Before 5th Street Pub’s recent facelift, the little bar in Valley Junction was a dull spot — void of much character except maybe a neon domestic beer sign here and there.
Now, patrons are greeted by a long, artfully crafted bar that’s fully stocked with any liquor you could imagine, an ample wine list, a nice selection of beers (with mostly craft brews on tap) and a flurry of attentive staff. Next to the bar is an open kitchen, where two cooks whip up an array of slightly dressed-up bar foods in front of waiting tables.
Tables, topped with the same highly polished wood as the bar (made from locally-cut trees), line the long and narrow restaurant, casting a warm glow and providing plenty of seating. That’s a good thing, because when we stopped by on a Wednesday evening, the place was completely packed with patrons of all ages. We found a table tucked into a corner near the front of the bar, and a server, clad in a bright yellow T-shirt, stopped over immediately. Within a couple minutes, she was back with a cold Fat Tire draw.
As my friend and I took in the action around us, we noticed the plethora of flat screen TVs lining the walls — more than a dozen in the small space. As we commented on how easy it would be to watch our favorite team, the table behind us invited us to come back later to watch a Hawkeye game. This place is friendly, too.
The food was another welcome surprise. Instead of the frozen pizzas and bags of chips the place formerly offered, a full menu — complete with homemade soups, steaks, pork, sandwiches, pasta and more — promises to satisfy the hungriest customer.
My friend was headed to the gym after our visit, so we kept it light and ordered the crab cakes off the appetizer menu for $7.95. The two fat cakes were perfectly dense, full of flavor and topped with a chipotle aioli sauce, served with a slightly spicy Asian slaw. They were delicious.
We vowed to stop back again, especially after seeing plate after plate of food carried by us to other tables.
The bottom line is, G. Mig’s 5th Street Pub has blossomed into a reliable spot for a solid meal and a cold beer — with great service to boot.
G. Mig's 5th Street Pub
Find it: 128 Fifth St., West Des Moines
Hours: 3 p.m.-midnight Monday; 11 a.m.-midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-midnight Sunday.
Info: 225-4550, gmigs.com