Iowa: This Dairy-Free Guide is the Best Thing since Sliced Bread

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Last Update in July 2021! It’s not surprising that Iowa is the birthplace of the first single loaf bread-slicing machine – the state is predominantly (eighty-five percent!) farm fields. But the Hawkeye State has other delicious foods, and even some dairy-free surprises that we’ve included in this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, ice cream shops, and stores. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!) that’s divided into restaurants & shops by city (first) and major chains found throughout the state (second). And we’ve started a section for specialty dairy-free foods produced in this state.

We Update Continuously! You can ignore the original date on this post going forward. We update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new recommendation, change, or closure.

Dairy-Free Iowa: Recommended Restaurants & Shops with vegan and gluten-free optionsPhoto from Dirt Burger in Des Moines

Dairy-Free Iowa: Recommended Restaurants & Shops

We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city and then by the restaurant or shop name. For large chains with locations throughout the state, see the Major Restaurant & Grocery Chains section below. We have dedicated posts with dairy-free details for many of the big guys.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Altoona

Amana

  • Ox Yoke Inn ⭐️ – They offer a dairy-free menu complete with a local and German mix of appetizers, entrees, sides, and sandwiches. They also offer a gluten-free menu.

Ames

Ankeny

Bettendorf

  • Freshii –  As the name implies, this chain focuses on fresh cuisine, mostly in the form of bowls, salads, wraps, and smoothies. They offer a detailed allergen menu, and each menu category has at least one or two dairy-free options, ordered as is. But most items can be ordered without dairy easily, since all of their bases, proteins, broths, and toppings (aside from cheese) are made without milk (at the time of our review). Just verify the sauces, as a few contain milk-based ingredients.
  • N7 Nitrogen Ice Cream – They offer a vegan coconut milk base and a fair selection of flavors and mix-ins for your custom order, instant dairy-free ice cream.
  • Whitey’s Ice Cream – This is a regional creamery with multiple locations that usually have their dairy-free chocolate mint flavor available. They also offer dairy-free options for slushes, freezes, fruit “smootheys,” and floats.

Cedar Falls

  • Cedar City Creamery – They have a rotating flavor of dairy-free Dole Whip, and you can reportedly order dairy-free slushies.
  • Greenhouse Kitchen – Most of the menu at this healthy fast casual restaurant is dairy-free. They have a big selection of dairy-free sauces, and a range of bowls, burritos, wraps, and salads, with build your own options. They offer vegan options in every category, including quesadillas.
  • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt – See our Menchie’s Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Scratch Cupcakery – They don’t offer any dairy-free cupcakes, but they do sell dairy-free, gluten-free quick bread slices from Outrageous Baking in Colorado.

Cedar Rapids

Clive

  • 5 Borough Bagels – Not only can you enjoy several flavors of NY-style bagels in the middle of Iowa, you an also schmear them with your choice of two unique vegan cream cheeses: spinach artichoke and cinnamon walnut. They also offer a big range of bagel sandwiches (Udi’s gluten-free bagels are available) and wraps that can be custom ordered without dairy. And they can make you a latte with coconut, almond, or oat milk.
  • Bakers Square – This is a homestyle bakery and cafe, with milk and butter galore (sorry, all of their pies contain milk!). But they offer a very detailed allergen menu that lets you custom order omelettes, egg breakfasts, salads, and sandwiches (most of their breads are dairy-free). They also have a few dairy-free entrees, like chicken tenders. They also have a “gluten sensitive” menu for gluten-free guests.
  • Z’Mariks Noodle Cafe – They have allergen info available, and offer information on how to make some of the dishes vegan and/or gluten-free. Most of the bowls start out vegetarian, but they have added protein choices. Dairy-free options include some noodle bowls, rice bowls, and salad bowls.

Coralville

  • Chick-fil-A – See our Chick-fil-A Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Eat to Evolve – They offer meal plans and meal delivery, but also have some brick and mortar locations where you can pick up. Everything they make is gluten-free, and they focus on paleo and primal diets. Most of their meals are dairy-free, but not all. You can pick a dairy-free meal plan or order by the entrée.
  • Fuzzy’s Taco Shop ⭐️ – This casual Tex-Mex chain provides a dairy-free menu that even tells you how to custom order just about anything on the menu. They offer burritos, tacos, bowls, breakfasts, salads, and even nachos sans cheese.
  • HuHot Mongolian Grill – See our HuHot Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Mellow Mushroom – See our Mellow Mushroom Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • New Pioneer Food Co-op – They carry many dairy-free natural and organic foods, but they also have their own bakery on site. They bake rustic dairy-free breads and vegan muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and dessert bars. They also have house-cured meats and offer grab-and-go meals and snacks.
  • Noodles & Company – See our Noodles & Company Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Scratch Cupcakery – They don’t offer any dairy-free cupcakes, but they do sell dairy-free, gluten-free quick bread slices from Outrageous Baking in Colorado.
  • Vesta ⭐️ – They offer a big dairy-free menu with a range of American and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. It includes appetizers, salads, burgers, and a range of entrees.

Council Bluffs

Davenport

Decorah

  • Sugar Bowl – This ice cream shop offers one dairy-free flavor daily, and The Landing location usually has a creamy soy-based variety.

Des Moines

  • Blaze Pizza – See our Blaze Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Blue Sushi & Sake Grill – This sustainable Japanese restaurant makes innovative maki and nigiri. They have a full vegan menu, complete with tempura maki, and of course most of their menu is naturally dairy free.
  • Ceviche Bar – Their Cuban menu includes some specialty vegan options and many more dairy-free choices.
  • Chick-fil-A – See our Chick-fil-A Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill – See our Chipotle Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Crème Cupcake + Dessert – They reportedly offer one vegan cupcake flavor daily, but you have many more options if you order ahead. You can order vegan cupcakes by the dozen with your choice of cake, filling, and frosting, with many flavors to choose from. They also have vegan cinnamon rolls on order.
  • Des Fresh Foods ⭐️ – This food truck turned restaurant is completely vegan, and serves unique veggie burgers, street tacos, and other Mexican-American fare.
  • Dirt Burger ⭐️ – The patty at this vegan burger joint is made purely with gluten-free whole foods, no fillers in sight (legumes, buckwheat, flax, vegetables, and seasonings). Their burger options include some seriously creative and enticing toppings, and can be served on a vegan brioche bun, gluten free bun, or a bed of organic greens. They also serve salads and fries.
  • Fong’s Pizza – This funky fusion restaurant has two Des Moines locations. Both serve a very unique array of pizzas (banh mi, kung pao, street taco, etc) with dairy-free cheese as an option. Wash them down with a Polynesian cocktail – seriously!
  • Fresh Cafe & Market ⭐️ – You can find this vegan tent at the Des Moines Farmers Market. They serve juices, smoothies, and veggie burgers.
  • Fuzzy’s Taco Shop ⭐️ – This casual Tex-Mex chain provides a dairy-free menu that even tells you how to custom order just about anything on the menu. They offer burritos, tacos, bowls, breakfasts, salads, and even nachos sans cheese.
  • El Michoacano Ice Cream and Mexican Food – It’s the Mexican food that you want to order at this very casual local restaurant. They offer dairy-free cheese, and most items on their menu can be ordered dairy-free, including tacos, burritos, empanadas, flautas, and sopes.
  • Gusto Pizza Co. – They make their own dough and sauce from scratch, and offer a vegan supreme pizza right on the menu. They have Daiya dairy-free cutting board shreds available, offer several unique toppings, and can make almost any pie dairy-free.
  • Maccabee’s Kosher Deli ⭐️ – In addition to dairy-free groceries, sandwiches (with their own house-baked bread), salads, and other savories (like dairy-free cream cheese with lox), they offer parve desserts, like “cheesecake.”
  • Malo – Their Latin menu is labeled with vegan options, which include a vegan crema (made with almond milk and cashews) and a vegan burrito. But several more menu items can be ordered without dairy.
  • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt – See our Menchie’s Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Molly’s Cupcakes – They offer a few rotating vegan cupcake flavors daily with chocolate, vanilla, or pumpkin cake.
  • New World Kitchen ⭐️ – This is a take-out vegan meal service. Customers pre-order and pick-up at their pop-up location each week. Their menu rotates, but they typically have a casual menu of bowls.
  • Noodles & Company – See our Noodles & Company Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt – See our Orange Leaf Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • The Poké Company ⭐️ – The food menu at this poke bowl and sushi burrito shop is dairy-free and nut-free. They also offer cauliflower rice for grain-free and paleo guests, label their sauces for vegan and gluten-free guests, and provide other allergen info.
  • ProteinHouse – They offer a range of protein-packed breakfasts, salads, bowls, burgers, and wraps with several dairy-free options, and a vegan option in each category. They even have vegan protein pancakes. They offer vegan protein, and can make a select group of smoothies dairy-free, but keep in mind, they use a lot of whey in their blenders (including to make their acai bowls).
  • Railroad Bill’s Dining Car – They offer a big vegan menu, complete with French toast, biscuits and gravy, sandwiches, slingers, and more. A few additional menu items can be ordered dairy free.
  • Ritual Cafe – Their menu is vegetarian, but most of their breakfast menu can be ordered dairy-free (they offer eggs, oatmeal, and breakfast sandwiches). They also offer some vegan sandwiches, and most of their sandwich menu can be custom ordered vegan.
  • The Goodie Bowl ⭐️ – This vegan shop offers a range of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and big selection of sweet snacks and treats.
  • Zombie Burger – They offer three vegan patty options, and even special vegan sauces. You can order a vegan burger (bun and all) or custom order a “meaty” dairy-free burger. Just make sure to request a ciabatta bun, which is vegan. Their “zombie” buns contain milk and egg.

Dubuque

Eldridge

  • Whitey’s Ice Cream – This is a regional creamery with multiple locations that usually have their dairy-free chocolate mint flavor available. They also offer dairy-free options for slushes, freezes, fruit “smootheys,” and floats.

Fairfield

  • Andy’s Juice Joint ⭐️ – It’s all vegan at this juice bar and smoothie shop with light bites.
  • Everybody’s Whole Foods – This is touted as the largest organic and natural foods store in Iowa. They carry a plethora of dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan brands, and offer full grocery.
  • Plant ⭐️ – They serve a casual, all-vegan menu of handhelds and bowls with many gluten-free options, which are clearly labeled.

Grinnell

  • Relish – This is a Mediterranean restaurant that’s very accommodating to dairy-free guests. Most of their appetizers are dairy-free, and they have a rotating menu of entrees with dairy-free options.

Iowa City

  • Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt – They swirl dairy-free sorbets in chocolate fudge and several fruity flavors, and also offer Silk almondmilk frozen yogurt in chocolate and vanilla, on rotation. Call ahead for daily dairy-free flavor options.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill – See our Chipotle Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Dumpling Darling – This is a unique restaurant serving all types of dumplings and some additional Asian dishes. They offer several vegan dumplings, and have some additional dairy-free ones.
  • Heirloom Salad Co. – They offer wonderfully-detailed allergen and ingredient information, and you’ll be happy to discover all of the dairy-free options. Their heirloom breads are dairy-free, more than half of their salad dressings are dairy-free, and they even offer several dairy-free soups. Many of their salads and sandwiches (breakfast and lunch) are dairy-free when ordered without cheese.
  • Molly’s Cupcakes – They offer a few rotating vegan cupcake flavors daily with chocolate, vanilla, or pumpkin cake.
  • New Pioneer Food Co-op – They carry many dairy-free natural and organic foods, but they also have their own bakery on site. They bake rustic dairy-free breads and vegan muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and dessert bars. They also have house-cured meats and offer grab-and-go meals and snacks.
  • Noodles & Company – See our Noodles & Company Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Trumpet Blossom Cafe ⭐️ – Cadry of Cadry’s Kitchen recommended this cozy vegan restaurant. “Try the buffalo seitan wings and solstice salad with falafel.” In addition to their casual eats, they have a deli and bakery on site.
  • Yotopia Frozen Yogurt – They rotate in dairy-free soft serve sorbets, and often have a creamy vegan coconut milk flavor, too.
  • Z’Mariks Noodle Cafe – They have allergen info available, and offer information on how to make some of the dishes vegan and/or gluten-free. Most of the bowls start out vegetarian, but they have added protein choices. Dairy-free options include some noodle bowls, rice bowls, and salad bowls.

Le Mars

Marion

  • Your Pie – This is a build-your-own pizza chain that offers dairy-free options for crusts (also gluten-free), sauces, and toppings (all but meatballs), and they have vegan cheese. At last check, they had dairy-free sorbets and brownies for dessert, too.

Mason City

New Hampton

  • New Beginnings Gluten Free Bakery ⭐️ – This special bake shop is not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free, peanut-free, nut-free, and coconut-free! They can also take custom orders for other dietary needs. They make cupcakes, cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, donuts, and more. You might also spot some of their items at grocery stores in Iowa.

North Liberty

  • The Java House / Heirloom Salad Co. – They offer wonderfully-detailed allergen and ingredient information, and you’ll be happy to discover all of the dairy-free options. Their heirloom breads are dairy-free, more than half of their salad dressings are dairy-free, and they even offer several dairy-free soups. Many of their salads and sandwiches (breakfast and lunch) are dairy-free when ordered without cheese.

Pella

  • Big Acai Bowl – They make acai, pitaya, coconut, matcha, blue majik, and oatmeal bowls, and also blend dairy-free smoothies. On the food menu, they offer toasts with avocado spread or cashew cream, serve a vegan burrito, and you can order salad or other healthy dishes without dairy.

Sioux City

Sioux Falls

Urbandale

Waterloo

  • Chick-fil-A – See our Chick-fil-A Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Greenhouse Kitchen – Most of the menu at this healthy fast casual restaurant is dairy-free. They have a big selection of dairy-free sauces, and a range of bowls, burritos, wraps, and salads, with build your own options. They offer vegan options in every category, including quesadillas.
  • Noodles & Company – See our Noodles & Company Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Scratch Cupcakery – They don’t offer any dairy-free cupcakes, but they do sell dairy-free, gluten-free quick bread slices from Outrageous Baking in Colorado.
  • Your Pie – This is a build-your-own pizza chain that offers dairy-free options for crusts (also gluten-free), sauces, and toppings (all but meatballs), and they have vegan cheese. At last check, they had dairy-free sorbets and brownies for dessert, too.

West Des Moines

Dairy-Free Iowa: Recommended Restaurants & Shops with vegan and gluten-free optionsPhoto from The Poké Company in Des Moines

Restaurant & Grocery Chains found throughout Iowa

Some recommended restaurant and store chains are getting too big for our city listing britches. They have many locations, or are rapidly growing, and you might stumble across them in a number of towns in this state. Click on them for more dairy-free details.

Thus far, we’ve been able to add all chains to their respective cities above!

Dairy-Free Iowa: Recommended Restaurants & Shops with vegan and gluten-free optionsPhoto from Dirt Burger in Des Moines

Local Dairy-Free Food & Drink Producers in Iowa

These dairy-free friendly companies don’t have their own retail location, but are in Iowa. So you have a good chance of finding their products at grocery stores, restaurants, and/or other shops in this state. Keep an eye out!

  • Cado Ice Cream – You can probably find this dairy-free avocado ice cream in many Iowa grocery stores since they are headquartered in Fairfield.
  • Heartland Burrito – They make vegetarian frozen burritos, which you can find at local natural food stores. They offer a handful of vegan varieties, like Indian Potato Masala and Thai Peanut Tofu.
  • Heavenly Organics – Their dairy-free honey patties are a naturally delicious treat, IMO.
  • Hue Hill – If you like to get your probiotics from naturally fermented foods, then look for their krauts, which come in traditional and modern varieties.
  • Simply Organic – This is a fantastic spice company that also offers some dairy-free flavor mixes.

Dairy-Free Iowa: Recommended Restaurants & Shops with vegan and gluten-free optionsPhoto from New Beginnings Gluten Free Bakery in New Hampton

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free 2nd Edition - The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Dairy-Free Living with Over 250 Recipes!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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