Thursday, May 13, 2021

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Belly Up To...

Winning hearts and minds, one martini at a time



The Stuffed Olive has more than 100 martinis on its menu. “I’ll get you the right martini before you leave here,” Kelley insists. “You tell us what kind of flavor you like, and we’ll get you a martini.”

With more than 100 martinis on the menu, The Stuffed Olive, located in the historic Court Avenue District, is a unique place with a unique name that is sure to have your new favorite drink on its menu.

Brendan Kelley, the owner, general manager and the man generally in charge of day-to-day operations, said his place prides itself on offering a warm, comfortable atmosphere.

“The Stuffed Olive has been here about two-and-a-half years,” he said. “We wanted to hone in on what we were good at: making martinis, and our food is delicious.”

So it specializes in martinis, which inspired the name, and tapas, which are small portions perfect for sharing and pairing with drinks. A traditional Spanish concept, the tapas menu at The Stuffed Olive has international flare and includes bacon-wrapped dates, lobster bruschetta and Buffalo chicken croquettes. The dinner menu offers a build-your-own macaroni and cheese option, along with fish tacos, cajun salmon, a traditional burger and fries and more. The food is designed to be paired with martinis, and it works well for happy hour, dinner or late-night snacks.

Prep Iowa

Kelley says he has the perfect martini for just about anyone.

“We have more than 100 martinis,” he says. “I’ll get you the right martini before you leave here.  You tell us what kind of flavor you like, and we’ll get you a martini.”

Kelley says that is true, even for people who don’t think they like martinis. He enjoys the challenge of changing the minds of customers with an improper stereotype of his favorite kind of drink.

“They had their grandpa make them a dirty, dry gin martini in the basement,” he says. “That is what is soldered in their brain.”

Kelley says his bar does serve “grandpa’s” old-time favorites. The menu has “The James Bond,” “The Classic Dirty” or “The Garlic Mashed Potato,” which is made with potato vodka instead of grain vodka and is served with garlic-stuffed olives. But he said they also have treats that are on the sweeter side.

“In the fall, we bust out the limited-time offer menu,” he said. “German chocolate cake, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, as well as others.”

If those sound to you more like dessert than they do a drink, you aren’t alone.

“We hear it every night,” he laughed. “We’re going to drink our dessert tonight.”


The Stuffed Olive specializes in martinis and tapas. Kelley says his bar does serve “grandpa’s” old-time favorites like the “The James Bond,” “The Classic Dirty,” or “The Garlic Mashed Potato,” but he said they also have treats like the ones pictured.

CV - October 2016 - BellyUp_- Stuffed Olive-  - A Red Wave and a Mango Salsa, boutique martinis, at the Stuffed Olive.   Thursday, September 8, 2016.

The Red Wave — Ciroc Red Berry, pama liquor, a splash of fresh squeezed lime juice and pineapple juice, and then finished with a spicy cajun rim.

The Mango Salsa — Mango vodka, muddled with fresh jalapenos, pineapple juice and a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice.

The Stuffed Olive

208 Third St., Des Moines


Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Friday – Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; closed on Sundays.





One Comment

  1. Hmmmm, got to go there! It’s not too far from Ames….

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