Restaurant Spotlight - Wild Hogs Saloon & Eatery
Article by Jane Claspy Nesmith
Photography by Justin Fox
When you walk in the door of Wild Hogs Saloon and Eatery, you’ll feel welcomed. We arrived on a quiet weekday afternoon. The bartender greeted us, and locals looked up and smiled. As we stepped in, we could see this is a big place: the seating area is spacious, and there’s a big stage at one end, surrounded by a dance floor. But the friendly, open atmosphere is what brings people back to Wild Hogs.
“Friday and Saturday nights, the dance floor is crowded with people--couples falling in love all over again,” says owner Michelle Jordan, whose warm, outgoing personality pervades the place.
Jordan loves her business and she loves her community, the growing town of Walford, Iowa, just west of Cedar Rapids. Wild Hogs is known to many here as a great place to have a meal and a drink and hear live music. It’s also known as a local business that gives back to the community.
“We do a lot of benefits and fundraisers,” says Jordan, listing off many different benefit dinners they’ve had for individuals and organizations. There are celebrations here, too--birthday parties, anniversaries, and wedding receptions have all been held at Wild Hogs.
People come back again and again to enjoy the friendly atmosphere and the great food. We were hungry and ready to eat, too.
We started with a plate of nachos--a Wild Hogs specialty--as an appetizer. They’re a customer favorite, and we soon saw why. Our order was piled high with crisp chips topped with taco meat, tomatoes, olives, and red onions. Instead of the usual melted cheddar, Wild Hogs features their own special mild and creamy white sauce.
After the nachos came an appetizer I’d never had before: fried green beans. Mom always tells you to eat your veggies--well this is a great way to do it. The beans were coated in crispy breading, a hot and savory treat to dip into cool ranch dressing.
With the appetizers we treated ourselves to a cold beer in a frosty mug, and a drink that was new to all of us. It consisted of citrusy liquor--Orange UV, Bacardi Lime, and Absolut Citron--on ice. Then the bartender inverted a can of blue energy drink into the glass. Colors swirled, ice clinked, and we had ourselves a refreshing drink that packed a punch.
Wild Hogs is known for its excellent sandwich selection. The half-pound chargrilled Angus burger, served with batter-dipped fries, was juicy and filling. We also tried the turkey club with bacon, served on toasted sourdough. All of the sandwiches can come a la carte or with fries or salad--or both.
We’d heard about the Wild Hog pork loin sandwich, and were eager to try it. Made from hand-cut pork tenderloin, two slices of ham, two strips of bacon, and melty cheese, the sandwich was big enough that we could easily share it among ourselves. It was served with the house BBQ sauce, or “slop sauce,” that was tangy and a bit spicy. We were glad to have extra napkins.
I was in the mood for fish, so Jordan brought out the fish dinner. The flaky, mild white fish was lightly breaded and served with a cup of soup, salad, and fries. We all loved the warm bread, baked in-house.
Another page of the Wild Hogs menu features salads and wraps. We tried the sirloin steak salad that featured tender chargrilled steak sliced on a bed of fresh lettuce. The Southwestern chicken wrap had fresh flavors--grilled chicken with fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion, all wrapped up in a ranch-flavored tortilla.
With such a wide variety of menu items, Wild Hogs seems like more than the average bar and grill. “We have people of all ages out here,” Jordan told us. From newborn babies to fans of live music to 92-year-old grandmothers, lots of people love Wild Hogs.
Wild Hog Saloon & Eatery
350 Commercial Drive, Walford, IA 52351