- 1220 Locust St., Des Moines, IA, 50309
- Overall User Rating:
- (4 ratings)
- 10a.m.-2p.m. Monday-Friday.
- Official Web Site:
Preliminary visit — not yet rated
Lately, the city is experiencing something of a pizza renaissance; the most recent addition to the pizza scene is Flour, a place that offers its own take on the beloved pie.
Who/What? Owner Carly Groben, who also owns Proof, opened the pizza/salad spot last month in the handsome, many-windowed Nationwide Building, near the Western Gateway area of downtown.
Ambience: The gray color scheme subliminally echoes this restaurant’s focus on pizza, which bakes up in the shiny metallic-gray ovens that line the open kitchen. Diners eat at communal tables and benches that are set atop unfinished concrete floors. As with Proof, the furnishings are sparse, yet the windows do a lot to capture energy and ambience from the cityscape outside, including the graceful curve of the Wellmark building, nearby to the north.
Menu: Pizza by the slice (or in this case, by the generous rectangle) goes for $4. You can also order salads — either a romaine salad with ranch dressing or greens with vinaigrette, for $4 (small) or $7 (large). Pizza with a small salad goes for $7.
Pizza selections often change, though Groben mentioned the kitchen usually offers popular combos, such as pepperoni-mushroom, four cheese, sausage and red peppers, potato-rosemary, and shrimp and cherry tomatoes, on a daily basis.
Somewhat similar to pizzas are the Canadas de Azucar; lightly sweet Spanish flat breads topped with either salami, pesto and Brie or with hummus and Brie.
Tastes — first impressions: Flour has carved out its own pizza niche by using a foccacia-style crust. The restaurant’s baker, Jesus Barajas (whose aunt owns Pasteleria Raquel, a Mexican bakery), mixes the dough in the wee hours of the night, then hand stretches it in the morning hours. The result is a wonderfully spongy yet satisfyingly dense crust.
From there it only gets better. Toppings are creatively imagined and beautifully presented. I especially loved the paper-thin slices of potato atop a judicious slather of white sauce, with a horizontal sprinkle of caramelized onions topping it all off. Salads are thoughtfully made and tossed with homemade dressings; the vinaigrette-tossed greens, with sweet-spiced walnuts, feta and Mandarin oranges, proved the more engaging of the two options. Cute little sugar cookies taste as sweet and buttery as they look.
Food this good deserves better than paper plates, and Groben knows it. Her lunches arrive on stylish white tableware, with heavy, high-quality flatware.
Bottom Line: Lovely, handcrafted pizza at affordable lunchtime prices.