Brunch: The most important meal of the day and the perfect companion to Sunday Fundays. Celebrate this brilliant mashup of breakfast and lunch with all the best sweet carbs, savory proteins, and loaded Bloody Marys that Greater Des Moines has to offer, as voted by locals.  Get egg-cited!  

*All of our Des Best lists are crowdsourced and voted by locals.*

Little Brother
All week: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.  

The brainchild of Joe and Alex Tripp of the city’s most acclaimed spot, Harbinger, Little Brother is anything but the black sheep of the family. Recently eschewing dinner service to focus solely on brunch, Little Brother brings the same creativity and thoughtfulness to the table as their older sibling, but with a more casual sense of chill. The Soon-to-be-Famous Breakfast Sandwich may well already be, and the Manischewitz Braised Short Rib Skillet is sure to be on your short list for the best breakfast item you’ve ever eaten.

Drake Diner
Served all day  

No list of Des Moines institutions is complete without Drake Diner, which has been slinging hash in the Drake neighborhood since 1987. Bask in the old-school diner ambiance while sipping a cup of joe and enjoying one of their specialties like Santa Fe grits, pumpkin pancakes, chicken fried steak, or their signature omelet with Iowa sausage, mushrooms, and cheese. They serve lunch and dinner, but Rule No. 1 of diner dining is if they have all-day breakfast, you order it.

Eggs and Jam
Served all day 

Sure, you can get eggs and jam at just about any place on this list. But where else are you gonna get it with funky 90s hip-hop theme, complete with a Tupac and Biggie mural? These chronically good dishes are as creative as their names; try the Yo Holmes to Bel Air (omelette w/Philly Steak, provolone, and grilled onions) or the Toast Face Killah (French Toast w/raspberry whipped cream and chambord syrup) and wash it all down with the I Just Crush a Lot mimosa flight. It was a good day indeed.  

Waveland Café
Served all day 

This no-frills neighborhood diner is home to the “best hash browns in the galaxy” (an objective fact) and plate-sized pancakes. It has a legion of loyal fans, perhaps none as recognizable as actor and Hawaiiowan Jason Momoa. If you have the metabolism of a superhero, try his namesake “Da Mamoa” – biscuits and gravy served over hash browns with sunny side eggs and a mound of bacon. Or if you want the ‘unch’ in brunch, opt for the hot beef sandwich – sliced beef piled high on white bread with mashed potatoes and brown gravy, which is just about the most Iowa thing ever.   

All week: 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  

This Wichita-based eatery opened in Sherman Hill in 2023 with big expectations and bigger lines. They’ve delivered on the hype while also figuring out a way to manage the lines. There’s truth in that name, as everything here uses fresh ingredients and is made from scratch. Start off with a homemade Pop Tart or warm coffeecake with buttermilk caramel sauce, and then work your through some eggs benedict and rosemary potatoes, all washed down with a Bloody Mary. We don’t blame you if you’ve already stopped reading and are on the way there.  

The Breakfast Club
Served all day

Lucky for you this East Village cool kid’s club isn’t an exclusive one; in fact, its popularity has necessitated locations in West Des Moines and Ankeny as well. Maybe that’s because it takes the guilt out of drinking before Noon. Think kitschy retro cool décor, with decidedly progressive dishes like Jamaican Me Hungry (sweet corn cakes, pork carnitas, pineapple salsa), White Hot (egg white omelet with ranch and buffalo cauliflower bites), and Seoul Food (loaded hashbrowns with bacon, kimchi, and sriracha mayo). The drink menu alone is reason enough to visit, with five types of Bloody Marys and a half dozen coffee cocktails. They even have an Email Joke List...brunch with a side of Dad jokes? Sign us up! 

Served all day  

With a name like Mullets, you know they don’t take themselves too seriously, but this food is nothing to laugh at. There’s a party in the back, with the two-tiered outdoor patio offering unmatched views of the downtown skyline. And the food and drink up front is big business, with their award-winning Bloody Mary mix being sold at grocery stores across the metro. There’s no better place to soak up the questionable decisions of the night prior than with some breakfast pizza and one of those Bloody Marys we won’t shut up about. Get back at it!

Machine Shed
Served all day 

Three words: hash brown casserole. Three more: giant cinnamon roll. We shouldn’t have to say much more, but we’ll put in a word or two for their down-home atmosphere, hearty skillets, and country store where you can bring a little taste of country back home. 

University Library Café
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Two words: breakfast nachos. Sure, there are other equally amazing options at this Drake hidden gem like the Cheese Shop Omelet, Hangover Hash, and Breakfast Burger, but they don’t have that “Voted Best Nachos” sign on the side of building by accident. The fresh flour tortilla chips are the differentiator here, topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, onions, peppers, and topped with Monterey cheese sauce. 

Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Brunch is great as it is (never change), but what if I told you it didn’t have to end? At this all-you-can-eat brunch buffet in West Des Moines, choose from a long list of breakfast options such as cornflake French toast, breakfast pizza, biscuits and gravy, made-to-order eggs and omelets, and stacks and stacks of flapjacks! We’ve truly reached brunch nirvana. Bonus for families – kids under the age of six eat free!  

Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

Speaking of epic brunch buffets, Americana practically invented it with their now legendary Bottomless Bombshell Brunch. With more than 40 items, you’ll want a reservation and a couple of hours to work your way through options like loaded hash brown casserole, fried donut holes with vanilla frosting, and grilled cheese sandwiches. And if you’re not supplementing it with the bottomless Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar, what are we even doing here?  

Motley School Tavern
Tuesday – Thursday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Friday – Sunday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

The charming Beaverdale neighborhood is always good for some underrated hidden gems, and Motley School Tavern fits the bill perfectly. With a warm and inviting interior that is effortlessly cool, there are few better places to enjoy the most important meal of the day. Pastrami hash? Wild mushroom omelet with goat cheese and fried brussels? Buttermilk and blueberry pancakes? Do we really need to go on? 

Early Bird Brunch
Served all day  

Early Bird Brunch made a tasty name itself in Omaha, and the hype followed to its location in West Des Moines. We’re here to tell you: believe the hype. Now we don’t need to drive two hours to enjoy their famous A.M. Pot Pie (flaky puff pastry with sunny eggs, sausage turkey gravy, and hash browns), Fruity Pebble pancakes, or Shimp Grit Benny. They even have a breakfast appetizer menu (hash holes, tot poutine, bacon sampler), which is such a great idea we’re mad we didn’t think of it first. 

Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Bubba has only been around a few years but has already become a Des Moines institution thanks to their swanky-yet-cozy atmosphere and unique southern classics. That magazine ready décor has us fanning ourselves like an old southern grandma, and we won't stop hootin’ and hollerin’ about those deviled eggs. If you’re looking for a Southern-style brunch with shrimp and grits, creole omelets, and fried green tomato benedict, then Bubba will leave you happier than a pig in...well, you know.

Saturday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  

Fresko has made a name for offering a little something for everyone and doing it all very well. For brunch, we’re partial to their crab cake eggs benedict, Maine Lobster omelet, and strawberry banana crepes, chased with an Aperol Spritz. We’re fancy like that. Fresko means “fresh,” and they’re certainly true to their word. 

St. Kilda
Served all day 

St. Kilda has been around less than five years, but if feels like they practically invented the “elevated brunch” scene in Des Moines. We’re pretty sure they also invented avocado toast. With locations downtown and in Historic Valley Junction (St. Kilda Collective), this “Australian style” café has mastered the art of the Instagram breakfast: From the salmon and eggs to that oh-so-dreamy avocado toast, it all looks just as good as it tastes, if that’s even possible.  

La Mie Bakery
Monday – Saturday: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.  

It’s unlikely you’ll find a better bakery in the whole state than La Mie, who bring the (baked) goods with their chocolate croissants, pecan rolls, and cherry Danish pastries. More than just a bakery, this café also has quiche, french toast, scrambles, and the type of impossibly fluffy and delicate looking omelets that you usually only see in fancy food magazines. Bon Appetit! 

Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.  

Brunch should be fun, and Mitzi’s in Historic Valley Junction got the memo. The fun is reflected in not only their menu, but the animated and energetic space. The brunch items, including breakfast poutine, blueberry pancakes, and a queso covered breakfast burrito, scream “Yum!”, while the posters on the walls scream “ROCK AND ROLL!” No need for that double espresso shot to wake up, just head over to Mitzi’s to get your fill.