Looking for a delicious bite while you’re in town? These Greater Des Moines favorites are sure to excite. Whether you want pizza or sushi, we have everything and more in between.
Can’t decide between Chinese food or pizza? We’ll make the choice easy – both! Fong’s Pizza famously serves up Asian-inspired pizzas, with everything from Crab Rangoon to General Tso’s Chicken. Picky family members? Don’t worry, they have plenty of traditional (just as delicious) pizzas as well.
Looking for Southern charm mixed with Iowa nice? Check out Bubba. This Southern comfort spot serves up dishes like fried chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits in a beautiful Gatsby-esque setting. Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?
Located in the heart of downtown, Centro is one of the torchbearers of Des Moines’ progressive dining scene. Want delicious wood-fired pizza or pasta? Centro is the place to go. Craving to gussy up your standard tenderloin with ham, bacon, pepper jack cheese, sunny-side-up egg? Try the KILL-BILL PORK TENDERLOIN (“The Five-Pointed Palm Exploding Heart Sandwich”) and thank us later (perhaps after you’re done with your leftovers the next day).
We know what you’re thinking. “You had us at the word ‘mullet’.” Featuring a two-level patio overlooking the city and the Des Moines River, Mullets is known for their vast breakfast menu. It is said that brunch without alcohol is just breakfast, so be sure to give their Mimosa or Bloody Mary Flights a try. Don’t be surprised if you see a large crowd of bicyclists, as it’s the place to stop during a morning ride! Sleeping in on the weekend? The brunch lasts until 2 pm, and they also have a large lunch and dinner menu!
El Bait Shop
Known for one of the largest selections of craft beer in the U.S. (262 beers on draft to be exact!), El Bait Shop is the perfect place to hang out for an afternoon bite and brew. Not only do they have a spacious dining room with a giant bar showcasing all of your craft options, but a large patio to enjoy the sunshine sipping on said crafts. While they are known for beer, their food selection does not disappoint. We recommend the fish tacos and the bacon-wrapped tater tots, both local favorites.
The Iowa Taproom/Molly’s Cupcakes
You can’t get a true taste of Des Moines without experiencing The Iowa Taproom. They help promote all the breweries around our state by featuring 120 different Iowa draft beers. They also have elevated versions of classic Iowa dishes, whether it be a pork tenderloin or Iowa ham balls. Got a sweet tooth? Grab a delicious Crème Brûlée Cupcake from Molly’s Cupcakes right next door!
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Believe it or not, Iowa has more than just sweet corn and pork tenderloins (although we do love those dearly). Des Moines is home to a surprising number of fresh sushi spots, and one of the best is Blue Sushi Sake Grill. They are in the heart of downtown on Court Avenue (right near the finish line), offering a wide array of sushi options, none better than their signature Cherry Bomb. Trust us, you’ll like the way they roll.
Can you really say you came to Des Moines without visiting Zombie Burger? They are known for their outrageous “gore-met” burger creations such as the Undead Elvis, featuring peanut butter, fried bananas, bacon, and egg, all on a burger. I mean c’mon, they practically invented “zombie chic.” Don’t forget a cereal milkshake before you go – you can even get it spiked.
Smokey D’s BBQ
With apologies to our neighbors to the south in Kansas City, you can find some of the best BBQ around just ten minutes outside of downtown Des Moines at Smokey D’s. Featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and winners of more world-class championship competitions than should be reasonably allowed, you’ll find world-class BBQ, but also sides that are just as good as the star of the show. Their Apple Dumplings were featured on the show, but if you’re in Des Moines you HAVE to try a Scotcharoo. You won’t regret it.
The Chicken in Orilla
The Chicken in Orilla, Iowa is a classic roadhouse joint located right off the Great Western bike trail. Specializing in, you guessed it, chicken, they have everything from chicken and waffles to Nashville (and Iowa) hot chicken. And don’t sleep on the homemade cheese curds, served with marinara and ranch.