The Fatty Italian beef at Gas Lamp,
1501 Grand Ave., 280-3778. Hours are 11
to 2 a.m., daily.
25th Street Pub, 509 E. 25th St., 266-6885.
Hours are Monday through Friday, 11 to 2 a.m.
and Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 2 a.m.
Kelly's Little Nipper, 1701 E. Grand Ave.,
265-2031. Breakfast is served Monday through
Friday, 6 to 10 a.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon
and Sunday, 9 a.m. to noon. Regular menu is
served until 2 a.m.
Capital Pub & Hot Dog Co., 400 S.E. 6th
St., 2HOTDOG, food available from 111 a.m. to
2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m., daily.
Players Sports Bar & Grill, 1760 Beaver
Ave., 274-8639. Hours are 11 to 2 a.m., daily..
Chelsie Lyons is the kind of young entrepreneur
that city leaders ought to be courting. She
moved here from Colorado a year ago to start
her own business at age 27. Our review found
her Players Bar & Grill family-oriented,
with "Kids Eat Free" promotions, fountain
drinks like "Purple Cows," and a friendly
small town vibe. One anonymous person disagreed
though and complained to the city's Zoning Enforcement
command center that Lyons was operating a tavern
not a restaurant. Lyons' books showed that,
despite all the free meals and $1 burger nights,
59 percent of her business was in food. Zoning
czars were unimpressed and ordered Lyons to
spend $6,000 on an agency approved, independent
audit to disprove the still anonymous complaint.
Lyons said she works 100 hours a week to make
ends meet and believed that $6,000 could break
her. After WHO reporter Aaron Brilbeck reported
Lyons' predicament, his blog filled with viewers'
conspiracy theories. They all made more sense
than Zoning Enforcement's autocratic decision
did. Sanity prevailed and the city backed off
its audit demand.
When Brilbeck broke that story, I was preparing
to write about new developments in good food
being served in Des Moines bars. I didn't even
consider Lyons' place because it doesn't resemble
a bar. It's a restaurant that serves alcohol.
Thankfully, Des Moines also has some bars that
serve really good food. Places like Main Gate,
Gerri's, Giff Wagner‘s and Euro Bar give our
town character while reducing the number of
drunken drivers, too. Their number has been
growing this summer. Kelly's Little Nipper reopened
with new ownership and new wood paneling. Its
famous pool table and superb short order grill
have returned. Super wide pork tenderloins and
Italian sausage sandwiches, both with a choice
of fries or hand-battered onion rings, were
up to their old, high standards. Even better,
Kelly's is now serving breakfast at 6 a.m. —
a great tradition among east side bars.
Also under new owners, East 25th Street Pub
has revived Liz's famous flat-top grill. Super
wide, expertly seared Graziano's sausage sandwiches
and burgers were served on old-fashioned soft
Italian bread. How good are they? Babe Bisignano
used to go there for lunch.
Capital Pub & Hot Dog Company opened on
the East Village's southeast fringe. This brand
new pub in an historic building had the vibe
of a long-standing neighborhood joint. Klement
sausages were employed creatively. A Mobayashi
delivered a tempura-battered, quarter-pound
sausage with spicy mayo, cream cheese, cucumbers
and wasabi. A pickle spear and homemade chili
(more like Maid Rite than Coney Island chili)
topped my coney. Creativity went too far — mustard
decorated buns made them too messy to handle.
For extreme eaters, there was a sandwich that
mixed two half-pound dogs with two half-pound
beef patties and half a pound of thin sliced
Finally, Gas Lamp, a glorious restoration of
the old Blues on Grand, is now open for lunch,
serving Fatty's Big Beef — the same Chicago
style Italian beef sandwiches that Fourth Street
Italian Beef has made popular. They were served
with a choice of hot, mixed or mild giardiniere
and a choice of wet, super wet or soaked in
au jus. They could also be ordered with Graziano
Bottom line — Good food is not evil in bars,
nor in restaurants.
Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet… Uncle Wendell
was told his barbecue wasn't healthy enough
for downtown's mid-week farmers' market. CV