AB Road Eats: Des Moines


Smokey Row Coffee: The whole town seemed to be here when I entered — which just means it’s about as local as I could possibly get. And the menu seems endless so there’s something here for everyone. I enjoyed a hot latte.


La Mie: If people weren’t at Smokey Row, they were having breakfast at La Mie. You have your choice of endless pastries or breakfast options like French toast and eggs. As you can imagine, I needed some greens in my diet so I opted for the veggie scramble, which was extremely satisfying.


The Cheese Shop: Just a couple doors down from La Mie, I stumbled upon The Cheese Shop. Filled with local cheeses, beers and wine, I stocked up on treats for the guys (and for my tour bus). I couldn’t leave without trying their pâté sandwich. I took more than a bite of that one.

B&B Grocery, Meat and Deli: I’m no dummy. I knew I needed to have pork tenderloin at some point in my day. So I headed to B&B for a pork tenderloin sandwich and also left with a Dad’s Killer, as well as an Italian Sandwich. Enough said.

Zombie Burger: I received an overwhelming response of: “You can’t leave Des Moines without having Zombie Burger.” And I didn’t want to disappoint. They’re serving good burgers and really good milkshakes. My personal favorite is the Zombie Joe (I know, shocking).


Fong’s Pizza: You ready for this? Fong’s Pizza is one of the coolest establishment’s I’ve ever been to. And I’m sad it’s not closer to Atlanta. Let me set the scene for you: Chinese decor, tiki drinks and serious pizza. Eating there with my crew was the most fun we’ve had on the tour yet. I’d recommend the Crab Rangoon (it was incredible), we also ordered the Beef and Broccoli, as well as a couple slices of the special Jalapeno Mac and Cheese pizza. I can’t wait to go back.

Images © Alton Brown, 2014


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  2. 2
    Jason Reis

    AB and crew. Not sure what your crew is in the mood for so here’s some great options.

    Breakfast: Per Kup. Simple good food. Local to the bone.

    Lunch: Woody’s BBQ, Flaming mango BBQ, or Que’d
    Manhattan deli- try the wise guy..yum

    Dinner: Tomea and sons. Traditional great Italian fair by a sassy family of servers. Try a steak you’ll be happy you did.
    D’jango-high end French fair
    Centro-modern Italian/American

    Late Drinks and food: Blue Toro – Mexican & tequila
    Taco hangover
    Iowa Tap room – amazing sampling of local beers and good food
    El bait shop

  3. 4

    For a Midwest breakfast (meaning eggs, meat, and carbs) try the Waveland cafe (2 locations). Le Jardin for brunch is wonderful. (Dinner too). ZuZap is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in West Des Moines along with the more popular Cool Basil. Even my Indonesian sister-in-law approved. For bar food we do a place called Maxi’s. Nothing low-cal here but you can’t beat a Maxiburger with some great onion rings (pretty good steaks & fried chicken as well) or a little place called Coopers on 5th. They have wonderfully inventive egg rolls and though small the menu is interesting and tasty!! G-Migs on 5th is good for lunch. Mind you theses are just local hangouts like some of the neighborhood places in any city. we’ve come a long way in the 30 years I’ve been here (grew up in Chicago and lived for several years in Houston my kids live in NYC) so good food has always been important – not expensive but good. Doesn’t matter what it costs as long as each mouthful is enjoyed!

  4. 5

    You truly NEED to visit Tasty Tacos in Des Moines or Ankeny locations….Des Moines family owned…YOU WILL NEVER have a taco like this … EVER…. They are the best!!!! People come from all over the country to savor these “one-of-a-kind” taco!! And, I’m almost sure you would try to recreate these pilllowy bundles !!!

  5. 6

    Glad you started with Smokey Row and La Mie aa well as finished with Fong’s those are definitely the area’s strong showings. If you enjoy Vietnamese food, you should try another DM staple, A Dong, next time you’re in town.

  6. 11
    Denise McCullough

    Zmariks Noodle Zoo West Des Moines ….fast food prices for amazing pasta dishes. My bf loves buffalo mac, I love kirtharaki with feta cheese. They also make some pretty amazing salads including a Greek salad big enough to share. This is my go-to place since I work at the hospital across the street. Alton, you won’t be disappointed.

  7. 13
    Maureen Mitchell

    Harvey’s in Redfield.
    Goldie’s for Tenderloins and shakes (Prairie City)
    Table 128 for fancier dinner
    Manhattan Deli on Ingersol
    Tumea and Son ‘s

  8. 14
    Derrick Ramsey

    Big Al’s Bbq, and for a Bakery stop in at the Highland Park Bakery for some of the best donuts from a local aging bakery shop. Both of them located in Des Moines.

  9. 15

    HOME PLATE DINNER = bland they season nothing my dog would not eat there chicken < being serious / HY-VEE CATERING leaves there food on the line for 8 hours plus = soggy or dried and that's what they serve u in the café side HILL TOP DINNER has no taste and is over priced PERKINS = no service cold soggy or just to dried to eat BONANZA = food poisoning / dried out food / and worst buffet ever created but they do have good banana bread on buffet<
    NOORWOOD INN BAR AND GRILL = decent food love the hot sausage sandwich recommend everything on it no onion
    PERRY MEADOWS CASINO = nice buffet elegant dinning do leave food on line to long gets cold but decent food

  10. 17

    Jethros is good but my number one favorite food stop in the Des Moines area is 7 Stone Pizza in Waukee. A big wood fired brick oven and the mix of smells is divine. You have the food and the smell of a camp fire all in one. You would regret missing this.

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