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Canteen Lunch In The Alley

Certificate of Excellence
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112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA 52501-2925
+1 641-682-5320
10:00 - 19:00
Open now
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Mon - Sat 10:00 - 19:00
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125 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 124: English reviews
Branson, Missouri
Level Contributor
112 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This is one of the best places to eat in Ottumwa. It has been here for many, many years. A small and quant place to eat loose meat burgers, a bag of chips, coke and a slice of pie makes it worth the while to walk down the alley for this meal. Get there early because the stools at the... More 

Thank Rick B
Covington, KY
Level Contributor
506 reviews
236 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 298 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We were driving across Iowa on our way back from Colorado. We got off I-80 just past Des Moines to go to Ottumwa for lunch (and also visit the American Gothic House Museum in Eldon). It didn't really take us much out of our way and it's all highway once you get out of Des Moines. It doesn't look like... More 

Thank CovingtonCat
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 November 2016

Its a VERY odd place, stuck in an alley. It looks like a biker bar...but its a friendly family restaurant where local farmers pop in for..."a loose meat sandwich"... Its all they really serve. A semi-circular counter wraps around a mysterious alter-like pedestal on which sits the mysterious "holy meat cooker". They bring offerings in the form of 10 pound... More 

2 Thank Enviro G
Ottumwa, Iowa
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 November 2016

If you want a friendly atmosphere with outstanding loose meat sandwiches and awesome pie the Canteen is the place to go. Get there early as it is stools up to a counter and they fill up fast. Waiting is no problem as the friendly chatter makes it go fast. It is a must place to eat in Ottumwa, Iowa. Carryout... More 

Thank mabelskinner1223
Cypress, Texas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 November 2016

This is an old building. There are no booths - everyone has to sit on a bar stool. If you go during the noon hour you will usually have to wait for a seat to become available - but it is worth the short wait! Their steamed hamburgers are to die for - and people have come from all over... More 

Thank Debra J
Ottumwa, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2016

We eat at Canteen at least once a week, it is always delicious with excellent fast service. The pie is exceptional!

Thank 316conniep
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 October 2016 via mobile

I couldn't mark it back to when I was there by the date, just didn't have the option. Regardless, it was an amazing traditional maid rite sandwich, prepared impeccably. Famous place and the good reflects that. Definitely a must place to eat if you're in ottumwa. 5 stars

Thank Shaun S
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2016

Now into my late forties and having eaten (probably dozens of dozens) of these over the years, I can attest that the effort is still there even if the results have changed. It's still alright (especially if you don't want to mess with cooking loose hamburger yourself), but not as good as in previous decades. Cooking & restauranting methods have... More 

Thank Billy C
Ottumwa, Iowa
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 September 2016

This is a must do when you come to Ottumwa, Iowa. It is a small place with a big heart of Ottumwa. Loose meat sandwiches, pies and old fashion shakes are what people from here or traveling through need to stop and indulge and satisfy their appetite. Our kids live out of state and that is always one stop on... More 

Thank Pat G
Schuylerville, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2016

There is no place in the world like the Canteen! The food is awesome and the atmosphere makes you feel like you are home in your grandparent's kitchen.

Thank Kimberly B

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
American, Fast food
Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Takeout, Parking Available
Good for
Child-friendly, Kids, Cheap Eats
Open Hours
10:00 - 19:00
10:00 - 19:00
10:00 - 19:00
10:00 - 19:00
10:00 - 19:00
10:00 - 19:00
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 112 1/2 E 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA 52501-2925
  • Location: United States  >  Iowa (IA)  >  Ottumwa
  • Phone Number: +1 641-682-5320

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?