The food in Amana reflects its German history, and a couple of places are known for their homeland specialties. One of them is the Colony Inn.
The Colony Inn was built in 1860 and was known as The Amana Hotel for many years. The building contained a kitchen and a dining room which served meals to travelers coming through both overland and by train. After the “Great Change” when Amana abandoned its communal way of life, the Amana Society sold the Amana Hotel and the name was changed to the Colony Inn. Its physical characteristics remain the same as nearly as possible to this day. The kitchens are modern, but the dining areas have been preserved to capture the old world atmosphere enjoyed by thousands since 1935. The atmosphere is not fancy, but friendly.
The Colony Inn’s family-style breakfast is not be missed. For $11.95 person, your table is overwhelmed with self-serve platters of bacon and sausage, eggs done your way, slices of toast, fresh fruit, and German pancakes. Most of the dishes are standard fare, decent but not particularly remarkable. The German pancakes, however, are worth the price of admission. They are heavenly discs of crisp, golden-fried goodness. Add butter and some strawberry jam, and you’ll close your eyes in gastronomical ecstasy with every bite. Be careful, though, because it’s all-you-can-eat, and you might just have to roll yourself out of there if your tastebuds get the best of you.
Serena’s Coffee Café was our caffeine connection every morning, where we’d get our fix before heading to “Coffee with Don” at the RV rally. You can get your skinny caramel macchiato with whip and a drizzle just like Starbucks, but it’s cheaper and easier in and out. There are pastries, snacks, and sandwiches, too, if you want a munchie with your mocha.
We had our least favorite meal at the Ronneburg Restaurant. Maybe it’s because we weren’t interested in the sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, potato dumplings, spaetzle or homemade soups, instead opting for salads that were pretty blah. Like so many buildings in Amana, this one has a past.
The historical Ronneburg Restaurant is located in an original communal kitchen, where thick plaster and brick walls complete the ambiance for your traditional family-style dining.
There was one standout. The homemade German salad dressing, comprised of tomato, oil, vinegar and White Zinfandel, is a pleasant surprise. From the looks of it, I expected it to taste like salsa, but it is light, flavorful and a little sweet, from the wine I guess. A bright spot in an otherwise hazy meal.
I’m sure there’s nothing German at all about the Wedding Cake ice cream I had a the Chocolate Haus, but it could have been from Timbuktu for all I cared. Every spoonful was fantastic. In a buttercream base, chunks of vanilla wedding cake are mixed with thick swirls of raspberry. It’s bliss in a cup. Nothing more to say.