Restaurants

Heart of America opened its first restaurant, The Iowa Machine Shed, in June of 1978. Almost fourty years later, Heart of America has added additional brands to the portfolio which include: Thunder Bay Grille, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, The Republic on Grand and The J Bar.

HOA Branded Restaurants


In 1978, we opened our first Machine Shed Restaurant on the outskirts of Davenport, Iowa. We had just 100 seats, but we started with a powerful commitment. That was a five-word constitution: “Dedicated to the American Farmer.” That dedication meant we worked hard to have a restaurant that wasn’t just ‘farm themed’ but something that farmers could be proud of. We serve chef driven, farm fresh fare, inspired by the seasons. Our food is made from scratch, daily.

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At Johnny’s, our steaks take center stage, and are complemented by a gourmet assortment of Italian cuisine and seafood, alongside an expertly curated wine list. Whether you choose our famous Steak DeBurgo or the classic Chanel No. 5, you’re sure to satisfy your cravings. With new-fashioned luxuries and old-fashioned service and hospitality, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse brings the Rat Pack era to the 21st Century.

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Thunder Bay Grille is casual dining at its best. The perfect place for gathering, relaxing and socializing – an ideal atmosphere for business or pleasure. Chef-driven cuisine offering regionally sourced entrees and hand-crafted dishes. Highlighting fresh seafood, Certified Angus Beef and rustic American favorites – with a twist. Enhance your experience with signature mixology and an expansive selection of wine and craft beer.

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At The J Bar, our chefs believe that preparing food that delights our guests is not something to be taken lightly – it should require effort and dedication. In other words, we Cook Tough. That means a chef driven, culinary experience that requires thinking outside the box. It’s edgy, adventurous, and visual. In other words, it’s tough, not easy. We are a gastro bar, with superior mixology, wine and craft beer selection.

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Sit inside or check out the sixth floor outdoor lounge overlooking the downtown city lights. Pair a craft cocktail with artisanal chef favorites – featuring eclectic American cuisine. Located on the top floor of the AC Hotel in the East Village of Des Moines – the menu, and the views – do not disappoint.

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Enjoy the warm and cozy atmosphere of Gramma’s Kitchen & Checkered Flag. The inviting smells, friendly staff and welcoming environment are reminiscent of visits to Grandma’s house while The Checkered Flag is your hometown bar and grille – serving Happy Joe’s Pizza, burgers, sandwiches, tacos– and plenty of munchies. We start your experience off with delicious food to make your visit worthwhile – and finish them down with a local craft beer.

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Our Restaurant Locations


Heart of America Group is a consortium of independent companies whose successes are in fields of development, restaurant hospitality, lodging hospitality, franchising, design, architecture, construction, operational management and support, marketing, retail & office centers, residential development, civic involvement and philanthropy. The companies often work together, and draw upon the members’ unique array of expertise, to vision and create cutting-edge world-class projects. The skill and speed with which Heart of America Group’s members can combine and focus their resources is unmatched by any other organization.