Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop
1401 SW Army Post Rd.
Des Moines, IA 50315
We’ve talked a bit about the importance of some nice, good-sized buns here at Proud American Traveler.
After all, who wants to bite into an enormous sandwich—filled with all kinds of wonderful stuff—and then face sheer heartbreak as a soggy, wimpy bun self-destructs and oozes meat and cheese down your wrists and onto your lap?
Wait… what did you think I was talking about?!
Anyways, I’ve always thought of buns as the offensive lineman of the sandwich team.
They don’t get a lot of notice, but they’re critical if you want to win.
And like offensive linemen, buns have to be BIG right?
Well, little did I know my whole bun outlook was about to change forever at Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop in Des Moines, Iowa after trying a pork tenderloin sandwich.
The pork tenderloin sandwich is a Midwestern staple you can find from Indiana to Minnesota – it’s just not as well-known as say, Chicago deep-dish pizza or Cincinnati chili.
It was also something I’d not yet had the pleasure of trying, and I was really looking forward to trying it as I rolled up to Smitty’s that Friday.
Smitty’s has been serving Des Moines, Iowa since 1952.
Upon walking in the door, I immediately realized that the entire place embodied wholesome, Midwestern goodness.
It was as if I had stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting.
Beside me was an elderly couple quietly eating their fries who looked like they’d been coming here since the place opened.
They were being waited on by a cheery high school girl wearing jeans and a Smitty’s t-shirt and hat.
I noticed that she didn’t have any tattoos, or any “extra” piercings, or any wild hair colors—or any, uh, extra body parts falling out everywhere.
The cook manning the grill behind the counter was clean-cut, clean-shaven, and looked like he’d never even seen a drug before.
I know what you’re thinking . . .
“But I thought drug use was like, a requirement for being a cook!!!”
True. So did I.
For this very reason, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the food.
When the waitress made it over to my table, I ordered what I came there for.
The “King Tenderloin”—which I ordered straight up, minus the ketchup. At Smitty’s that means it comes with mustard and onions.
They also had a version with chili, but I needed to try the plain Jane before I drifted into more exotic waters.
I also ordered a side of onion rings, they turned out to be fantastic.
To drink, no beer this time, just iced tea.
Of course, this being Des Moines, Iowa, it came unsweetened.
When my pork tenderloin sandwich arrived, I was taken aback.
I’d seen one in photos before, but seeing it in person just boggles the mind.
The fried pork tenderloin was so much bigger than the little bun. How was this going to work?
Putting the sandwich up to my mouth and biting into it, I had a revelation.
This sandwich was totally about the meat. It wasn’t about the buns. It wasn’t about the condiments.
It was solely about the meat.
And what can go wrong with fried, breaded meat?
Now, given the option, I’d probably want mayo and a pickle instead of mustard and onion for this bad boy.
Some drippy coleslaw might be nice.
But all that would be like putting lipstick on a pig.
This was already pig. And it was fried!
And who notices the lipstick anyways?!
What did you think I was talking about??
Anyways, walking out of Smitty’s, I felt like a changed man.
Maybe, when it comes to buns, it’s not actually about how they look on the outside.
Maybe it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Wow.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!