The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 16, 2013

Canteen is New York Times good

OTTUMWA — The owner of a local landmark found out Friday her place has been recognized at the national level — again.

The New York Times "frugal" food columnist, Seth Kugel, drove about 800 miles through Iowa in search of good, inexpensive meals. One stop on his trip: "a drab old building underneath a parking garage" in the modest meat-packing town of Ottumwa: the Canteen.

"The Canteen is proof that if an expert combines fat, carbs, sugar and salt in just the right ratio, the result can be worth the calories," Kugel wrote this week.

Despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of the column on NYTimes.com, owner-manager Shirlee McBeth of Ottumwa didn't seem offended.

"I found out about it 15 minutes ago," she said Friday morning. "Of course, it's wonderful. It's really something for a little restaurant to be in the New York Times."

"The experience at the lunch counter," writes Kugel, "feels very middle school cafeteria: a lunch lady look-alike takes your order and spoons loose ground beef — sloppy joe without the slop — onto a bun, slathers on extras, wraps it and hands it to you. (What, you wanted a plate?) It’s a signature Iowa lunch, generically known as 'a loose meat sandwich.' Here it was simply a Canteen. I augmented the coming lethargy by ordering a strawberry malt, after being encouraged to do so by the visitors next to me."

Lunch lady look-alikes?

"I don't think he meant it offensviely," said McBeth.

Besides, she laughed, that's what we're doing: We're ladies serving lunch.

Kugel described The Canteen as having been, since 1936, "a squat, yellow box of a building; it didn’t budge when a municipal parking garage was literally built over it."

Text Only
Local News
  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0726 OTT Garden Bites III Color Photo -T Garden Bites sees growth BLOOMFIELD — Nearly one month ago, families gathered at Pioneer Ridge Nature Center to plant various vegetables to harvest and eat on Thursday at Garden Bites. The program allows families to get their hands a bit dirty at Pioneer Ridge and plant food

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook