A guide to food in the metro

By on June 7, 2021 0


It’s finally summer and this one in particular we’re ready to go out and try new restaurants after an era of home cooking, take out and tired cooking trends.

Even with the odds against them, the restaurants in the Des Moines metro have found creative ways to survive. New food options have appeared every month. Take-out kits, take-out cocktails and pop-up concepts were little beams of light at the end of a long, uncertain tunnel.

So let the oven pick up the dust. Go out for that special cup of coffee. Eat a quick lunch or splurge at aperitif time on the way back to your desk. Explore the city’s new restaurants or wines and dine with friends and family on longtime favorites.

Here’s a helpful guide to what’s new, still great, and worth a stop.

– Elle Wignall, food journalist of the register

Food guides from farmers markets to delivery

It’s Iowa Sweet Corn Season: Here’s a guide to roadside stalls selling local sweet corn on the metro.

Patio season is underway, and we’ve rounded up the best of the best: If you can’t decide where to enjoy the sun, use this list to choose your adventure.

Find out what local producers have to offer at the region’s farmer’s markets: It’s well known that the downtown farmer’s market is back after a gap year, but other metro markets are also making a comeback with different dates and seasonal produce.

Metro restaurants always offer great take-out and delivery options: Here are nine places to try if you’re not quite ready to dine.

Corridor of University Avenue in the Drake district which is home to several new arrivals: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, new restaurants continued to populate storefronts near Drake University. Here are seven places to discover.

Here are 14 new restaurants that have opened or plan to open in 2021: From brunch to rendezvous, these restaurants offer new experiences to the taste buds of metro residents.

New food around the Des Moines metro station to grab this summer

Dough Crazy serves giant balls of raw cookie dough without the risk of disease: The Guilty Treat is now available in downtown Des Moines with flavors like puppy food, fine mint, and monster cookie.

Des Moines Pizza Company brings slices of New York to downtown: The new pizzeria tries out unusual ingredients for a truly unique slice.

Charlotte’s Kitchen channels Grandma’s love into her new permanent location: The chicken sandwich restaurant opened in August with a wall dedicated to photos of customers’ grannies.

Dobré Tasting Room brings old dishes back to life: East Village Small Bites Restaurant recreates historic recipes using modern and unique cooking techniques.

Good News Darling, an experimental cocktail bar, opens downtown:The bar is tucked away in Hello, Marjorie and serves culinary cocktails in an intimate space.

Black Cat Ice Cream returns to a new location and Home Sweet Cone debuts in Waukee: Refresh yourself with a locally produced ice cream cone at two new locations.

The Chicken Heat food truck takes the heat up a notch with Nashville Chicken Sandwiches: Try their hottest sandwich, the Holy Heat, for a chance to make it on the Wall of Fame, or cry while trying.

Lachele’s Fine Foods, a boutique restaurant, takes customers back in time with a classic restaurant vibe: Ingersoll Avenue’s new burger joint crushes patties so thin the edges crumple and serves these juicy creations on a sesame seed bun with a signature sauce.

Build your own loaded French fries basket in the new What the Fries food truck: Choose from four cuts of fries and countless toppings or try a special creation like the funnel cake fries, which make Ingersoll Avenue smell like Adventureland, according to customers.

Opening of the second Franka Pizzeria store in Clive in August: The owners of St. Kilda Surf & Turf turned to pizza during the pandemic and have found success with their wood-fired Neapolitan-style slices.

West Glen Town Center has a new Italian-American restaurant, Anna Dolce: The result of a collaboration between two hotel groups, Anna Dolce revisits classic Italian dishes.

Summer is here!Check out these ideas for travel, entertainment, concerts and more in Central Iowa

Historic hotel in the East Village of the city center being converted into a cocktail bar and small plates: The new Northwestern Social House, slated to open in August, will pay homage to the history of passenger trains while serving up refreshing flights of gin and tonic.

The Patio Bar Secret Admirer opens this summer with well-watered sno-cones: The creators of Hello, Marjorie, Good News, Darling and Bellhop Tiki offer a fun cocktail bar with a big city vibe.

Two popular Des Moines restaurateurs join forces for a family dinner in Windsor Heights: After a bidding war on space, the owners of Simon’s and Harbinger have teamed up to offer creative cuisine with Jewish influences.

Take a trip out of town for a new dining experience

Bambino’s Bino Burger wins the crown of this year’s Best Burger competition: Located in Ossian, Iowa, 800 residents, the Bino Burger shines with a 7-ounce patty and customizable toppings.

Find your favorite burger at one of these best burger restaurants in the state: Every year, Iowians vote for the best burger in the counties. How many winners and finalists have you tried?

The restaurant changes in town

DreiBerge Coffee has closed permanently in the East Village: The cafe that roasted its own beans was known as a community gathering space and will continue to sell online.

Well done! The Italian cuisine of downtown Jordan Creek reopens: The Italian restaurant has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in downtown Des Moines is back: After closing in winter 2020, Fuzzy’s reopened under new management.

St. Kilda Café & Bakery will add another location: This time the breakfast and lunch cafe is heading to the suburbs.

The Salvadoran family restaurant La Cuscatleca opens a second establishment: The restaurant is renowned for its sticky pupusas and traditional Salvadoran cuisine.

Big Grove Brewery expands to Des Moines in 2022:Plans are underway in the old Crescent Chevrolet building for the Eastern Iowa brewery to locate in the capital. The move is part of a larger Krause + redevelopment plan to establish an entertainment district on the west end of downtown.

The upscale, modern American cuisine restaurant is moving to Des Moines proper, but diners in West Des Moines have until July 24 to eat in the original space. UPDATE: New story with more details linked below

Table 128 announces a new location after a decade in Clive: The American gourmet restaurant will get a makeover when it moves into its downtown home.

Eastside monument, Latin King, changes ownership:After 38 years, the Tursi family sold the Italian-American restaurant to a Kansas City restaurateur along with other Des Moines establishments. Bob Tursi has been the face of the Latin King for decades, and longtime clients and staff have weighed in on the legacy he leaves behind.

Following:The Des Moines metro is growing. Here are some of the biggest projects underway in the city

The State of the Iowa Restaurant Industry

Meat prices are rising and some restaurants are finding alternative solutions to keep customer prices low: Some cuts of meat have become more expensive, leaving restaurants to decide to raise prices, remove menu items, or eat the cost.

COVID-19 is putting the future of restaurants in small towns in Iowa at risk: Rural restaurateurs have struggled to stay in business and have faced different challenges than their urban counterparts.

Entrepreneurs in Des Moines turn to food businesses during pandemic: With the uncertainty of the job market during COVID-19, some locals have taken matters into their own hands with fresh produce concepts.

Iowa makes eating with your dog easier: Bars and restaurants in Iowa are no longer required to request a waiver to allow pet dogs on outdoor decks.

As crowds return to eat inside, restaurants are struggling to hire enough help to keep up: The nationwide restaurant hiring crisis is creating long waits and impatient customers, and some are wondering where all the workers have gone.

Downtown restaurants are still seeing business slow as workers return: Restaurants in the downtown business district of Des Moines were largely supported by the weekday lunchtime crowds, but that clientele disappeared during the pandemic.

Following:From concerts to new venues, here’s what to expect at the Iowa State Fair 2021 (so far!)

Gourmet events to add to your calendar

The World Food & Music Festival returns to Western Gateway: In September, Iowa residents will be able to travel around the world without venturing far from home for the 17th edition of this multicultural festival.

This list will be updated throughout the summer – check back as we add more.

Elle Wignall covers meals for the Register. Contact her at ewignall@registermedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ElleWignallDMR.


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