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Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio


For more than 25 years, Jimmy’s American Café served the West Des Moines neighborhood as a lively nightspot with cool drinks and innovative bar food. Since Jimmy’s shuttered nearly a decade ago, a handful of bars, eateries and even an Equardorian dance club tried their offerings without much success. Until now.

Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio has given new life to a well-weathered gathering spot.

Gilroy’s opened in 2016 and is located off Eighth Street in West Des Moines, a central spot between the western burbs and downtown.

Gilroy’s simply means “son of a redhead” in Gaelic. It’s fitting, too, as managing partner Carl Wertzberger is a redhead.

Various references to ginger-headed folks are found throughout the place. One of their signature drinks, a Moscow Mule, is made with Wertzberger Ginger Beer, brewed at Court Avenue Brewing, where Wertzberger was the general manager.

Prep Iowa

The menu is manageable, and they’re known for burgers, spinach artichoke dip, salmon and house-made pizzas. Pizzas on Sundays are a deal. After 5 p.m., dine-in pizzas are buy one, get one free. A quick happy hour from 4-5 p.m. serves up $3 mules. A weekend all-you-can-eat brunch allows leisurely eating and drinking on both Saturday and Sunday.

Patrons can choose from three different seating arrangements. The bar area provides a lively scene with sports on the tube and piped-in music. An adjacent dining room offers a more intimate atmosphere or a spot for larger gatherings.

The third space, an L-shaped covered patio, is the highlight. The chairs are sturdy (no plastic here), and the patio wraps around the bar area. There’s little outdoor traffic noise and ample shade. Additional seating was extended to the parking lot to better social distance and to meet the reduced capacity mandate.

The pandemic, of course, has proved to be a challenge. However, Wertzberger says, when the COVID restrictions hit in March, they began online ordering and curbside pickup within days.

“We’ve been fortunate to be proactive,” he says. “In 36 hours (from the mandate), we developed an online order. The staff has been agile and embraced change.”

They created a Porch Pounder — a 64-ounce container of house Moscow mules to go for $22. They offer sangria jugs, cocktails, beer and wine to go. On Friday evening, the staff served free samples of the mules and sangria.

The history is well known, and patrons often mention Jimmy’s and what a success it was. Gilroy’s hopes to maximize that success, continuing in the same tradition.

“We get guests in each day talking about Jimmy’s and the memories they’ve had. We’re in the same space and continue to build relationships with guests,” says Wertzberger. “We want people to feel comfortable, especially with all that’s going on today.” ♦

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