DES MOINES — The search is now underway for the state’s best breaded pork tenderloin of 2019.

Kelsey Sutter, spokeswoman for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says the competition was launched in 2003 as a way to celebrate this unique regional delicacy. “I didn’t realize until I started working at Iowa Pork that it’s really a Midwest specialty,” Sutter says. “If you go to the East or West coasts or even to the South, it’s not something that you’re going to find on menus.”

To nominate a restaurant in the past, a lot of information had to be entered on the nomination form. Now, Sutter says, the process has been streamlined. “Simply by going to our website,, on the home page you can find the link to nominate your favorite tenderloin,” Sutter says. “There’s a search bar that you can use to search for the restaurant and all of the information is already uploaded. Simply click on the restaurant you want to nominate, enter your name and email, and hit ‘Submit’.”

The deadline to nominate your favorite pork tenderloin-serving restaurant is June 7th. “We will take the five with the most nominations in each of our eight districts across the state, so that’s going to be our top 40, and then throughout the summer months, our Iowa Pork members will help us judge those top 40,” Sutter says. “There’s a points system and they’re required to take some photos.”

A panel of judges will narrow down the nominees to five and then will secretly visit each of the top five before a winner is named in October. Last year’s winner was Three C’s Diner in Corning.