A homemade recipe at Quijano’s Bar & Grill7/20/2016
“The best bloody Larry in town.” That’s the claim of Quijano’s Bar and Grill on Southeast Sixth Street.
“Larry” isn’t a typo. The drink might look like a bloody mary, and it might taste like one, too, but according to the bar’s co-owner and namesake Larry Quijano, there is something different about his concoction.
“I can’t give you the recipe, but it’s not tomato juice, and it’s not vodka,” Quijano said.
Quijano said his drink tastes better than any bloody mary he’s tasted, and it doesn’t have traditional tomato juice or vodka in it.
The recipe was originally perfected at Quijano’s home, then he began serving them at tailgating events outside of Kinnick Stadium before University of Iowa home football games — Quijano has had season tickets for 30 years.
According to Quijano, the drinks received so much positive feedback at his tailgating parties that when he and his nephew, Jon Quijano, opened the bar, it was an easy decision to make them available, even though the recipe is a closely-guarded family secret.
The “Larry” isn’t the only “new look” at the bar. The building that Quijano’s occupies was purchased in September of 2015 and underwent an extensive renovation, transforming the venue from a classic dive bar into something that appears brand new.
“It was a complete overhaul,” said Quijano of the project.
Pat Scurlock did much of the construction work for the renovation, and he’s now a regular customer. He proudly displays before and after pictures outlining the change.
“I’ve been to every bar on the south side,” said Scurlock. “And this is the cleanest. When you come in here, you feel like you’re in West Des Moines.”
And according to Quijano, other people agree.
“The fire department told us, when they came in and inspected it, ‘This has to be one of the cleanest kitchens we’ve ever seen.’ ”
Quijano said the bar is working to change the image from that of the old establishment into what it is now. He said the bar’s clientele now consists of legislators from the capitol, cyclists from the nearby bike path, sports fans watching the big game, and families looking for a night out.
Families mostly come for the food, which is something else the new spot prides itself on.
The enchilada is made from the Quijano’s authentic homemade family recipe. He said they sell a lot of them, and a lot of sandwiches, too.
“It’s a homemade family recipe,” Quijano said of the enchiladas. “We have good food, cold drinks and great bartenders.” CV
|Quijano’s Bar & Grill
1930 S.E. Sixth St., Des Moines
Hours: 10 p.m. to close, Tuesday through Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Kitchen hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday
Taco Thursday nights: Small tacos are $3 each, large tacos are $4.50.