Opened in 1852 by federal permit issued from President Millard Fillmore, Breitbach’s is Iowa’s oldest food and drinking establishment. Jacob Breitbach, great-great grandfather of the present owner, purchased the business in 1862, and through six generations, the Breitbach family has been in ownership ever since.
Sixth-generation owners of the restaurant, Mike & Cindy Breitbach. Most days you can find at least one of their seven children in the kitchen waiting tables, washing dishes, or tending to the bar.
For over 150 years the original building was a mainstay in the Balltown community. Through the decades it served as a stagecoach stop, personal residence, hotel, grocery store, tavern, and restaurant. The structure was completely destroyed by fire on December 24, 2007.
The current restaurant sits on the site of the original tavern, which was completely destroyed by a gas explosion and fire in 2007. A second building was erected and opened to the public less than six months later, but it too burned to the ground in a second fire only ten months after the first. With support from the Balltown Community, rebuilding took place a second time, and was completed in August of 2009.
Through both tragedies, business never ceased operation. During construction the small building across the parking lot housed the bar, an office, and tables that provided an area for lunching workers during the day and local euchre players in the evening. Referred to as The Gathering Place during the rebuilding phases, the structure now serves as a place to sample local wines and other products.
Just a short walk from the restaurant you will find one of the two overlooks near the town of Balltown. The other overlook is a one mile walk north of town. On a clear day you can see well into the farm land of Wisconsin.
The current establishment opened in August 2009. The restaurant is beautifully decorated for all holidays and seasons of the year. This beauty also transfers outdoors to our garden and beer garden. Be sure to leave some time on your visit to enjoy our grounds.
While in Balltown, walk up the street or drive north out of town to experience a beautiful view looking over the Mississippi River Valley and into the hills of southwest Wisconsin. On a clear day, landmarks over 50 miles away are visible to the casual observer.