a large craft beer and wine selection. Currently, there are 35 beers. Robert said the beer list will be constantly changing with bringing in new beers for the public to try at the restaurant.

“Wine-wise, we think that we offer something at every price point and every taste,” he said. “We’ve got sweets. We’ve got dry reds. We’ve got everything in between.”

Specialty items

There are specialty items marked on the menu. Robert said he highlighted certain menu items because they were unique to the restaurant. For a list of the specialties, go to page 4.

“The bacon-wrapped Juicy Lucy has been one of my unhealthy, at-home favorites for a number of years. And, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that anywhere else,” Robert said.

One reason the pastrami Reuben is highlighted is the restaurant makes its own pastrami, Robert added.

“Basically, everything here is made from scratch,” he said. “There’s a few exceptions, but over 90 percent of it is all made from scratch.”

The twist

Since the Whites describe their menu items as American food with a “twist,” where does the “twist” come from?

Robert said he tries to create combinations of food that sometimes work, and sometimes don’t work. The core concept is taking a basic item and changing a few things to make it better.

One example of this is the club sandwich on the menu.

“It’s a club sandwich, but then it has two pestos on it, and that changes it,” Robert said. “You get the savory and the sweet, and a little bit of salty and a little bit of bitter when you combine it all together. That’s really kind of your goal, to get all your flavors together and get them in the right proportions.”

Game nights

The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.

The bar and lounge area does feature sports games, and Courtney said sometimes games go longer than the restaurants hours. Even though the kitchen might be closed, the lounge will be available for the game if it goes later than anticipated.

Even though The Iron Horse has only been open a few months, there are still more surprises to come. Robert said he’s working on a winter menu. Many of the popular items will stay on the menu, but different seasonal dishes will be added.

Robert said he enjoys talking to customers, especially when they “really enjoy” what they’re eating.

When asked what they like the most about owning their own restaurant, Courtney said it’s about freedom.

“We did this because this is something that we wanted to see,” she said. “This is a place that we would enjoy. So, it’s nice being able to see the finished product.”

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