Experience: The first Des Moines area incarnation of Wig and Pen (an Iowa City-based restaurant) is tucked in the elbow of an Ankeny strip mall. The restaurant's name evokes British imagery, and sure enough, customers are greeted by maps of Great Britain upon entering the double doors. The theme continues inside, where Guinness signs fill the walls of the bar area. Framed British records, London Underground paraphernalia and badminton rackets decorate the dining area.
On the Menu: The restaurant calls itself a pizza pub, and rightfully so, since the pizza offerings are impressive. There's The Flying Tomato, a hand-tossed thin crust with fresh sliced tomato on top. Chicago-style stuffed pizza is thick, with sauce on top and right above the crust. They also offer a thin crust pie and have pizza suggestions like the Piccadilly Circus - a pizza decked out with their own barbecue pizza sauce on a thin crust with grilled chicken, red onion and pineapple.
Ten sandwiches are available as well as appetizers, salads, soups, pasta and the British standard, fish and chips.
What We Ordered: As tempting as the pizza was, the sandwiches looked too good to pass up. I tried The Pubber, a half-pound beef sandwich with pepper jack cheese. I asked for it well done and it was cooked to order, delicious and juicy. My dining partner's fish and chips were well seasoned and finger-licking good. Although fries accompanied both dishes, they were scrumptious enough to stand on their own, and possessed the French fry holy trinity: salty, greasy, crunchy.
From the time we ordered to the time we left, our bubbly waitress was friendly and helpful, answering our questions and offering suggestions.
Good if you want: Pizza pub fare. Sure, you can go to any place to get burgers and pizza. But go here for your standards with a hint of Brit on the menu and the walls.
Fish and Chips, $7.99
The Pubber with pepper jack cheese, $7.95
Total, with tax and tip, $20