In the last year Des Moines has seen a number of new restaurants open. The team behind Café di Scala transformed Flour into Host at 1220 Locust St., while a change in owners and chefs at Proof revitalized the dining experience at 1301 Locust St.
Downtown saw Zombie Burger and City Bakery draw huge lines in the East Village while Buzzard Billy’s returned from the dead near Wells Fargo Arena. The Standard fused tapas and martinis on Third Street. Flarah’s got a new spot in the skywalk and Keller’s took over the Funky Pickle’s old digs.
“I think on the chef-driven, interesting and edgy front, dinners at Proof are something people should look at. They’re pretty darn good,” said Wini Moranville, former food critic for the Des Moines Register and blogger at chezbonne femme.com. “Exile (Brewing Company) is going to shake things up. You can go there, get a nice beer and eat without spending an arm and a leg.”
Moranville has been keeping a close eye on the Western Gateway Area, saying Exile, the revamped Proof, Host and Americana have expanded the dining district Centro and Django helped give birth to.
“I think downtown is pretty much where it’s at. It seems like there’s a lot of energy in the Gateway West and old Walnut Street area. Every time something opens up, it just gets more interesting.”
Moving west, the Full Court Press gang revived the Library Café with a full menu of nachos, burgers and sandwiches. Louie’s Wine Dive merged upscale dishes and wine with a casual atmosphere. Bombay Bicycle Club in Clive ditched its fried food menu to give Sam Auen’s Tacopocalypse a permanent home. Foodies flocked to Shops at Roosevelt, where specialty stores The Cheese Shop and Vom Fass joined La Mie’s fresh bakery offerings.
Jethro’s BBQ ‘n Jambalaya in Waukee gave the popular barbecue joint a third location. Cooper’s on 5th brought “classy comfort” food to Valley Junction and The Other Place transported a University of Northern Iowa favorite to Clive. Fans of French dining got a new casual breakfast, lunch and dinner spot in Clive’s Tartine.