“Off the Menu” is an Altoona restaurant feature sponsored by Elder Corporation.
You know the scene. In the 1989 classic Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer, is standing in a baseball field that he built in the middle of a cornfield. Suddenly, the ghost of his father, John, appears. John looks around—at the pitcher’s mound, the outfield, and the stadium lights illuminating the cornstalks.
“Hey, is this heaven?” he asks.
“No,” Ray says. “It’s Iowa.”
Just as Ray transformed a small piece of Iowa into a baseball promised-land, the owner of Altoona’s Hawk Heaven Tavern has taken what appears to be an unassuming bar near the Altoona Campus and elevated it to a mecca of Iowa fandom.
Step into Hawk Heaven and you’re immersed in all things Hawkeye. Hawkeye banners hang from the ceiling; the tables are branded with ANF (America Needs Farmers) in Hawkeye gold; posters show the 2021 Iowa football schedule; a working scoreboard mounted on the wall keeps fans up to date, even during commercial breaks.
Meanwhile, the bar’s 18 TVs are dedicated to… well, what do you think? Iowa sports, of course. With an emphasis on the Hawkeyes. If the Hawks are playing, every TV in the house is tuned in.
And no, we don’t recommend asking the bartender to change the channel during the fourth quarter.
As a wise co-star once told Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come.”
As you would expect, Hawk Heaven gets packed on Iowa gameday, as well as when the Cyclones and other teams are playing.
But it’s not just sports. For locals and visitors alike, this is a gathering place. During the week – and on weekends, before and after Iowa games – the bar fills up for karaoke, Wheel of Fortune, Cocktails and Canvas (painting while enjoying a drink), and other events, including motorcycle nights, pet-friendly activities and more.
During the football season, the Hawkeye Heaven Podcast regularly appears at the bar to host raffles, donating the proceeds to local causes. Last year, funds were donated to a local middle school basketball program to cover expenses like uniforms and tournament fees—helping kids in the community foster a passion for sports, the very same passion that keeps patrons coming back to Hawk Heaven.
“Is this heaven?” No, it’s a sports bar. But if you’re looking for a place where fans and even non-fans, Iowans and out-of-staters, Hawkeyes and Bulldogs and Panthers and Cyclones alike, can elbow up to the bar, toast a few tall boys, and celebrate the simple yet miraculous fun of being together and being in Iowa… well, welcome to paradise.
Thank you to Elder Corporation for sponsoring Off the Menu, the visitor’s guide to Altoona’s deliciously different dining spots! Elder Corporation literally lays the groundwork for some of the biggest excavation projects in Iowa. You can learn more about Elder Corp here.