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Belly Up To...

Rehab, a hometown bar no matter where you’re from

4/3/2013

Rehab owner Sherri Hiatt (bottom left) sits with one of her cooks and three regulars as a lively happy hour winded down on a Tuesday afternoon in the old Grimes haunt.

Rehab owner Sherri Hiatt (bottom left) sits with one of her cooks and three regulars as a lively happy hour winded down on a Tuesday afternoon in the old Grimes haunt.

Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the bars where everybody remembers what you did last weekend — but you — and spread your wings somewhere new. Be anonymous for a night. There’s freedom in that. The old building on Main Street in what locals consider “old Grimes” has been a bar for as long as anyone can remember. It’s changed hands and thus changed names over the years, but it’s still a favored bar among folks who don’t care to venture too far into Des Moines and for folks who care to venture out.

Upon entering Rehab Bar and Grill, my first eyebrow-raising observation was a handsome, young man zipping up his fly as I intruded on him into the unisex restroom. He smiled and explained how he has a bad habit of forgetting to lock the door. Obviously.

The second thought that crossed my mind was, “Nice pour” after ordering a happy hour cocktail from the owner, Sherri Hiatt.

“I like to taste my money,” I said before taking another drink.

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Rehab is a fun, little hole in the wall that has settled comfortably under the radar. It doesn’t brag about its surprisingly diverse food and drink menu, its friendly service or its clean and spacious facility. And only by word of mouth from those who love it most will you hear boasting about innovative cocktail concoctions, its amazing food and its even more amazing prices. Posted on a humbly-made, laminated menu, patrons of all sorts will find something to their liking on Rehab’s menu — anything from appetizers, sandwiches and baskets to salads and low-carb options, as well as a mini-menu of homemade dipping sauces, including a zippy jalapeño-garlic.

“Those two words just belong together,” I told Hiatt as she focused on creating one of Rehab’s signature drinks, The Shaving. It’s an iced drink made with orange vodka and a few other secret sauces, named after Sherri and the bartender who helped her create it, Dave. Think Hi-C’s Orange Lavaburst but with liquor. Dangerously delicious.

“It’s done the trick once or twice,” Hiatt laughed.

Even more than the drinks and the friendly conversation, Rehab is known for its food. The guys bellying up that day agreed the hot sausage sandwich and the Frisco burger were definitely best sellers. And Taco Tuesdays draw a loyal following, too, Hiatt said.

“The Reuben is phenomenal here,” Hiatt said, expressing appreciation to her cooks. “I mean, it’s phenomenal. It is so good. And it’s about a half pound of meat.”

Anything on the menu could be purchased for under six bucks — yet another benefit of venturing beyond capital city limits. It’s also a fun place to tell your friends about when they call and ask where you are: “I’m at rehab.”

“People get the biggest kick out of that,” Hiatt smirked.

“One thing about this bar,” said a man named Jerry who staked claims to a bar stool right by the tappers, “it’s a hometown bar no matter where you’re from.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. CV

Rehab Bar and Grill
201 S.E. Main St., Grimes
(515) 986-1290
Hours: Open seven days a week until 2 a.m.
Kitchen: Open-2 p.m.; 5-10 p.m.
Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. weekdays
Entertainment: Live music every other weekend; karaoke coming this spring; pool leagues.

 

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