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Belly Up

Iowa’s finest with a view at The Hub

5/21/2014

The Riverwalk Hub Spot enjoys a break following the morning brunch crowd.

The Riverwalk Hub Spot enjoys a break following the morning brunch crowd.

The view of the Des Moines River may be gorgeous, but that’s not the only thing drawing customers to The Riverwalk Hub downtown. Its selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and locally made food — including artisan meats from La Quercia, ice cream from Indianola’s Outside Scoop, and Maytag’s finest cheeses — will keep people coming back for breakfast, lunch and happy hour.

Though the French-inspired menu is small, it doesn’t disappoint. Try a variety of reasonably priced gourmet salads and baguette sandwiches or the famously original Dangos, small pastries named for the five sculptures outside the restaurant. The $1 treats are either sweet with a sugary crust, or savory and filled with bacon and cheese.

A variety of food carts offering different cuisines in the surrounding area is also available in connection with The Hub. Look for ice cream, barbeque, Asian and Mexican fare and even gourmet hot dogs to show up in the carts, courtesy of other local chefs, this summer.

But don’t forget to check out the selection of coffee, wine and locally brewed beer. It’s not your average bar scene, especially at the tail end of the Court Avenue crawl — you won’t find the loud club music and close dancing of the after-hours establishments a few blocks down. But that’s OK. Different is good, and The Hub offers an eclectic atmosphere for a tranquil, more refined food and drink experience that only complements the diversity of downtown Des Moines’ bar/restaurant scene.

The wine at the Hub, for instance, is served from stainless steel wine barrels selected by Iowa native David Simpson, who founded Simpson Wine Partners of Sonoma, California. The barrels — not to be confused with kegs — are an innovative and eco-friendly technology created to serve fine wines on tap and keep them fresh from the first glass to the last. Just one barrel equals about 26 bottles of wine.

The geometrically shaped, modern building has spacious seating both indoors and outdoors, perfect for private group events, hosting live music — which it does every other Friday night — or even just a quick breath of fresh air for downtown employees or patrons. Its waterfront venue makes it a fun stop along the Principal Riverwalk or morning farmers market.

Come rain or shine, you won’t regret stopping in for a warm coffee or cold brew overlooking one of the metro’s greatest attractions.

LAST CALL… Augustina Mendez, of Des Moines, is kick-starting a new line of Iowa-grown liquor call Rumcoqui, made with an original coconut creme liqueur with a first-of-its-kind sound cap technology on the cap of each bottle, which will likely partner with Clive’s Dehner Distillery for manufacturing… Speaking of Latin liquors, Ranker.com a platform that produces thousands of crowd-sourced answers to opinion-based questions, recently collected more than 5,000 votes on which brands of tequila are the best. With apologies to Jose, here are the top 10: 1. Don Julio; 2. Herradura; 3. Corralejo; 4. Ocho; 5. 1800 Tequila; 6. Milagro; 7. Patron; 8. Tres Generaciones; 9. El Tesoro; 10. Cabo Wabo. CV

Eleni A. Upah is a native of Tama and is in her fourth year at Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University. She is writing as part of an internship with Cityview.

The Riverwalk Hub
215 Water St.
Hours: Monday-Thursday. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday
8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Entertainment: Live music ever other Friday night at 5:30.
 
Barmuda