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GREATEST POLL on earth
By Shane Goodman, Jared Curtis, Matt Miller, Jim Duncan and Chris Sumner
Best of Des Moines” readers’ poll has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Hundreds of the certificates continue to be proudly displayed in businesses throughout central Iowa, some dating back since the first poll. Receiving this recognition is an honor that businesses and people appreciate, and they should. The opinions of many of our 75,000 weekly readers make a difference in many facets of life in and around Des Moines. These are the voices of the people, and we are pleased to provide the “Greatest Poll on Earth” and present the findings.
The polling process was simple. We ran ads in Cityview, on our Web site and in our e-mail blasts for six weeks, encouraging readers to vote online for their choices in five categories featuring 176 questions. A total of 6,743 votes were cast this year, a new all-time high. The question our readers responded to the most was “Best Burger,” proving that central Iowans are serious about their beef. The question least responded to was “Best Cityview Staffer You Would Like To Publicly Flog.” We think most of are readers weren’t sure what “flog” meant, and passed just to be safe.
Each year we face a handful of detractors who question the validity of the poll, often radio DJs with listening audiences smaller than the number of votes this poll receives. They obviously don’t like the results. We don’t always like them either, as they create awkward situations with our news sources and advertisers. But as we frequently remind everyone, these are our readers’ choices, not ours.
So with that, we congratulate the winners and
Runners-up whose dedication to their crafts has earned the respect of our readers and gained them the title of “The
Best New Restaurant
As Half Court Press’ (a sister company of Full Court Press) newest contribution toward making Des Moines a distinctive dining destination, Fong’s honors the second century of Chinese restaurants in downtown with a stylish rehab of the long-lived King Ying Low building. The state’s
Best Tiki bar and an eclectic fusion menu keep the doors open to the wee hours. 223 Fourth St., 323-3333.
Runners-up: Smashburger, Sakari Sushi Lounge
Enosh Kelley, Bistro Montage
Kelley moved to Des Moines after 9/11 when many of his co-workers were killed at the World Trade Center. He has been
Bestowing culinary serendipity upon Iowans ever since. This year, a supplier accidentally shipped him a 50-pound crate of calf brains. He turned them into three marvelous applications that customers now request. His 50-seater, our first French cafe in more than 30 years, keeps getting better. He recently purchased several thousand dollars in sous vide hardware to add some Momofuku and Thomas Keller-inspired touches. 2724 Ingersoll Ave., 557-1924.
Runners-up: George Fomaro – Centro, Django, Gateway Market Café, South Union Deli; Tony Lemmo – Café Di Scala
Best Kept Secret on the Local Restaurant Scene
B & B Grocery Meat & Deli
This Sevastapol icon represents a way of life gone with the wind — personal service, butchering to order, pork that has not been injected with a double-digit solution of chemical water. The deli service includes things that most people quit eating two generations ago. Where else can you find a choice amongst headcheese? Or pork tenderloin made only from the actual tenderloin? 2001 S.E. Sixth St., 243-7607.
Runners-up: Uncle Wendell’s, Flying Mango
Best Wait Staff
Centro edges out Bistro Montage this year, showing that good service applies to large restaurants just as truly as to cozy neighborhood spots. Centro’s edge might well be that their fish bowl windows look out from the bar, making waiting for a table an exercise in seeing and being seen. 1011 Locust St. 244-7033.
Runners-up: Bistro Montage, Tursi’s Latin King
Best American Food
Our readers love the Drake Diner year after year, and so do we. Modeled after the legendary Fog City Diner in San Francisco with chrome and steel, neon, checkers and a crack juke box, this Des Moines icon serves blue plate specials and grill work that continues to satisfy. 1111 25th St., 277.1111
Runners-up: Maxie’s, Legends
Tursi’s Latin King
This is always Des Moines’ toughest competition, with so many classic places to choose amongst. Tursi’s Latin King returns to the throne for the fourth time in five years with old fashioned, family owned and operated values, not to mention their New York City recipes. 2200 Hubbell Ave., 266-4466.
Runners-up: Café di Scala, Tumea & Sons
When it comes to Mexican food, El Rodeo treats you like a favorite guest with a huge menu that covers Mexican and Mexican-American cuisines from chips to flan. In spirit, this place has annexed Margaritaville, without losing a single shaker of salt. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: El Aguila Real, Tasty Tacos
From the lemongrass essence of tom yum gai to the last sip of jasmine tea, this place is beloved for its bargain prices and happy faces. Liam Anivat’s Eastside café has been educating Des Moines’ palates to the joys of the world’s hottest chilies, cut with the sweetness of coconut milk, or the tang of green papaya. 1254 E. 14th St., 262-4658.
Runners-up: Cool Basil, Ban Thai
After beginning an exceptional dim sum service, Des Moines’ oldest Chinese restaurant shot past the chains, the buffets and frequent winner Café Su this year to become the town’s favorite Chinese restaurant. Multiple treatments of sticky rice, tripe, chicken feet and taro root add some exotic options to more familiar little “points of the heart,” like shrimp dumplings and spare ribs. 2717 Ingersoll Ave., 244-8813.
Runners-up: Café Su, Tsing Tsau
Taki Japanese Steakhouse
Combine a teppanyaki steakhouse with the city’s most comprehensive sushi bar and you will create a winner. Taki proves it, serving the decadent likes of uni (roe of sea urchin) and toro (fatty underbelly of blue fin tuna). This place is a dining experience with both presentation and flavor. 2677 86th St., Urbandale, 331-3030.
Runners-up: Miyabi9, Ohana Steakhouse
Miyabi Mike Yamamoto is one of a handful of licensed blowfish chefs in America. He learned his trade in Osaka, the culinary capital of Japan and practiced in Los Angeles and Boston before bringing the most modern of the culinary arts to Iowa. 512 E. Grand Ave. 288-8885.
Runners-up: Taki, Waterfront
A Dong is our voters’ favorite place for pho, and a whole lot mo, including fresh exotic vegetables and spices, a huge selection for vegetarians, and Southeast Asian drink specials. 1511 High St., 284-5632.
Runners-up: Saigon Cafè, Lucky Dragon
Best Place to Chow After 2 a.m.
Most anything tastes good after a night of drinking, but a simple walk-up counter with pizza by the slice has proven to be the choice for Des Moines nightlifers come closing time. Our readers know this place serves great pies whether they have had a few drinks or not. 2613 Ingersoll Ave., 288-7227.
Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza, Perkins
801 Steak & Chop House
Winner of the highly acclaimed DiRoNA Award, 801 is proud to be the first Iowa restaurant to ever be granted this distinguished recognition, which honors restaurants exemplifying the highest quality standards in all aspects of the dining experience. Our readers also appreciate the USDA prime steaks from Stock Yards, the choice of discriminating chefs and demanding consumers. One visit, and you will know why. 801 Grand Ave., 288-6000.
Runners-up: Rube’s, Texas Road House
Our readers appreciate generous plates of home grown bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns and lots of love. And those are the reasons they choose the Waveland as their favorite place for breakfast. A long-time staff and an “everybody-knows-your-name” friendliness have helped to pack the place for decades. 4708 University Ave., 279-4341.
Runners-up: Drake Diner, Perkins
Mars has earned this designation from our readers for four years in a row in one of the most competitive food and beverage categories. Des Moines is truly blessed with an original coffeehouse culture that most cities only dream about. Starbuck’s didn’t even show this year! Mars features catered treats, a wine list featuring rare East Euro bargains and free Wi-Fi for Drake area residents and more. 2318 University Ave., 369-MARS.
Runners-up: Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure, Smokey Row
It would only make sense that the
Best coffeehouse would serve the
Best coffee. And few things make more sense than Mars. 2318 University Ave., 369-MARS.
Runners-up: Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure, Starbucks
Best Place for a $5 Lunch
Our readers have favored these restaurants many times through the years for an inexpensive lunch. Legislators and other bargain hunters seem to appreciate their familiar Mexican-American menu with unique taco shells. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: High Life Lounge, Subway
Best Place for a $10 Dinner
Fifth Street Pub
Giff Wagner’s Valley Junction pub has enjoyed a loyal following for years, especially Cubs fans. His incredibly inexpensive steak dinners have become part of the Valley Junction Farmers Market. In this economic downturn, people have discovered the bargain menu is good for any day of year, too. 128 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 255-4550.
Runners-up: A Dong, Tasty Tacos
Best Power Lunch
Business leaders, visiting celebs and politicians continue to adore this place, and so do our readers. Centro continues to please diners with new additions and dishes now becoming known as classics for all food lovers, proving that lunch doesn’t have to be burgers and fries. 1011 Locust St., 244-7033.
Runners-up: Court Ave. Brewing Co., Uncle Wendell’s
Waterfront Seafood Market Restaurant
Our readers appreciate a retail fish market with a sit-down restaurant and a trendy bar. Did we mention that the seafood is so good that some other top restaurants actually buy their fresh fish from Waterfront? Daily specials continue to pack this place. The clam chowder and the gumbo are legendary. 2900 University Ave., West Des Moines, 223-5106.
Runners-up: Splash Seafood Bar & Grill, Cool Basil
The once and forever king (20 years in a row), B-Bops keeps Des Moines happy with nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll, fresh-grilled burgers, fries that stay hot, chili, pork loin fritters, chicken and shakes. These burgers would be popular at any price, but the real winner is your billfold, with quarter-pound burgers, your way, for a little more than $2. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Smashburger, Maxie’s
The rookie on Fourth Street beats out perennial winner Big Tomato with an eclectic selection of pies. Yeasty, medium thick crusts are hand crafted and treated with fusion ingredients. 223 Fourth St., 323-3333.
Runners-up: Big Tomato, Felix & Oscar’s
Fried nutty rolls take the donut art to a new level at this icon of Highland Park. Voters turned to the tried and true this year — where else can you find two dozen homemade pastries for $20? 3615 Sixth Ave. 282-4059.
Runners-up: La Mie, South Union
We sometimes cringe when our readers select chains as their favorites, but the Cheesecake Factory is that good. Again edging out two of Des Moines finest cafés, this restaurant provides a pleasing option with a menu that takes half an hour to read. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 457-9888.
Runners-up: Bistro Montage, Café di Scala
Local independents swept the top three spots in the smokehouse category this year with Uncle Wendell’s snaring top honors. Besides his slow-smoked briskets, pork shoulders, ribs and sausage, Wendell adds some special touches. He bakes his own breads, he uses local sauce from the awarding winning Russ & Frank’s, and he makes fabulous dishes like jambalaya with smokehouse meats. He even inspired Wini Moranville to write that his ribs were “suck-off-the-bone good.” 2716 Ingersoll Ave., 288-3207.
Runners-up: Jethro’s, Woody’s
With neighborhood stores all over the metro, this cafeteria-style restaurant has become the dominant choice of our readers for homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Each location offers predictable food and service but with a slightly different atmostphere. Who else could make us forget that a Walgreens once existed in its spot? Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Manhattan, Jason’s Deli
Best Onion Rings
This West Des Moines institution repeats last year’s win and makes it three out of four. Hand cut, hand breaded and golden fried, these little addictions are complimentary accompaniments to most Maxie dishes! 1311 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, 223-1463.
Runners-up: The Tavern, Ted’s Coney Island
Best French Fries
More than 30 years ago, Ray Kroc risked McDonald’s reputation and changed the food world forever by betting customers would accept frozen processed fries. The food police are forcing the chain to change its cooking oil, for the third time now, but we bet they will be back here again next year. Unlike most other fast food competitors, McD has resisted coating its pure potatoes with flours and starches. McMultiple locations.
Runners-up: B-Bops, Ted’s Coney Island
Best Chicken Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings
As one of the top 10 fastest growing restaurant chains in the country, these guys are doing something right. With 14 dipping sauces, trivia games, big screen, high-def TV and boisterous spirit, it has become the place for wings in West Des Moines and Ankeny. 6925 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, 221-9464; 1690 S.E. Delaware Ave., #117, Ankeny, 964-1029.
Runners-up: Jethro’s, Hooters
The Library Café
Not even close. The Library serves a number of great items, but our readers again overwhelmingly stated their love for the nachos. Try the smoked chicken variety for some kick. 3506 University Ave., 255-0433.
Runners-up: Jethro’s, Legends
Best Family Restaurant
Modeled after legendary Fog City Diner in San Francisco, which was modeled on 1930’s nostalgia, this place cuts through generations with a consistent mantra — comfort food comforts. Blue-plate specials and good old American grill work star. 1111 25th St., 277-1111.
Runners-up: Maxie’s, Machine Shed
No soup for you! Not here, as a friendly staff serves it by the bowl or cup. We love dipping our sandwiches in the cheese soup. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Panera, Gateway Market Café
Best Bar Food
As a faithful and ongoing supporter of fresh and local foods and humanely raised animals, Star Bar proves that unique food, fair prices and commendable service can compete in a world of chain restaurants. And the bar food is good, too. 2837 Ingersoll Ave., 288-1405.
Runners-up: High Life Lounge, Third Base
Best Microbrewed Beer
Court Avenue Brewing Co.
After two years of Raccoon River reign, beer enthusiasts have spoken and re-crowned Court Avenue Brewing Co. the place to try a truly unique crafted beer. Stop in and enjoy one of their seven mainstays. Two Rivers Light, Belgian White, Kaplan Hat HefeWeizen, Topping Pale Ale, Honest Lawyer I.P.A, Pointer Brown Ale and BlackHawk Stout, as well as their selection of seasonal brews. Cheers! 309 Court Ave., 282-2739.
Runners-up: Raccoon River Brewing Co., Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
Best Bistro Fare
Enosh Kelley’s place keeps winning this award for good reason. He has always kept the most French of the city’s kitchens, with classical treatments of duck, skate and beef. His French-inspired cuisine adds to a menu that changes often, keeping our readers coming back for more. 2724 Ingersoll Ave., 557-1924.
Runners-up: Django, Grand Piano Bistro
Star Bar goes far beyond the wings and popcorn clichés into the brave new pub world of seared ahi, pot stickers and BBQ egg rolls. 2837 Ingersoll Ave., 288-1405.
Runners-up: Trostel’s Dish, Café di Scala
Best Restaurant Period
No question about it, Des Moines is an Italian town at the dinner table. Chef George Formaro’s showpiece café combines a fresh and local philosophy with New York City style, coal-fired pizza ovens and painstaking scratch cooking. That’s adds up to back-to-back-to-back championships for Centro. 1011 Locust St., 244-7033.
Runners-up: Bistro Montage, Tursi’s Latin King
Best Small Dish
Our readers love big dishes of food, which is obvious in the number of votes cast in other food questions. But they appreciate good food in smaller plates, too, and this is becoming more apparent each year. The Trostels redefined appetizers in Des Moines, and Dish focuses exclusively on small plates with fusion, Asian, continental and downhome American takes on bites that our readers continue to seek. 12851 University Ave., Clive, 221-3474.
Runners-up: Continental, Star Bar
Best Wine List
Chef Andrew Meek crafted a price-conscious, trend-conscious wine bar, and voters responded. The café features wine flights for the curious while the no-corkage arrangement with the downstairs wine store allows a larger selection for those on a budget — there is little overlap with the restaurant wine list. 208 Court Ave., 282-3663.
Runners-up: Bistro Montage, Café di Scala
Best Beer Selection
el Bait Shop
Was there any question? With more than 100 beers on tap, more than 100 bottle brands and some tasty Fish Tacos, el Bait Shop is the ideal place to take beer enthusiasts if they are hungry or not. While enjoying a cold one, try one of their sandwiches including the El Garlic Bait Burger, the Grilled Pineapple Chicken and the Asian Fried Chicken. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 284-1970.
Runners-up: Old Chicago, Royal Mile
Best Spot for a First Date
The top three choices here say something about voters. More of you think first dates are about coffee and conversation than fine dining or pubbing. But just slightly more. 2318 W. University Ave., 369-6277
Runners-up: Centro, Star Bar
This is a no brainer — it’s the only patio in town designed by super star architect Greg Wattier and the only patio on Court Avenue wide enough to stagger tables. El Patio takes second with its memorable oak tree charm, and Joe’s takes third for designing a place to keep children entertained. 316 Court Ave., 282-2995.
Runners-up: El Patio, Joe’s Crab Shack
Best Men’s Clothing
G & L Clothing
After almost a century of clothing men in central Iowa, G & L Clothing is still going strong with a win in the “
Best Men’s Clothing” category. And if you hate the smell of fresh air, you can shop at their online store, www.gandlclothing.com. 1801 Ingersoll Ave., 243-7431.
Runners-up: Von Maur, Mr. B’s Clothing
Best Women’s Clothing
Von Maur pulls off another win in the “
Best Women’s Clothing” category. Our readers seem to appreciate consistency, and this store certainly provides it. 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, 223-1311.
Runners-up: Younkers, Kohl’s
Best Thrift Shop
Goodwill has singlehandedly made it cool to buy thrift items, and in this economy, it’s good to be thrifty. Choose from a large quantity of items varying from clothes and shoes to dishes and furniture and everything in between. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Bargain Basket, Salvation Army
Best Vintage Consignment
Atomic Garage gives you such a “Blast From The Past” that we’re surprised Brendan Frazier doesn’t shop there. Don’t believe us, stop by Valley Junction and see for yourself. The store offers some of the most unique clothing items anywhere. And they buy clothes, too. 127 5th St., West Des Moines, 274-8787.
Runners-up: Dorothea’s Closet Vintage, Fashion Junction, Vitae Design Collective
Best Local Clothing Boutique
This store offers not just clothes, but a shopping experience. Where else can you sip on wine while you sift through tons of labels that are hard to find anywhere else in Iowa? 432 E. Locust St., 243-0045.
Runners-up: Raygun, Back Country Outfitters
Best Bridal Shop
Weddings by Design
The only things women like more than shopping are weddings. Shopping for a wedding — get out! In just its seventh year, Weddings by Design has made its way to the top of this list with its comfortable environment, beautiful selections and trained consultants who understand the importance of the event. 2020 Grand Ave., Suite 400, West Des Moines, 515-222-9662. www.weddingsbydesigndm.com
Runners-up: Schaffer’s Bridal, & Formal, David’s Bridal Shop
Best Purse Store
Women love to shop. And for this, they need money and a great purse for their boyfriend or husband to carry around as they do so. Our readers voted Lala Handbags as the
Best place to buy these things, otherwise known as purses, handbags and wallets. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Von Maur, Lillians
If they are one of the
Best places for clothing, one might think they are the
Best place for shoes. Some might even think shoes are clothing, but that is another issue altogether. Voters picked Von Maur as the place to get your kicks. 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, 223-1311.
Runners-up: DSW, Younkers
Best New Store
Like a zombie slowly digging its way from the grave, Finder’s Creepers has grown into a truly unique shop. Owners Erin Bollman and Tracy Miller created a place that offers a variety of items not found anywhere else. From a wide range of horror movie themed T-shirts to a plethora of spooky art from both local and national artists, Finder’s Creepers has everything your scary, black heart desires. If you’re a fan of horror movies, death metal, bones, jewelry, creepy paintings, demented toys or grotesque knick-knacks for around the house, Finder’s Creepers will put the evil in your retail. 515 18th St., 288-9815.
Runners-up: Ancient Ways, Bass Pro Shop
Best Music Store
ZZZ Records is proof that some people still prefer the warmth of an LP to the digitally cleaned CD, while some kids are probably thinking, “What’s a CD?” This is the place to go when the big corporations don’t have the music you love or when you just want to contribute to keeping the local scene alive. 2200 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 284-1401.
Best Buy, CD Warehouse
Best Place to Rent a Movie
As predicted by Cityview… and “Terminator 3”… the machines have risen. Red Box has taken over and is not showing signs of slowing down. How could it for a dollar per night? Multiple locations.
Best Place Ever, Blockbuster
Best Store for Gamers
With more than 6,100 stores located throughout the United States and 17 countries, GameStop is the world’s largest video game retailer. They claim to hold a passion for gaming, a commitment to the industry and a disciplined business perspective to continuously drive value with shareholders, customers, vendors and employees. Our readers like the games. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Clicks Gaming Center, Gamers
Best Electronics Store
Best Buy. As other electronic stores come in and out of our lives without warning, you have always been there for us. Through this ever-so-hectic digital transition, you were the one we could turn to with our electronic needs. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: RadioShack, Audio Labs
Best Book Store
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble has become the Internet’s largest bookstore with more than 1 million titles for immediate delivery. Barnes & Noble has also become the choice of our readers for books, videos, music and even PC and video games. Whether or not you’re in touch with that newfangled Internet thing or want to be nostalgic and visit the store, this place has you covered. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway., West Des Moines, 453-2980; 4550 University Ave., West Des Moines, 221-9171.
Runners-up: Half Price Books, Beaverdale Books
Best Used Bookstore
Half Price Books
Looking for a great read at half the price? If so, Half Price Books has you covered from the opening line to the last page. Founders Ken Gjermre and Pat Anderson opened their first store in 1972 in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 40 years later, the company has 16 stores nationwide, with each store carrying a unique variety of new and used books, movies and games. 8801 University Ave., Clive, 224-4429.
Runners-up: Well Read Books, Beaverdale Books
Best Car Wash
Mister Car Wash
We don’t think there is such a thing as a bad car wash, but our readers are kind of picky about how they polish their Porsches and Lambos. For more years than we can count, Mister Car Wash has been the place our readers have picked to tidy up their vehicles. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Soaks, Karl Chevrolet
Best Auto Shop
Terry’s Auto Service
Now even if you don’t know a thing about cars or car repair, you can send friends to the shop that was voted the
Best in central Iowa. Just tell them that you would fix their car but you’re too busy and point them in the direction of Terry’s Auto Service. 1240 Northwest 75th St., Clive, 255-4041.
Runners-up: Karl Chevrolet, Drake Garage
Best Car Dealership (Domestic)
Tired of that old clunker? Stop by Karl Chevrolet — which has been recognized as one of the elite car dealers in the metro area — for a premium selection at great prices. 1101 S.E. Oralabor Road, Ankeny, (800) 622-8264.
Runners-up: Ramsey Auto Center, Willis Auto Campus
Best Car Dealership (Foreign)
Toyota of Des Moines
Seeing as how this dealership is leading sales in nearly every category, this win comes as no surprise. More and more people are buying Toyotas, and spectacular service department and knowledgeable salespeople make the buying experience a pleasure. 4475 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, (888) 593-1952.
Runners-up: Willis Auto Campus, European Motors
Best Motorcycle Shop
When our readers think, “motorcycle,” they think Harley-Davidson. And when they think, “the
Best,” they think Big Barn Harley-Davidson. With a long, rich history in Missouri and Iowa, Big Barn Harley-Davidson has a mission of implementing honesty, loyalty, integrity, responsibility and friendliness to everyone who stops by. Our readers agree. 81 N.W. 49th Place, 265-4444.
Runners-up: Struthers Brothers-Kawasaki, Garvis Honda
Best Bike Shop
Bicycling is on the rise, and Bike World’s three locations make it extremely convenient for bike enthusiasts to purchase anything from bikes and parts to attire so you can be prepped for all of your rides. 5970 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines, 222-1880.
Runners-up: Rasmussen Bike Shop, Irwin’s Bike and Sports
Best Liquor Store
Ingersoll Wine and Spirits
Ingersoll Wine and Spirits carries all the favorite liquors and beers of Cityview readers, making it the winner of
Best liquor store. We are talking fine brews from Germany, England, Ireland and Mexico as well as a huge assortment of micro-brews. Their beer inventory changes daily, so give them a call before you stop in. They also take special orders and can likely find whatever you want. 1300 50th St., West Des Moines, 327-9191, 3500 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 255-3191.
Runners-up: Hy-Vee, Central City Liquors
Best Wine Store
Ingersoll Wine and Spirits
With more than 20 years of retail wine experience, Ingersoll Wine and Spirits is more than “Your Neighborhood Wine Store,” as their motto modestly states. Any place with more than 2,500 different wines provides an answer for all tastes and budgets. Weekly wine tastings help bring their customers — our readers — to enjoy what they do all the more. 1300 50th St., West Des Moines, 327-9191; 3500 Ingersoll Ave., 255-3191.
Runners-up: WineStyles of West Glen, Hy-Vee
Charles R. Walgreen Sr. started it all more than 100 years ago in a single building measuring just 50 feet by 20 feet. Today one can purchase items at more than 6,200 Walgreens stores. Mr. Walgreen would be proud to see he has won Cityview’s “Best Pharmacy” for 2010. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Hy-Vee, Bauder Pharmacy
Best Health Food Store
Campbell’s is a perennial winner in this category, so we are hoping that you have all had the chance to get to one of their three locations. This is your source for local, organic food and a wide range of health promoting products including vitamins and supplements. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: New City Market, Gateway Market
Best Grocery Store
With 228 retail stores in eight states (headquarters based in West Des Moines), these employee-owned stores offer bakeries, delicatessens, banks, florists, pharmacies, gas and helpful smiles. Now that’s a no-brainer. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Dahl’s, Fareway
Best Furniture Store
People are always talking about making a house into a home. Well, once you have bought or built your house, the next logical step would be to come to Homemakers. Our readers overwhelmingly agree.
10215 Douglas Ave., 276-2772.
Runners-up: Slumberland, Artis Furniture Co.
Best Jewelry Store
Family owned since 1871, Josephs Jewelers is where Cityview readers head for excellence in jewelry. Josephs has 19 registered jewelers who provide quality merchandise along with a reputation for quality, trust, integrity and value. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: 2AU, Anglo International
Best Antique Store
A Okay Antiques
A Okay Antiques does just about everything you could ask for from an antique store. They specialize in turn of the century oak, juke boxes, slot machines, advertising, toys, jewelry, architecturally designed furniture, Scandinavian design, art, sculptures and lighting. To go along with that, they buy and sell daily, offer prop rentals and tag sales. 124 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 255-2525.
Runners-up: Brass Armadillo, Porch Light Antiques
Best Art Gallery
Located along the hustle and bustle of Ingersoll Avenue, Moberg Gallery has made a tradition of making our “
Best of Des Moines” issue. The gallery has approximately 40 artists, along with a wide variety of corporate collections that are located throughout the Midwest. Our readers’ poll shows that fans like Moberg Gallery’s services of collection development and curation, on-site art consultation, framing and presentation, along with a bevy of other services. 2921 Ingersoll Ave., 279-9191.
Runners-up: Olson-Larsen Galleries, Kavanough Gallery
Best Hair Salon
Salon Utopia chooses to be different, and it shows, offering complimentary tea from Gong Fu Tea, Belgian dark chocolates and free Wi-Fi. A visit to this salon is truly more of an experience than it is a service. 1208 42nd St., Des Moines, 274-1888.
Runners-up: Blondie’s, Salon Tec
Sahar’s Salon & Day Spa
Sahar Alshash wanted to bring her luxurious spas and shopping experiences from abroad to the people of Des Moines. Our readers made her spas the
Best in central Iowa. Thanks Sahar! 4100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 255-7559.
Runners-up: Spa at West Glen, Estilo Salon & Day Spa
Best Tanning Salon
Most people look better with a tan. Tan World helps do it right by using the latest technological advances in premium skin care and tanning product research while carrying a premium line of tanning and skin care products. Their certified tanologists have complete knowledge of these products and can recommend the right product for you. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Visual Impact, Soleil Tan Spa
Best Place for Aesthetic Surgery
Heartland Plastic Surgery
Maybe before we go tanning, we can all take a fieldtrip to Heartland to get some touch-ups. We could all stand to look a little better, some of us more than others. Aside from his skill and experience, Dr. Eugene Cherny has created a unique environment of total acceptance of patients as they are, with the philosophy of non-judgementalism. That and you can get pretty much anything on your body tucked, lifted, lasered and repaired. 10611 Hickman Road, 254-2265.
Runners-up: Skin Solutions Laser Enhancement Center, The Iowa Clinic
Best Outdoor or Sporting Goods Store
Scheels All Sports
Scheels offers Iowa’s largest selection of sports, sportswear and footwear under one roof. Three acres of potatoes were the seed for the first Scheels store in 1902. Frederick A. Scheel, a German immigrant, used the $300 he earned from that first harvest of potatoes as the down payment. Today, after more than a million potato harvests, Scheels is a 23-store operation with stores in seven states including North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and Nebraska. And we understand why. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, Building 4000, West Des Moines, 727-4065.
Runners-up: Back Country Outfitters, Bass Pro Shop
With a name like Goode, how could they be anything less? For the second straight year, Goode has won this category. Until someone gets smart and names their company Greate Greenhouses, it looks like Goode will be the
Beste. 1050 N.E. 50th Ave., 262-6504.
Runners-up: Heirloom Gardens, Inc., Herndon’s Des Moines Seed Co.
Best Locally Owned Store
Tandem Brick Gallery
If you are looking for that gift to give to a special someone, Tandem Brick is the place. This gift shop/framing store is a bright and colorful gallery that focuses on gifts beyond the ordinary. 2722 Ingersoll Ave., 282-1031.
Runners-up: Back Country Outfitters,
Best Place Ever
Best Shopping District
Even though central Iowans have Jordan Creek and West Glen, our readers voted for East Village yet again. The East Village gives the east side of downtown Des Moines an identity as a progressive, pedestrian friendly neighborhood that is both hip and functional with unique retail shops, restaurants, businesses and some of Iowa’s most historically significant buildings. Activity abounds with annual festivals, street markets, one-of-a-kind retail shopping, a diverse bar scene and creative professionals who want to live downtown.
Runners-up: Valley Junction, Jordan Creek Town Center
Best Flower Shop
Boesen The Florist
When readers think of flowers, they think of Boesen’s. A multiple year winner, Boesen The Florist was established in a greenhouse on Beaver Avenue back in 1923. Over the years, this family operation continues to prosper as the leader in local flower retail. In good times and bad, flowers make powerful statements, and Boesen’s does, too. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Irene’s Flowers, Hy-Vee
Best Pet Store
PETCO is the premiere place to take your four-legged, furry friend to find everything their animal hearts desire. Founded in 1965, PETCO has more than 1,000 stores nationwide and is the only pet store to serve all 50 states. Offering more than 10,000 different pet related items, it’s the ideal place to find anything and everything for dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Pet Smart, Iowa Pet Food and Supply
Best Adult Store
Romantix racks up another one — another victory that is. Cityview readers know how to spice up their love lives with lubes, lotions, videos and erotic toys that will satisfy even the most closeted desires. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Christal’s, Doctor John’s Lingerie Boutique
Best Western International is the world’s largest hotel brand with more than 4,000 hotels in 80 countries. The brand prides itself in each hotel’s charm and local appeal while maintaining a commitment to quality, service and value. Their dedication has paid off with our readers.
Runners-up: Marriott, Suites of 800 Locust
Best Mom & Pop
B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli
B & B Grocery, Meat & Deli is the epitome of a mom and pop store. It has been family owned and operated since Archie and John Brooks opened it in May 1922.
Since then, five generations of the Brooks family have been dedicated to serving the Best variety of quality meats and the freshest deli items to the Des Moines Community. 2001 S.E. 6th St., 243-7607.
Runners-up: Uncle Wendell’s, Frackleberrys
Best Iowa Product
Templeton Rye Whiskey
Our readers have again chosen the fine whiskey from Templeton Rye as the
Best Iowa product. Beanpod Candles was close, but you can’t drink candles, now can you? www.templetonrye.com.
Runners-up: Beanpod Candles, Millstream Brewing Co.
Best Gift Shop
Tandem Brick Gallery
If you never know where to find a great gift for someone, now you do. Visit Tandem Brick’s gift section with items such as greeting cards and candles or visit the framing section that showcases original artwork and accessories. 2722 Ingersoll Ave., 282-1031.
Culture & nightlife
Best Annual Event
Winestock at Dale Valley Vineyard & Winery
Move over, Iowa State Fair. Central Iowans have a new favorite summertime activity. With two stages that feature some of the state’s
Best bands, mouth-watering food, beautiful scenery and some of the Hawkeye State’s most delicious wines, it’s no wonder Winestock has grown in popularity every year. This is one summer tradition that is here to stay. This year’s event kicks off July 10 at noon. 3097 285th St., Stuart, 523-2199.
Runners-up: Iowa State Fair, Des Moines Art Festival
Best Annual Tent/Block Party
A repeat winner, Ingersoll Live is great way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Des Moines’ coolest neighborhood. The people are as eclectic as the bars, restaurants and shops that line the street. And for the people who don’t know, Ingersoll Live is the annual block party in August where thousands of people attend, eat some food, drink some beer, listen to some music and bask in the coolness that is Ingersoll Avenue.
Runners-up: Beaverdale Fall Festival, 515 Alive
Best Place to Take Visitors
Salisbury House & Gardens
An iconic piece of Des Moines history, the Salisbury House is a 42-room architectural wonder built between 1923 and 1928 by pioneer cosmetics magnate, Carl Weeks. He and his wife Edith modeled the House after King’s House in Salisbury England. Public tours and educational programs are provided, and this breathtaking place can hold your upcoming parties and weddings, too. 4025 Tonawanda Drive, 274-1777.
Runners-up: East Village, Des Moines Art Center
Best Place To People-Watch
Iowa State Fair
Fried food, animal testicles and East Side Night… Oh my!
Runners-up: Downtown Farmers’ Market, Pride Fest
Best Place To Take Your Kids
Science Center of Iowa
Why not take your kids to a place that is both fun and informative? The Science Center of Iowa (SCI) is a center devoted to lifelong learning featuring six dynamic experience platforms where visitors can explore and experiment. In addition to the experience platforms, SCI showcases a 216-seat Blank IMAX Dome Theater, a 175-seat John Deere Adventure Theater featuring live performances and a 50-foot domed Star Theater. It’s full of fun for all ages. 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 274-6868.
Runners-up: Adventureland, Blank Park Zoo
Des Moines Art Center
Once again the Des Moines Art Center holds down the title of “
Best Museum.” The Art Center presents thought-provoking exhibitions and educational programs, as well as hands-on studio art classes. Their current exhibition, “News & Nightmares” looks at 19th-century wood engraved illustrations created for the mass media from the perspective of two radically different artists — Winslow Homer and Max Ernst. The show runs until June 13. 4700 Grand Ave., 277-4405.
Runners-up: State Historical Museum, Science Center of Iowa
Best Place to Catch a Flick
Fleur Cinema & Café
The coolest theater in town has taken this award multiple times, and it doesn’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon. A strong audience following packs the Fleur on a weekly basis, even if it’s showing the same film as one of the local multiplexes. This week alone they are showing films with more than 20 Academy Award nominations. From award-winning independents to documentaries and foreign treats, the Fleur Cinema is the theatre of choice for anyone who calls himself or herself a film aficionado. 4545 Fleur Drive, 287-4545.
Runners-up: Jordan Creek Century 20, Varsity Theatre
Best Theatrical Value
Civic Center of Greater Des Moines
Since 1979, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines has grown from a dream of a small group of local business leaders to the cornerstone of the downtown Des Moines redevelopment initiative. If a show has been on Broadway, chances are the Civic Center will lure its traveling tour to town. The Civic Center has brought mega selling shows like “The Lion King” and “Wicked,” but also focuses on bringing quality entertainment to local theater goers no matter if it’s a one-man show or large-scale productions. Their current shows include “Runt of the Litter” and “August: Osage County.” 221 Walnut St., 246-2300.
Runners-up: Des Moines Playhouse, Des Moines Social Club
Best New Bar
The über hip and swanky lounge narrowly defeated the karate chop of Fong’s Pizza to take “
Best New Bar.” The Lime Lounge claimed its stake on the Ingersoll Avenue bar scene late last year but has attracted customers with its inventive, yet sparse décor. Enjoy a number of tasty martinis and dance the night away to some of the
Best music in town. The Lime Lounge won’t sour your nightlife adventure. 2706 Ingersoll Ave., 333-4643.
Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza, Heroes
Best Downtown Bar
Johnny’s Hall of Fame
Sports fans have spoken. Knocking off last year’s winner, The Lift, Johnny’s Hall of Fame is ready for its time in the spotlight. In 1972, Johnny and Fran Ulrich pioneered a new concept in the bar business, creating the first sports bar in town. In 1983, Johnny’s Hall of Fame moved to its current location, but went through numerous tragedies including water and flood damages. But in 2008, the bar was reborn and is now the premiere place for downtown dwellers to watch the game. 302 Court Ave., 280-6679.
Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza, Royal Mile
Best West Side Bar
Cabaret West Glen
Was there really any question? Taking the trophy for a third year in a row is Cabaret West Glen. As a bar staple of West Glen, owner Tim Kellogg knows what he’s doing. The bar offers an array of drinks specials, fun events and a smoking patio that allows puffers to stay part of the scene. Cabaret West Glen is aces. 560 S. Prairie View, West Des Moines, 225-1105.
Runners-up: Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar, Uncle Buck’s
Best Dive Bar
The Alpine Tap Room
Not only can their bartender bowl three 300 hundred point games in a day, but The Alpine Tap Room is a great place to kick back and enjoy a drink without all the hustle and bustle. On a street with two of the better dives in town (GT Lounge, Greenwood Lounge), our readers called The Alpine the
Best. And why not? It’s only been in the same location for nearly 80 years. Stop in during the week and chat it up with the regulars or try the weekend when the bar comes to life thanks to its cool jukebox. 2720 Ingersoll Ave., 245-9717.
Runners-up: Carl’s Place, Greenwood Lounge
Best Sports Bar
The iconic west side sports bar is the place to be on any game night. The massive building houses multiple bars, pool tables, videogames, darts and more than 40 TVs. Stop in and shoot some hoops with your buddies or dig into their all-you-can-eat wings specials. Also, Third Base offers one of the
Best birthday specials in town — 25 Tallboys and two large pizzas for $25. With drink specials galore, a trip to Third Base puts patrons in the winner’s bracket every time. 1720 25th St., West Des Moines, 221-0150.
Runners-up: Legends, Johnny’s Hall of Fame
Best Bar (Overall)
Cabaret West Glen
Apparently, readers not only think that Cabaret West Glen is the “
Best West Side Bar,” but it’s also the
Best bar in town. And with the crowds they pack in, we can’t blame them. The jewel of West Glen, Cabaret has been a staple from the beginning. The bar features 20 beers on tap, more than 80 in the bottle and numerous specialty martinis. Weekend night or daytime Chicago Cubs game, the bar is filled with patrons enjoying a good time. 560 S. Prairie View, West Des Moines, 225-1105.
Runners-up: Heroes, Greenwood Lounge
Best Bar District
The Court Avenue revitalization has come full circle. The street features a plethora of bars where you can watch the game (Johnny’s Hall of Fame, Legend’s) drink and dance the night away (Liars Club, Kamodo Klub, Surf Shack), rock out (People’s Court, Sinners and Saints) or relax with some friends (Shorty’s, Heroes, Court Avenue Brewing Co., Dos Rios). Stroll a block over to Fourth Street and you’ll find good times at places like The Royal Mile, Fong’s Pizza, The Lift and Vaudeville Mews. Two of the three winning districts are in the heart of Des Moines, which proves that you don’t need to drive far to find some of the
Best bars in town.
Runners-up: Ingersoll Avenue, West Glen
Best Central Bar
We find it interesting that not a single downtown bar was listed, but are not surprised that all three of these bars are on the list. Carl’s Place is thee bar in Sherman Hills and draws not only the neighborhood crowd, but people from all the greater metro area. Its laid back atmosphere, cheap drinks and blue collar clientele make Carl’s a must stop for anyone touring the bars of Des Moines. 1620 Woodland Ave., 243-9727.
Runners-up: Star Bar, Greenwood Lounge
Best North Bar
Highland Park Country Club
A staple of the Highland Park neighborhood, the Country Club has been here for almost 30 years, even though it’s not a golf course. Its old-school-diner look and feel adds to the ambiance of this neighborhood watering hole. If you’re a fan of the Green Bay Packers, then the Highland Park CC is your new home away from home. It’s the oldest Packer bar in town and a wide range of memorabilia line the walls. With cheap drinks, good food and friendly patrons, everyone should stop in for a round at the Highland Park Country Club. 518 Euclid Ave., 245-9229.
Runners-up: Smokey’s Old Place Saloon, Outer Limits
Best East Bar
Taking home two awards this year, the Blazing Saddle has established itself as not only the “
Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout” but also the “
Best East Bar.” The Saddle is known for its good times and strong drinks, which is apparent in their motto, “Always A Double, Never Cover.” We’ll drink to that. 416 E. 5th St., 246-1299.
Runners-up: Locust Tap, Gerri’s Tavern
Best South Bar
Kung Fu Tap & Taco
It’s about time our readers gave props to one of the most unique bars in town. Stop in to Kung Fu Tap & Taco and enjoy cheap, strong drinks, good company and some tasty tacos. Shoot some pool while being watched by the kung-fu posing bird above the table or belly up to the bowling alley lane bar and sit on chunks of wood. Don’t be scared by the tough exterior, some of the friendliest bartenders in town work here. Just don’t mess with the bull, because you’ll get the horns. 210 Indianola Ave., 285-8226.
Runners-up: Manning’s Pour House, Francie’s
Best Beer Selection
el Bait Shop
Full Court Press knows people like beer, which is why their numerous establishments offer a wide variety. el Bait Shop is the place you bring out-of-town guests to blow their beer-loving minds. With more than 100 beers on tap and more than 100 more in the bottle, el Bait shop has a beer for any taste. If the selection overwhelms you, try a flight. The six, four-ounce samplers of any beer on tap is a great way to sample just a portion of their selection for a great price. 200 S.W. 2nd St., 284-1970.
Runners-up: Hessen Haus, Royal Mile
Best Place to Get Drunk for Cheap
The Alpine Tap Room
Dives, lounges and taps are known for serving cheap drinks in laid back atmospheres. You don’t need all the disco lights or bass thumping to kick back with a cold one and enjoy the night. The Alpine Tap Room is a great place to visit any time, and the drinks are cheap. It’s always better to wake up the next morning with money in your pocket instead of blowing it all on overpriced mixed drinks and beers. 2720 Ingersoll Ave., 245-9717.
Runners-up: High Life Lounge, Uncle Buck’s
Best Cold Beer
The Alpine Tap Room
Add another award to The Alpine Tap Room. The Ingersoll Avenue mainstay had a great showing this year, and we’re not sure if more people have recently discovered this old school gem, or if the regulars finally decided to show their support. Either way, their frosty pitchers keep the beer cold. 2720 Ingersoll Ave., 245-9717.
Runners-up: el Bait Shop, Cabaret West Glen
Best Place for the Strongest Drink
If you want a strong drink, look no further. As a multiple year winner, the Blazing Saddle’s motto doesn’t lie, “Always a double, never a cover.” 416 E. 5th St., 246-1299.
Runners-up: The Alpine Tap Room, Cabaret West Glen
Best Bar to Play Games
The Outer Limits
There are plenty of places to play games in the greater metro area while enjoying a cold one, but not many have topless women dancing. 6560 N.E. 14th St., 289-1745.
Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, Johnny’s Hall of Fame
Best Place to Hook Up
Cabaret West Glen
Let’s face it — West Glen is full of hot men and women. No matter if you’re in a slinky black dress swilling martinis or a polo shirt with the collar popped enjoying a beer, it’s a great place to look for love. And with so much room and such a wide clientele, Cabaret West Glen is the
Best place to pick up someone for a night or the rest of your life. 560 S. Prairie View Dr., 225-1105.
Runners-up: Liars Club, Blazing Saddle
Best Patio Bar
Cabaret West Glen
In a new category this year, readers chose the patio at Cabaret West Glen, overlooking the West Glen Town Center over a number of downtown bars. We can see why — the fountain rocks, and you can actually see the sky instead of being shadowed by tall buildings. We know it’s cold out now, but come spring there isn’t a better place to enjoy a drink than on a patio. 560 S. Prairie View Drive, 225-1105.
Runners-up: Café Di Scala, Star Bar
Best Irish Bar
Mickey’s Irish Pub
Over the years, we felt like we were missing an important aspect to the nightlife categories, so we added a new category celebrating the
Best Irish bars in town. It didn’t surprise us that the readers chose Mickey’s Irish Pub. The purveyors of the biggest and wildest St. Paddy’s Day party in town, Mickey’s is a staple on March 17. It’s also a fun place when they’re not serving green beer. 1800 N.W. 86th St., 252-0248.
Runners-up: Sully’s Irish Pub, Cooney’s Tavern
Best Place to See Beautiful People
Cabaret West Glen
It’s only common sense that the “
Best Place to See Beautiful People” goes to Cabaret West Glen, as they were also the winner of the “
Best Place to Hook Up.” The truth has been revealed — sexy people looking for love call Cabaret West Glen home. 560 S. Prairie View Drive, 225-1105.
Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza, Liars Club
Best Happy Hour
With its tasty Tiki drinks and mouthwatering Asian-inspired pizza, Fong’s Pizza has made a big impression on area patrons. And according to readers, their Happy Hour is out of sight. Stop in Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and enjoy $2 drafts, $5 pitchers, $2 off large Tiki drinks, $1 ff individual Tiki drinks, $1 off wells and 50 cents off bottled beer. From 4 to 6 p.m. patrons can enjoy free slices. If you can’t make it there during the week, stop in for Sunday Funday and enjoy Happy Hour prices all day long.
Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, The Alpine Tap Room
John Trotter (Fong’s Pizza)
Although John Trotter has only been bartending at Fong’s Pizza for seven months, he’s built quite a following from his former employers including Cabaret West Glen, Luxx and Halo. Now Trotter is slinging Tiki drinks at one of the
Best bars in town. Trotter makes a tasty drink and chats up the regulars like he’s been working there for years. Patrons will always get a tasty drink at Fong’s Pizza because Gwen Schlepphorst has put together a plethora of good bartenders (Kung-Fu Wednesdays with Master Fong), but Trotter is our readers’ choice for the
Best in town.
Runners-up: Paul Richter (Uncle Buck’s), Joe Wells (Heroes)
Best Martini Menu
Once again crowned king of Des Moines, The Lift is the premier place to get your martini fix. With more than 30 different kinds (made with Gin or vodka) including the Zissou Zinger, the Sunny Side Up, the Mango Slut and the 4th Street Mimosa, patrons have numerous drinks to choose from. Stop in on Wednesday nights for Martini Night and enjoy $4 martinis or two for $7. 222 4th St., 288-3777.
Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen, Goodson’s
Knocking off the perennial favorite El Rodeo for a second year in a row, Dos Rios is solidifying its claim as the place to visit when you want the
Best margarita in town. When you call yourself a Cantina and Tequila Lounge, you must make some damn fine margaritas. Their margaritas are created with fresh fruit and agave nectar and they offer a wide variety of house specialties. The perfect match for an amazing margarita is good food and atmosphere; Dos Rios offers all of the above. 316 Court Ave., 282-2995.
Runners-up: El Rodeo, Mi Mexico
Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout
Like two powerhouses battling in the ring, the Blazing Saddle took back the “
Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout” from The Garden. Over the years, many gay/lesbian hangouts have come and gone, but Blazing Saddle, along with runner-up The Garden, continue to strive. Fun crowds, strong drinks and good times can be found at The Saddle. No matter if you’re starting or ending your night, Blazing Saddle is the place to be proud. 112 S.E. 4th St., 243-3965.
Runners-up: The Garden, Ritual Café
Best Place for a Game of Pool
The Outer Limits
Apparently the male readers have spoken because The Outer Limits won two categories beyond the
Best Strip Club award. Sure you can go almost anywhere to shoot a game of pool, but there isn’t a single other place in town where you can shoot pool while watching topless chicks dance and gyrate. Be warned though, the view is distracting for anyone lining up a shot. 6560 N.E. 14th St., 289-1745.
Runners-up: Stix, Raccoon River Brewing Company
The Alpine Tap Room
In a huge upset, The Alpine Tap Room narrowly nudged out multiple year winner, the Greenwood Lounge. Everyone has his or her favorite jukebox, but The Alpine Tap Room’s is always rocking. Weekday or a weekend night, you’re bound to find your favorite songs on the Alpine’s jukebox.
Runners-up: Greenwood Lounge, Cabaret West Glen
Best Live Music Venue
Catering to all ages, People’s Court has hosted a wide variety of shows over the past year including Hatebreed, LMFAO, Gogol Bordello, Matisyahu and A Flock of Seagulls. In March, they’ll add to their eclectic line-up as Halestorm (March 5) and Dashboard Confessional (March 12) grace the stage. Although it doesn’t have the intimacy of Vaudeville Mews or the atmosphere of Blues on Grand, People’s Court is an excellent venue to see a show. 216 Court Ave., 244-0038. www.peoplesdm.com.
Runners-up: Vaudeville Mews, Blues on Grand
Best Dance Club
If you’re looking for a place to shake your booty, look no further than The Garden. The dance is floor is always packed, the drinks are continually flowing and the music is always bumping. If you feel like getting down, The Garden is your home away from home. 112 S.E. 4th St., 243-3965.
Runners-up: Liars Club, Uncle Buck’s
Best Local Artist
Lee Ann Conlan
Lee Ann Conlan returns to her rightful place as the
Best Local Artist. Conlan’s art portrays real emotion and depth beyond her years. Born in Des Moines, Conlan was creating works long before the recent art renaissance, and she’ll be here long after. Her wide mixture of paintings, drawings and mixed media puts Conlan in a group all her own. www.leeannconlan.com.
Runners-up: D. Ryan Allen, Cat Rocketship
Best Strip Club
The Outer Limits
The Outer Limits has dethroned repeat champion, The Lumber Yard. Apparently our readers like to have something left to imagination, so they chose a topless joint over a full nude club. Or maybe they like the fact that they don’t have to cart in their own beer for the night. Sometimes the biggest club isn’t always the
Best, and you’re bound to have a good time at The Outer Limits. 6560 N.E. 14th St., 289-1745.
Runners-up: The Lumber Yard, Beach Girls
Best Drag Queen
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest drag queen of them all? Champagne Showers takes home another award as the
Best Drag Queen. Check her out at The Garden. 112 S.E. 4th St., 243-3965.
Runners-up: Stinketta, Madison Cavalier
Best Local Band
Rhonda Is a Dead Bitch
Our readers finally realized this wasn’t the most popular band category. Rhonda Is A Dead Bitch, formed out of the ashes of previous local failures such as Mayfair & Huxley and Teen Pussy, was originally conceived as a showcase for Luke the Amazing Drummer. Using a traditional combo lineup of drums, bass, guitar and keyboards, augmented with various noise generators and other electronics, they have accidentally fallen into a sound
Best described as psych-Krautrock-ambient. They are recording “Laos,” their debut LP this month with Matt Talbott in his Tolono, IL studio, Great Western Record Recorders.
Runners-up: The Nadas, Standing Hampton
Best Local Musician
Maximilian Eubank writes a cross genre of acoustic music, blending the sounds with a sense of folk, folk rock, anti-folk, acoustic rock and acoustic alternative sensibility. Eubank wants to continue creating honest music that will forge his career into a time and space where he will be able to live his life. All the while reinventing the manufactured sound of mainstream, American music.
Runner-up: Roxi Copland, James Biehn
Best Body Piercing/Tattoo Shop
Returning to hrone after being knocked off last year, the tattooed staff at Sacred Skin is waiting to give readers their next ink experience. With a wide variety of artists and piercing specialists, working in a number of styles, Sacred Skin is your tattoo and piercing destination. 1800 N.W. 86th St., 270-6902. 2705 S.W. 9th St., 280-6902.
Runners-up: Yankee Doodle Dandy Tattoo, Skin Kitchen
Best Place to Gamble
Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino
Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino has been drawing in patrons looking for fun, excitement and a little bit of luck since 1989. Prairie Meadows strives to offer whatever you desire no matter if it’s Blackjack, slot machines, roulette or horse racing. If testing lady luck isn’t your thing, they also offer great dining options such as Triple Crown Eatery and AJ’s Steakhouse and live concerts (Huey Lewis & The News on April 22). 1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona, 967-1000.
Runners-up: Terrible’s Lakeside Casino, Wild Rose Country Club
Sports & Recreation
Best Place to Play Golf (Public)
Waveland Golf Course
When central Iowans want to hit the links, there’s no denying Waveland Golf Course. Waveland Golf Course has been rated one of the top 100 public golf courses in the United States, and it has the stats to back it up as more than 40,000 rounds are played here annually. Those seeking a challenge need to look no further than hole No. 3, which is known as “The Tunnel,” featuring trees and water to the right of the tee and a deep valley between the golfer and the green. 4908 University Ave., 248-8725.
Runners-up: Legacy Golf Course, Grand View Golf Course
Best Place to Play Golf (Private)
Designed by William B. Langford, the Wakonda Club is a premier private destination for golfers looking to improve their game. The course, which was founded in 1922, features 6,959 yards of green and a Des Moines skyline that is visible beyond its hills and valleys. 3915 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, 285-4962.
Runners-up: Des Moines Golf and Country Club, Glen Oaks Country Club
Best Yoga Instructor
Stephanie Laouras (Fitness World West)
When Cityview readers look for a pick-me-up or want to experience an overall healthy feeling, they look no further than Stephanie Laouras at Fitness World West. Laouras has her clients’
Best intentions in mind when it comes to developing flexibility, strength and balance. 3200 Westown Parkway, 223-5111.
Runners-up: Lily Hou (Green Yoga House), Liz Taylor (Liz Taylor Yoga)
Best Massage Therapist
Susan Howell (Revitalizing Pathways)
The name has a comforting feeling to it, but Susan Howell and her team at Revitalizing Pathways go above and beyond. Revitalizing Pathways can take the kink out of your neck and put a smile back on your face. 2807 Grand Ave., 243-2395.
Runners-up: Maggie McGinnis (The Loft Massage), Kevin Thoren (Inner Prosperity)
Best Local Coach
Mitch Elbert (Des Moines Hoover High School Football Coach)
Mitch Elbert and Cityview readers continue to amaze us. Year after year, Elbert is voted as the “
Best Local Coach.” Yet, the Huskies deliver nothing, not even a bite, on the gridiron as they have gone a combined 3-24 over the past three seasons, including 1-8 last year. While the Huskies have lost the majority of their games over the past few years, there’s no doubt Elbert continues to lead the pack in this category.
Runners-up: Liang Chow (Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance), Mike Guentzel (Des Moines Buccaneers)
Best Local Athlete
Shawn Johnson may not be getting all the pomp and circumstance that she did during the 2008 Summer Olympics, but Iowa’s Golden Girl is still in the spotlight. Since her gold medal placing in Beijing, Johnson has placed first in ABC’s eighth season of “Dancing with the Stars” and was a celebrity judge for the 2010 Miss America Pageant. The 18-year-old West Des Moines native also carried the Olympic Torch through Calgary last month and will be present at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Runners-up: Harrison Barnes, Lolo Jones
Best Local Sports Team
No matter if its in Arenafootball2 or Arena Football 1, the Iowa Barnstormers have a faithful following. The Barnstormers ended the 2009 season as champions of the Midwest Division and an overall record of 13-5. Fans can continue to be proud of their
Best local sports team, as the organization has brought in a number of players at the skilled positions this past off season. Head coach John Gregory recently signed all-pro wide receiver Jesse Schmidt (2,390 yards and 58 touchdowns last season) and veteran signal-caller and all-pro quarterback Ryan Vena, who threw for 92 touchdowns to just nine interceptions in 2007. The Barnstormers open the home season April 3 against the Chicago Rush. 833 5th Ave., 633-2255.
Runners-up: Des Moines Buccaneers, Iowa Cubs
Best Bike Trail
Bill Riley Trail
Snow may be covering much of Iowa right now, but usage of this 1.6-mile trail isn’t far away. Named after civic leader and businessman Bill Riley, this asphalt path begins at Ashworth Park and runs into Water Works Park. The trail is used for hiking, nature viewing, biking, cross-country skiing and skating.
Runners-up: Clive Greenbelt Trail, Great Western Trail
Best Place for Run
Nestled along Fleur Drive in Des Moines, Gray’s Lake once again takes the cake in this category. Those who love the outdoors by walking, running or just enjoying nature can find a two-mile trail encompassing the lake. Gray’s Lake sports a quarter-long pedestrian bridge that lights up the night and continues to bring smiles to users’ faces. Fleur Drive and George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines.
Runners-up: Waterworks Park, Raccoon River Park
Best Place to Work Out
Aspen Athletic Clubs
Aspen Athletic Clubs knows how to take down the competition. Spread across five metro locations, Aspen Athletic Clubs is one of Iowa’s fastest growing fitness organizations around. The organization has more than 250 fitness professionals who serve more than 24,000 members. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Goals in Motion, YMCA
Best Place to Kickbox
Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping
Cityview readers know how to feel the burn. Founder Lance Farrell opened his first Des Moines gym in 1989 and founded Extreme Bodyshaping in 2001. Today, the 10-week program combines kickboxing, resistance training and nutrition. Don’t think you have what it takes to get into shape? Farrell’s incorporates coaching, accountability and a friendly competitive atmosphere to assist participants in this life-changing program. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Goals in Motion, YMCA
Best Place to Practice Your Breast Stroke
YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Recognized as the first organization to offer organized swim lessons, the YMCA is out in front when it comes to aquatics. The metro’s nine locations serve more than 66,000 central Iowans annually, while teaching swimmers safety and rescue skills. The downtown location sports a four-lane pool that hosts lap and open swim times. Multiple locations.
Runners-up: Aspen Athletic Clubs, Prairie Life Fitness
Best Place to “Do It” In Public
Over the past few years, readers have been aroused by what’s taking place at Gray’s Lake. But that was last year. In 2010, Greenwood Park, which stretches from 45th to 48th Street, claims the No. 1 spot as the “
Best Place to Do It In Public” — maybe because the City of Des Moines states the park is “located in heavily-wooded Ashworth Park.” The park has picnic tables, a playground, wading pool, tennis courts and basketball courts. Use your imagination. 4500 Grand Ave.
Runners-up: Saylorville Lake, Gray’s Lake
Best Place to Bowl
Plaza Lanes Family Fun Center
When it comes to bowling, Plaza Lanes Family Fun Center isn’t a gutterball. The center has been recognized for a fifth straight year in this category. Plaza Lanes also has volleyball, flag football, dodgeball and Baggo. Stop in Wednesday night for ’70s/’80s Night where patrons can go back in the day that showcased platform shoes, leisure suits and stone-washed jeans. 2701 Douglas Ave., 255-1111.
Runners-up: Air Lanes, Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill
Best Place to
A.H. Blank Mini Golf Course
Move over West Grand Golf, A.H. Blank Mini Golf Course has made a hole in one. The 2009 runner-up ranked No. 1 in this year’s readers’ poll. Opening in 2007, A.H. Blank Mini Golf Course features challenging holes along with a 15-foot waterfall. The course offers a variety of party packages for birthdays and group outings like for scout troops, retirement groups and corporate groups. Adults ages 13 and older are $7, while children ages 4 to 12 play for $5. 808 Country Line Road, 248-6300.
Runners-up: West Grand Golf, Toad Valley Golf Course
Best Indoor Sporting Event
When central Iowans are in need of an indoor sporting event, they know just where to find it. “The Well” has made a tradition for being loud for opponents and a home-field advantage paradise for the Barnstormers. The Iowa Barnstormers host eight homes games this season and look to make a run to the championship. 833 5th Ave., 633-2255.
Runners-up: Des Moines Buccaneers, Drake basketball
Best Outdoor Sporting Event
In less than 50 days, the Iowa Cubs open the regular season against the Nashville Sounds (April 8). The Iowa Cubs already put hundreds of fans in the seats with their exciting games, family-friendly atmosphere and ballpark fireworks. Adding to the aura this season is Ryne Sandberg, who will serve as manager. Sandberg is a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee, who spent 15 years in the majors, including 14 of them with the Chicago Cubs. He won nine Gold Glove awards and was a 10-time National League All-Star. Expect the stadium to be even fuller this upcoming season. One Line Drive, Des Moines, 243-6111.
Runners-up: Drake Relays, Hy-Vee Triathlon
Best Running Event
Des Moines Marathon
Iowa road races scatter the calendar, but there’s nothing like the Des Moines Marathon. Winding through downtown Des Moines, the race draws thousands of
Runners and walker from near and far. This event isn’t just about the race though; the all-day event has a speaker series, sports and fitness expo, pasta dinner and plenty of other activities. This year’s Des Moines Marathon is slated for Oct. 17.
Runners-up: Dam to Dam, Living History Farms Race
Best Local Iowa Day Trip
Dale Valley Vineyard and Winery
Like a fine wine, this place gets better with age. Dale Valley Vineyard and Winery celebrates its fourth season in the one-room schoolhouse where young locals were educated more than 100 years ago. Their wines, handcrafted on site, are available alongside everything patrons need to start their very own cellar in Dale Valley’s gift shop and tasting room. Just a half-hour dive from downtown Des Moines, it’s clear Cityview readers have become intoxicated by Dale Valley’s charm. 3097 285th St., Stuart, 523-2198.
Runners-up: Amana Colonies, Pella
Best Farmers’ Market
Downtown Farmers’ Market
Is 7 a.m. too early for you? It isn’t for hundreds of people wake who up to start their Saturday mornings off right at the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Court Avenue. The weekly event, which features approximately 200 vendors from 51 counties, has a variety of farm-fresh products including lamb, beef, pork, baked goods and plenty of other mouth-watering items. The morning also features live music by local musicians. The market is open each Saturday from May 2 to Oct. 31.
Runners-up: Drake Neighborhood Farmers’ Market, Valley Junction Farmers’ Market
Best Elected Official
Central Iowans know what they want in a politician, and Frank Cownie is their man. As last year’s runner-up, Cownie chalks up the victory this year. Cownie was elected to the Des Moines City Council as an at-large member in January 2002 and was elected as mayor in January 2004. His term ends in January 2012. While Cownie has folks’ admiration now, he has a large predicament on his hands by figuring out ways to balance the city’s budget.
Runners-up: Tom Harkin, Christine Hensley
Best Elected Official You’d Publicly Flog
Gov. Chet Culver
There’s a reason why Gov. Chet Culver won two awards as last year’s “
Best Elected Official” and “
Best Elected Official You’d Publicly Flog.” Apparently people love and hate what he is doing. But now the “Big Lug” can’t seem to fix the budget problems, which is probably the reason he only took home one award this year.
Runners-up: Christine Hensley, Steve King
Best Local TV Anchor
Kevin Cooney (KCCI)
Cityview readers might as well permanently reserve this spot for Kevin Cooney. KCCI’s television anchor has been honored with the spot nine years running, placing him in a league of his own. Cooney started at KCCI with sports reporting in 1972 and became a news anchor in 1982. Since then, it’s been clear sailing for Cooney.
Runners-up: John Bachman (WHO), Erin Kiernan (WHO)
Best Media Personality Who Should Consider Another Career
Steve Deace (WHO Radio)
His followers love him, but our readers say Steve Deace and this category go hand in hand. Enough said.
Runners-up: Shane Goodman (Big Green Umbrella Media), Ed Wilson (WHO)
Best Local Sports Commentator or Columnist
Keith Murphy (WHO)
Cityview’s “Best of Des Moines” readers’ poll acknowledges what central Iowans like, and it’s clear when it comes to reporting on local sports that it’s Keith Murphy. Yet again, Murphy wins this category, showcasing the bronze and balls to keep people tuning in to WHO-TV for sports.
Runners-up: Andy Garman (KCCI), Andy Fales (WHO)
Best News Commentator or Columnist
Jason Hancock, www.iowaIndependent.com
When David Yepsen announced last year that he was stepping down from his perch at The Des Moines Register after nearly three decades as Iowa’s premiere political journalist, the search began for someone to fill the void. Cityview readers apparently weren’t impressed with the Register’s pick (Kathie Obrada… something or another), so they turned to the online world and Jason Hancock of IowaIndependent.com. Hancock (a Cityview alum, for the record) proves that quality journalism isn’t dependent on a $51 million printing press. And while the daily metro paper may be fading fast, daily news is alive and well thanks to muckrakers like Hancock.
Runners-up: Andy Fales (WHO), Kevin Cooney (KCCI)
Best Looking Female Media Personality
Stacey Horst (KCCI)
Another year and another “
Best Looking Female Media Personality” award goes to KCCI anchor, Stacey Horst. The blonde beauty is professional, yet personal and she has other female station anchors wondering how she does it. There are plenty of other lookers that should give her a run in the future, including runner-up Elizabeth Klinge, but for now our readers like Horst.
Runners-up: Elizabeth Klinge (WHO), Erin Kiernan (WHO)
Best Looking Male Media Personality
Bryan Karrick (KCCI)
For the second year in a row, the TV Stud award goes to KCCI weatherman Bryan Karrick. Karrick has been a member of the KCCI family since 1998 and continues to bring his weather A-game into homes on a daily basis. He beat out the ageless wonder known as John Bachman for a second year in a row, but newcomer Dan Winters has the looks and talent to challenge for the crown next year.
Runners-up: John Bachman (WHO), Dan Winters (WHO)
Best Radio Voice That Turns You On
Colleen Kelly, Star 102.5 KSTZ
What makes a woman sexy? It might be her looks, but for the Cityview readers who voted, it’s a woman’s voice. Since joining Big Ken and Star 102.5 KSTZ in 2000, Kelly has been wooing listeners with her sweet, sexy voice that comes over the airwaves. Oh, and for the record — she’s easy on the eyes, too.
Runners Up: Luke Matthews, Heather Burnside
Best Radio Personality
Colleen Kelly, Star 102.5 KSTZ
When you have a sexy voice that turns on listeners, it’s not too far out of reach to think one has a good personality, too. Case in point, Colleen Kelly. Big Ken and Colleen in the Morning can be heard weekday mornings from 5 to 9 a.m. and Saturdays from 6 to 10 a.m.
Runners-up: Van Harden (News Radio 1040 WHO), Ken Root (News Radio 1040 WHO)
Best Cityview Staffer You’d Like to Publicly Flog
The Best person to hate is a critic, and there is not a better food critic around than our own Food Dude, Jim Duncan. Duncan has made a career out of critiquing meals in our fair city and introducing unknown gems to the mouths of our hungry readers. His expertise is unmatched, and he doesn’t need to hide his identity behind some sign. Duncan is out in the trenches eating at taco trucks, trying the newest Asian import, scavenging farmers’ markets and trying the nasty stuff so you don’t have to.
Runners-up: Jared Curtis, Civic Skinny
Best TV Show
Cityview readers love “The Office” because they can relate their own tedious jobs to the show’s premise. And maybe if their office were as lively as the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin or if they had Michael Scott or Jim Halpert as a co-manager, work would be a lot cooler. The show (based on the BBC original) is a phenomenon that has continued to age like fine wine. Sure the laughs have died down a bit, but certain episodes are as strong as ever. “Modern Family” and “How I Met Your Mother” are just as funny, but “The Office” continues to power through thanks to its place in the funniest four-show block (“Community,” Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock”) on television. Our readers say there is nowhere better to be on Thursday nights than in front of their TV.
Runners-up: “The Big Bang Theory,” “Heroes”
Best TV Station for News
In our 2009 “Best of Des Moines” issue, we posed the question, “How could KCCI-TV ever loose this category?” WHO-TV answered. The team of John Bachman, Erin Kiernan, Ed Wilson, Keith Murphy and countless others keep the news coming right at you.
Runners-up: KCCI-TV, CBS
Best Self-Righteous Media Hog
Ed Wilson (WHO)
We figured as much as Marty Terrell has run his mouth this year, he would earn the title of “
Best Self-Righteous Media Hog” on a platter, but this year’s accolades go to Wilson. Sorry, Ed.
Runners-up: Marty Terrell, Steve Deace
John McLaughlin, KCCI-TV
While Ed Wilson moved up in the previous category, he moved down in this one, allowing KCCI’s John McLaughlin to be crowned. Dating back to his days in Glidden, McLaughlin has always had meteorology in his blood. He earned his broadcast meteorology certification at Mississippi State University and has been awarded the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association Seals of Approval.
Runners-up: Ed Wilson (WHO), Bryan Karrick (KCCI)
Best Morning Show
KCCI-TV understands the slogan “early to bed, early to rise.” Long before the daily grind of an 8 to 5 workday hits, KCCI-TV is already delivering the goods, reporting to central Iowans all of the morning’s news.
Runners-up: WHO-TV, “The Today Show” (NBC)
Best Local Talk Radio Show
Bradshaw, 98.3 WOW-FM
Have an opinion on a certain topic? Share it with Chris Bradshaw of 98.3 WOW-FM. The West Des Moines Valley graduate has his own radio show weekdays from 1 to 4 p.m. discussing politics, religion and pop culture. Bradshaw attended the University of Missouri before doing a morning show in South Bend, Ind. If you like conversation, you’ll enjoy Bradshaw.
Runners-up: Van and Bonnie (Newsradio 1040 WHO), Ken and Colleen (STAR 102.5 KSTZ)
Best Radio Station
95 FM KGGO
Cityview readers know how to rock, so it’s no surprise they chose 95 FM KGGO as their source for entertainment on the radio. The “Classic Rock That Rocks” has Lou, Round Guy and Heather, along with Clutch and Brian James.
Runners-up: 99.1 FM KFMG, Capital 106.3 FM KPTL
Looking for a way to get lost for a day? Instead of sitting down in front of the TV, why not head over to the Des Moines Public Library? The library’s mission is to be “the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth.” The library, which opened on April 8, 2006, has more than 60 public computers, a children’s library, teen area and free wireless Internet access. 1000 Grand Ave., 283-4152.
Runners-up: West Des Moines Public Library, Southside Library
Best Place to Praise God
Lutheran Church of Hope
While there isn’t a wrong place to praise God, Cityview readers recognize that Lutheran Church of Hope ranks at the top. Organized as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the church has worship services on Thursday at 5 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Worship Center. 925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 222-1520.
Runners-up: Plymouth Congregational Church, Point of Grace Church
Cumulatively known as the world’s oldest and largest not-for-profit organization, Easter Seals provides direct services to people with disabilities. Easter Seals Iowa has two locations — Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside and Easter Seals Center — working to “create solutions that change the lives of individuals with disabilities and other special needs of their families.” 401 N.E. 66th Ave., 289-1933, 2920 30th St., 274-1529.
Runners-up: Iowa Environmental Council, Salisbury House and Gardens
David Ruhe, Plymouth
Congregational Church of Des Moines
When it comes to putting others before yourself, there is no better example than David Ruhe. A native of Pittsburgh, Penn., Ruhe became the senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church of Des Moines in 1994. His interests include Pirates baseball, folk music, guitar and banjo. And our readers have appreciated all he has done. 4126 Ingersoll Ave., 255-3149.
Runners-up: Ed Fallon, Judy Anderson
Seth Walker and Dave Welch, ReMax
A year can make all the difference. The readers have spoken and last year’s
Runners-up, Seth Walker and Dave Welch, knocked the mighty Eisenlauer Team (including last year’s winner Bob Eisenlauer) off its perch. With a combined 15 years of real estate knowledge and experience, Walker and Welch are ready to help you find your new home. They cover a wide spectrum of residential real estate, but specialize in foreclosures and helping first-time buyers find their ideal homes. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one,” and these two are not looking back.
Runners-up: Bob Eisenlauer (Eisenlauer Team), Linda McFarland (Prudential First Realty) CV