As Seen on TV - Group Travel

“Is this Heaven?”   

“No, it’s Iowa.”   

That’s either the famous movie quote from Field of Dreams or the question you’re bound to ask when you bite into one of the many foodie feasts from the capital city featured on TV. Below we highlight some of the places that helped put us on the map.


DAY 1 

Developed by Rusty Wallace, the Iowa Speedway’s track is known for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 and the NASCAR Nationwide series race each year on ESPN. Tour the track any time of year for a behind the scenes look. Contact Tami Hansen at (641) 791-8036

Looking for a group-friendly restaurant that’s known for defeating Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman? Well, look no further than Jethro’s BBQ n’ Pork Chop Grill — one of six Jethro’s restaurants in Greater Des Moines. On the third season of Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food, host and bottomless pit Adam Richman visited Des Moines to taste local fare and attempt the infamous Adam Emmenecker challenge at Jethro's BBQ. Named after the Drake University basketball star, the challenge features a sandwich stacked high with six layers of meat, three layers of cheese, and served with a one-pound side of fries. Visit Jethro's BBQ to take a crack at the challenge yourself, and find out if Richman earned a place on the wall of fame.  Their patio can accommodate 40 people and their party room holds up to 50. (515) 421-4848

Tread where the likes of Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd once stood by visiting West End Architectural Salvage, home of the Today Show's set for the past three cycles. Besides hosting the most popular morning program every four years, West End Architectural Salvage also had its own show on the DIY Network called West End Salvage for several years. The store itself features four floors filled to the brim with salvaged treasures, custom furniture, décor, lighting, and inspiration for your next home project. (515) 243-4405 

It’s dinner time! Famous chef slash food scientist on the now rebooted Food Network fan-favorite show Good Eats, Alton Brown is a big fan of Greater Des Moines cuisine. Local Chinese pizza joint, Fong's Pizza, earned high praise when Brown awarded their Crab Rangoon Pizza the esteemed honor of his pick for the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." Watch our Des Best video on this Des Moines delicacy. 

Ready for some dessert? On the Food Network's show Cupcake Wars, baker’s battle head-to-head for the tastiest cupcakes in the nation. Christina Moffat, owner of Crème Cupcake + Dessert, was a featured contestant on the show's 8th season. Have your group enjoy a specialty dessert paired with a delectable cocktail. Perfect for an after-dinner dessert, late-night snack, or a mid-day treat! (515) 288-1050 

As a theater made famous around the nation, the Des Moines Civic Center ranks as a top 20 theater in ticket sales in the U.S.! Recent productions include The Book of Mormon, Lion King, Jersey Boys, and Hamilton. Before the show, take in a special behind-the-scenes tour or a meet and greet with the cast! (515) 277-4405 

DAY 2 

Just south of Des Moines in Winterset, you can visit the famed Covered Bridges of Madison County and the namesake classic love story's filming site. The 1995 film features breathtaking shots of the countryside. Stop by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce office and pick up a map of the bridges where you can recreate the iconic scenes.  

While you're at it, head down to picturesque Winterset to see the birthplace of “Duke,” the most famous cowboy who ever lived. The John Wayne Birthplace Museum is located adjacent to his childhood home and features original movie posters, wardrobe, letters, artwork, and more. You can even relax inside the museum’s movie theater and catch a John Wayne flick. Contact Teddi Yeager at (515) 462-1185

In the show United States of Bacon, host Todd Fisher sinks his teeth into The Walking Ched Burger at Zombie Burger + Drink Lab. Try one of their other famous burgers like the Dawn of the Dead or sip a spiked or un-spiked shake called the Zombie Bride Wedding Cake. Delicious! (515) 244-9292 

From USA Weekend as the #2 choice for summer fun in America, the New York Times bestselling travel book, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, and the 2011 movie, “Butter,” you’ll understand why the Iowa State Fair has been noted all around the world. If your group is traveling in the month of August, be sure to make this a stop. Otherwise, if traveling outside fair time, visit the historic grounds totaling 445 acres and visit with staff on why Iowans are proud to call the Iowa State Fair their own. Contact Mindy Williamson at (515) 262-3111 x 204.

Consider these “As Seen on TV” featured restaurants as great dinner options:   

  • High Life Lounge (broasted chicken, bacon wrapped tots) - Man vs. Food, Cheap Eats  

  • Machine Shed (biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls) - Food Paradise, United States of Bacon  

  • Eatery A (cioppino, wood-fired pizzas) - Cheap Eats   

For more information, contact:
Chris Baker
Director of Event Experience
(515) 699-3456

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