Food on the Move: Buenie Bottoms offers ‘great variety’ of comfort food

Buenie Bottoms Grill and Market

Owners: Erin and Kenny Potter.

Products: Bar and comfort food, including burgers, nachos, loaded fries, chicken strips, cheese curds and more.

Online: “Buenie Bottoms Grill and Market” on Facebook

Contact: (563) 599-5778

food on the move

The Telegraph Herald’s monthly Food on the Move series highlights food trucks based in the tri-state area. If you have a suggestion for a food truck for us to feature, send an email to

When Erin Potter set up a grill, a fryer and a makeshift food stand by the Mississippi River in North Buena Vista, Iowa, more than a decade ago, she had no idea how much the idea would grow.

“This was never a huge plan,” she said. “It all kind of grew each year, and I just kind of rolled with the punches.”

Now, Potter owns and operates Buenie Bottoms Grill and Market, a food truck that has operated since 2015 and, as of last year, a brick-and-mortar storefront in Holy Cross, Iowa.

The truck serves up bar foods and comfort classics like burgers, loaded fries, cheese curds and more.

Potter said the business began as a pop-up food stand at the request of a fellow entrepreneur in North Buena Vista who was often called “Buenie” by locals.

“The owners of the marina there at the time kind of talked us into trying to do something, because people were stopping and always looking for food, but there weren’t a lot of stops along the river,” she said.

Having spent more than 15 years working at Breitbach’s Country Dining, in Balltown, Iowa, Potter “knew bar food like the back of my hand” and figured that type of cuisine would be popular among the river rats who came ashore in North Buena Vista.

“I had some vendors trying to talk us into fancier sandwiches and things, but I said, ‘River people just want to come in and have a burger and fries, something easy and quick,’” she recalled.

The concept proved popular almost immediately, and soon Potter began to think about expanding beyond the riverside stand.

In 2015, she purchased a trailer, refurbished it to fit the business’ needs and hit the streets, branding herself Buenie Bottoms Outdoor Grill in an homage to the business’ birthplace.

Today, Buenie Bottoms is recognizable by its bright blue trailer emblazoned with flames. The image of a large dog adorns the side, holding a fork and spoon in anticipation of chowing down on the “all-American meats and treats” advertised on the trailer.

Potter said the business is well-known for its burgers, Philly steak sandwiches and “super beef nachos,” which are topped with beef, cheese sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. Customers also can enjoy appetizers like chicken strips, cheese curds, loaded french fries, onion rings and more.

“We’ll also throw in specials (like) smoked barbecue pork and homemade turkey and dressing,” she said.

In the spring of 2023, Potter and her husband, Kenny, opened a brick-and-mortar business, Buenie Bottoms Grill and Market, at 882 Main St. in Holy Cross. The storefront was the former home of local grocery store Main Street Market, which closed in 2022.

Potter said the physical location serves as a central place to do prep work for the food truck, but it also offers customers grab-and-go food items like homemade salads, sandwiches, desserts and more.

The store offers daily lunch specials that usually differ from the menu items served on the food truck, including tacos, BLT wraps and brisket sandwiches,

“A lot of our farmers come in and want to grab something quick,” Potter said. “It’s good to have that local option.”

While the brick-and-mortar market is open year-round, the Buenie Bottoms food truck typically operates from spring to fall, based on the weather.

Potter said the truck attends certain events and festivals year after year, including Midwest Pride in Your Ride and Romper Room Rally, both in Earlville, Iowa.

“I love to get back and see how everybody’s doing and watch how each event grows and what they do differently each year,” she said.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Buenie Bottoms also set up shop in local subdivisions to offer residents a chance to safely eat out; it has continued that practice with various neighborhood parties. The truck also hosts events at area businesses and can often be found at Asbury Eagles Club’s Food Truck Friday events during the summer.

Janelle Reicher, of Dyersville, is a regular customer. She works at Zero Zone in Dyersville’s 20 West Industrial Park and said Buenie Bottoms is among the food trucks that regularly set up shop in the park to serve lunch to workers.

“The food is absolutely wonderful,” Reicher said. “Erin has a great variety there, from taco salad to your hamburgers and cheese balls, and they’re always so friendly and willing to help out whenever you have questions. It’s always great when you come up to the food truck and (they) have a smiling face.”

In the future, Potter said she hopes to continue growing the business’ brand through both the market and food truck.

“I’m always excited to try something different,” she said. “I love going to different events and seeing different people.”