Kellogg, Iowa, is the quintes- sential Midwest town. It’s teeped in tradition, and the 480 or so residents like things just the way they are. So when Iowa’s Best Burger Café came up for sale, it didn’t take long for Scott
Keenan, a finance and insurance professional, to make
the decision to buy it. He’d grown up locally, and the café
was part of the community for as long as he remembered.
“Opportunity knocked, and I knew buying it was the
right thing to do,” Keenan said. “It’s a local gem, and I
wanted to make sure it stayed that way.”
Keenan seems to be the perfect person to carry
on a tradition that was begun more than a half
century ago. He’s got a commitment to Kellogg—
he’s even the former mayor of the town. “When
I was younger, I worked for a major convenience
store in the area, and that work experience gave
me knowledge of the daily business systems
[needed],” he said.
The store started as a bus station when Interstate
80 was first constructed through Iowa. Besides snacks,
beverages, basic car repair and restrooms, there wasn’t
much to it in the 1960s. The café added in the 1980s
was also basic—except for its hamburger. Over and
over again, customers would comment that Iowa’s best
burger was served here, so the name soon changed to
Iowa’s Best Burger Café.
A Meal Every 40 Seconds
The store has served more than 2. 6 million sandwiches
since opening in 1989. “We put a meal out about
every 40 seconds,” Keenan said. Keeping menu items
affordable is also important at Iowa’s Best Burger Café,
where a quarter-pound hamburger, fries and a drink
cost only $5.49.
It’s not just about hamburgers though. “One rela-
Gas Station Gourmet
tively unnoticed menu items is, in my opinion, the best
'IOWA’S BEST BURGER'
A small-town c-store owner is living up to a 25-year-old nickname every day.
BY AL HEBERT
Owner Scott Keenan
had worked for a major
c-store in his youth, and
that experience gave him
the knowledge he needed
to run his own store.