Featured Flavor - Flavor of the Month
Experience the flavor of Greater Des Moines. From Iowa beef steaks to locally-brewed IPAs, learn where to find them and what to pair with them. Catch a new featured flavor every month. Find a delicious taste of place in Greater Des Moines.
Who doesn’t love a good milkshake? In Greater Des Moines you can satisfy your sweet tooth at local ice cream shops, burger joints, and diners. Whether you like your shake simple or loaded with extras, our city serves up milkshakes that are difficult to pass by.
Located in the Capital Square Building downtown, Big City Burgers offers the perfect sweet-treat for the lunch hour. Try their best-selling strawberry shake, made with vanilla soft serve ice cream, fresh, pureed strawberries and a splash of whole milk. All of their shakes are handcrafted and made with local, AE ice cream in a soft serve ice cream maker. They mix all the ingredients with an ElectroFreeze Mixer which allows them to blend the ingredients evenly through, without decreasing temperature or allowing separation. They’re perfect for an on-the-go dessert or to be paired with any one of their delicious burgers over lunch. Open from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Big City Burgers Milkshakes are so delicious they draw patrons year-round.
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If you love cake and ice cream than grab a famous Cake Shake at Drake Diner. This classic Des Moines staple, nestled near Drake University, serves up shakes all day. The Cake Shake includes vanilla ice cream and bits of real gooey chocolate cake. You can order a half or a full size and the best part is you can also order them to go! Other shake options include interesting flavors like caramel, lemon, peanut butter, espresso, Pina Colada, root beer, cinnamon, and the list goes on. If you are feeling adventurous try their Green River shake with lime syrup and vanilla ice cream for a sour treat. Have it with their classic half-pound Maytag Burger or with any one of their melts or entrees.
At Zombie Burger, they are dedicated to burgers and milkshakes. Famously known for their crazy burger options, their milkshakes offerings are equally crazy and delicious. They’ve even named 2 of their 3 locations, Zombie Burger + Shake Lab. With flavors like peanut butter banana, pumpkin pie, crunch berry and even Rice Krispie treat, it’s easy to enjoy a milkshake flavor you’ve never had before! All of their shakes are created from premium ice cream and blended to perfection. Their most popular drink is the Zombie Unicorn which features vanilla ice cream, Fruity Pebbles and homemade marshmallow cream. If you’re 21 years old, you can try it “spiked” which includes Three Olives Loopy Vodka. Enjoy it inside or on their patio in the Historic East Village or check out their other two metro locations at Jordan Creek Mall and in Ankeny.
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Sip on something Iowa grown and Iowa made. With several local wineries spread throughout the metro, sample dozens of red wines on patios or in tasting rooms and vineyards. Whether you like it sweet or dry, a Greater Des Moines red wine is ready to be poured.
Try Behind the Shed Red – the most popular red wine on the menu. It’s a medium-bodied wine aged in combination of French and American oak barrels which will give the wine extra layers of flavor before you hit red fruit notes. It’s delicious on its own or the perfect glass to pair with summer grilling. All of Jasper’s wine is made by local winemaker, Mason Groben who studied at one of the top winemaking schools in the world. He only uses grapes that are grown in Iowa and their wine production is done in Des Moines, making them a true urban winery just minutes from downtown. Enjoy a tasting, glass or bottle inside or sip on mark your calendars to experience their Thursday night concert series all summer long.
Soak up a vineyard view with a bottle of Frontenac or Caba Moch at Summerset Winery in Indianola. The Frontenac is a dry, medium-bodied red wine made from Frontenac varietal and is fermented on French oak. Notes of black cherries, currants, vanilla and spice are in the finish. It’s similar to a pinot noir and pairs well with salmon or duck. The Caba Moch is a sweet rosé, a sangria style wine that’s currently the winery’s #1 seller. They make their wine with a high heat process which results in higher resveratrol, which some say is good for your heart! All of their wines are also made with Iowa grapes and in the cellular at the winery, just 20 minutes from downtown
While you are in Indianola, don’t miss a glass (or two) of the St. Croix or Frontenac. The St. Croix is a dry, full-bodied red wine with a bit of a spicy flavor. It’s combined with good fruit aromas, with currant and other dried fruit flavor qualities. The Frontenac is a medium-bodied wine with hints of cherry and currants on the palate with a deliciously spicy finish. The Frontenac is one of a small elite club of dry red grapes that can be grown in Iowa’s climate and soils. It pairs well with red meats, Cajun cuisine and spicy Asian dishes. Both wines grapes are harvested late season and fully netted to assure a quality product with complete ripening and free of damage.
Wake up and smell the BBQ. In Greater Des Moines we smoke our meat for hours, make our own rubs and sauces and as a result deliver award-winning BBQ to hungry locals and visitors. Whether you like it piled high on a plate or squeezed between a bun, it’s easy to get your BBQ fix in Greater Des Moines.
With six locations across the metro, this BBQ joint is known for its delicious menu and sports bar feel. Their success is thanks to a wood fire smoker and a special BBQ rub sauce. All of Jethro’s recipes and side dishes are made from scratch daily, which is why patrons love every bite of the large portions they put on the table. Dip into sides such as mac and cheese or jalapeno cream corn. Their meat is slow smoked over oak and hickory chips, ensuring a smokey, juicy and tender result. Patrons rave about the ribs, wings and well…just about everything else.
They are the new kid on the BBQ block, but they offer delicious, out-of-the-box BBQ dishes featuring eclectic flavors from all types of cuisines. Guru’s unique twists bring a different experience to classic meats like ribs, brisket and pork. The two most popular menu items are the brisket sandwich which features chopped brisket, fresh dill, onion crisps and pickles on a locally-baked biroche and the Korean taco which offers smoked pork, cucumber relish and Korean bbq sauce (just add bacon to create the Blue Ribbon BaconFest Award Winner).
Nestled in the Beaverdale neighborhood, Flying Mango developed its reputation because of its award-winning succulent southern barbeque and bold flavors of the Caribbean. Since 2003, this restaurant has garnered attention locally and nationally, including an appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. People rave about their 24-hour cheery-wood smoked beef brisket. The crust on the brisket is cooked to perfection and some say it doesn’t even need the house barbeque sauce! Patrons can add two side dishes with their meat including, but not limited to, grits, braised collard greens with bacon, cornbread with honey butter and oven-roasted spiced apples.
If you want award-winning bbq, then look no further than Smokey D’s. The owners have won more than 60 state BBQ Championships and more than 700 local, regional and national BBQ awards. Enjoy a classic bbq sandwich, ribs or their delicious burnt ends. The restaurant started as a food trailer and now has three locations across the metro, going through about 1,200 racks of ribs a week. Meals come with made-from-scratch sides such as their potato casserole and mac and cheese. Don’t forget an apple dumpling dessert!
There’s a reason 71 percent of beef served in American restaurants is in the form of hamburgers. Nothing hits the spot quite like an Iowa beef patty, two buns and your favorite toppings. In Greater Des Moines, we know how to do burgers classic or daring. No matter how you like it, here are four spots to get your burger fix.
This lunch spot is always buzzing. Big City sources local meats and greens, finding a way to make their food both socially responsible and delicious. The selection is simple with five different burgers to pick from. But what makes Big City shine is their special sauce and house made buns. Order the bacon cheeseburger, topped with Coopers American cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and Big City’s signature sauce. It’s the most popular burger on the menu. Pair it with their homemade Big City fries, topped with truffle oil and pecorino, and you won’t leave hungry or disappointed. Did we mention they also have milkshakes? Save room for one of those too!
This 1960s style corner tavern is a staple of Greater Des Moines. Named one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine, this hot spot delivers the food that matches the era of its décor. High Life orders their beef from a local producer, Brewers Meat, allowing them to specify the fat content and cuts. Order up the Diablo Burger for a spicy kick! Topped with volcano hot sauce, jalapenos and hot pepper cheese, it’s a fan favorite. Or discover the Breakfast Burger, topped with American cheese, bacon and a fried egg. Add a side of mac & cheese or potato salad (with bacon) and discover why locals love the food and ambiance.
Recognized by USA Today as one of “51 Great Burger Joints,” Django delivers French cuisine that patrons rave about. Order the Burger Au Poivre, an inspirational dish that pulls from both American and French favorites. Topped with Swiss cheese and brandy peppercorn sauce, this burger is made with ground Iowa premium certified Angus beef and served on a fresh, South Union Bakery bun. Pair it with Duck Frites (fries with Béarnaise sauce, aioli and curry ketchup) or the Soup du Jour. Cozy up in the friendly, upscale eatery and experience why they stay true to their tagline – All French – No Attitude.
Known for its outlandish and delicious creations, Zombie Burger’s menu features 27 different burger options including “They’re Coming to Get You Barbara,” which features a two-grilled-cheese-sandwich bun and “Undead Elvis,” topped with peanut butter and fried bananas. However, patrons may be surprised to find the most popular burger is their namesake, the Zombie Burger. That’s because it’s the perfect ratio of beef, cheese and toppings housed under a bun. As with any burger on the menu, their top-secret beef blend is placed on a custom-made griddle, searing patties on both sides. Grab an alcohol-infused shake to wash it down and experience why popular demand has prompted a third metro location.
Kick your mass produced beer to the curb and savor a local IPA. A flagship brew of the craft beer industry, the India Pale Ale is known for its hops and bold flavor. No matter which local brewery you find, expect at least one IPA on the menu. With three main styles: American-Style IPA, English-Style IPA and Double or Imperial IPA, there is no shortage of this delicious craft beer in Greater Des Moines. Here are three spots to find your new favorite:
Exile knows a thing or two about IPAs. The brewery features ten throughout the year, all made with hops that you won’t find in most breweries. The German Mandarina-Bavaria hops (which makes up the entirety of their dry-hop bill) provides patrons with a tropical/citrusy aroma and flavor, a canary color, light body and clean, dry finish. Pair it with a bite to eat inside the restaurant, take a tour of the brewery or buy some to go. Exile brews are sold locally across the Metro and you will quickly taste why there’s a demand.
Savor the flavor at 515. A brewery dedicated to delighting palates with delicious beer. Experience their OJ IPA, one of the most popular beers on the menu. The well-balanced brew features a smooth citrus flavor and wonderful aroma. The difference? 515 uses wheat as its primary base malt, an uncommon approach to most IPAs. Expect less bitterness too, making it the perfect introduction for new IPA drinkers. 515 typically has at least three IPAs on tap at a time. Try one or try them all (we recommend the second option)!
10,000 pints of Confluence’s Des Moines IPA is enjoyed in Iowa every week! That’s thanks to a malt bill that includes premium US and British base malts, crystal malt from Patagonia and a blend of five hops from the Pacific Northwest. It’s the perfect mix to balance the bitterness with aromas and flavors of citrus, tropical fruit and a little pine. This beer is approachable for those new to IPAs but also enjoyable for seasoned IPA lovers. Pull up a seat and see why so many craft beer lovers find their desired flavor profile at Confluence.
After a few IPAs you may find yourself a bit hungry. No worries. Food trucks are frequenters of both Confluence and 515 Brewing. We challenge you to take on the IPA in Greater Des Moines. Sip your way through the city. Find a favorite…or find five favorites. Discover why Des Moines does IPAs perfectly.
Sink your teeth into a juicy steak in Greater Des Moines. A city where top sirloins, filets and prime rib are found in cozy steakhouses and fine dining establishments. Taste why so many restaurants take their steak seasoning just as serious as their meat. Experience why Iowa beef is the main attraction on steakhouse menus. Here are four spots to find a delicious steak selection in the city.
Experience why celebrities, media and presidential candidates find their way to 801 when in Des Moines. The steakhouse uses a special broiler at very high heat to sear the outside and melt the marbling within the steak. Many choose to savor their USDA Prime Grade 8 oz. Filet Mignon. It’s the perfect size that saves enough room for one of their abundant side dishes like Maytag blue cheese potatoes and steamed asparagus. 801 features several steak toppers for their filets, New York strips and ribeye’s. From rare to well done, it’s cooked to perfection.
Nestled in Prairie Meadows Racetrack, Casino and Hotel, the newly redesigned AJ’s Steakhouse takes pride in making sure the perfect steak meets the perfect steak seasoning. Try the Cowboy Ribeye. A bone-in ribeye with great marbling and just the right amount of age. Pair it with their signature French Onion Soup that boasts caramelized onions, baked croutons and Jarlsburg cheese. Then finish things off with their Fantasy Chocolate Cake (picture crumbles of snickers and a chocolate mousse middle). It’s a double layer of everything your dietician warned you about. Named after the ace and jack playing cards, patrons can expect to be dealt a delicious meal at AJ’s Steakhouse.
At Johnny’s, a retro cool supper club atmosphere meets a delicious, expansive menu. Experience one of their most-ordered items, Johnny’s Steak Deburgo. This signature dish features beef tenderloin medallions with roasted garlic, fresh thyme, basil, oregano and crème sauce. Its unique flavor keeps foodies coming back for more. Not your style? Pick from a long list of steaks and steak offerings like Gorgonzola crust and balsamic sage mushrooms. Johnny’s has three locations in Greater Des Moines, making it easily accessible for steak lovers all over the metro.
It’s easy to make a night out of dinner at Rube’s. A restaurant where patrons can grill their own steak on an open-hearth grill. Pick your cut and then prepare your steak with a selection of signature seasonings, melted butter and more. Rube’s is known for their grain-fed, hand-cut steaks, delivered fresh from their own meat company in Montour, Iowa. Many enjoy the 7 oz premium filet mignon wrapped in apple bacon. A tender, succulent cut prepared to your perfection. Like what you ate? Rube’s ships their delicious steaks nationwide.