BALLTOWN, Iowa (CBS) — Three days remain until the Iowa caucuses, and the CBS 2 Morning Insiders wanted to get a firsthand at the uniquely Iowa process.
So CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas took us to rural Dubuque County – specifically, Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa.
It is Iowa’s oldest continually-operating restaurant and bar – dating back to 1852 – and it is where the caucus will be held.
Breitbach’s is filled with antiques and knickknacks.
“It’s a lot of pride; a lot of tradition,” said restaurant employee Joe Sigwarth.
But come Monday, it won’t be serving up chicken and ham. Instead, a healthy portion of democracy is on the menu.
“Hopefully it’ll be filled with a lot of enthusiastic voters, and hopefully, it will be all discussed in a civil manner,” Sigwarth said.
Nestled in the rolling hills of rural Dubuque County, Breitbach’s is a fixture in the community.
“People are very civic-minded,” Sigwarth said. “It’ll be lively.”
Sigwarth is a retired dairy farmer and now a part-time employee at Breitbach’s.
“It’s the pulse of the town and the community,” he said. “Without this, an awful lot of our county would die. This is a lifeline; a bloodstream.”
Breitbach’s is one of hundreds of caucus locations across the state. Most are now at places like schools, libraries, and churches.
Caucusing in less institutional places such as pubs, living rooms, and barns is a dying tradition – thanks to modern requirements like fire codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
And during the caucus, Breitbach’s will have a different feel to it. There won’t be any food or drinks served to the people there. Instead, they will focused only on finding the right candidate for the job.
“It’ll be a sense of serious discussion rather than a lot of laughter,” Sigwarth said. “People will be here, down to business.”
And it will all be taken seriously, Sigwarth said, “because this is the way it’s done in Iowa.”