Thursday, October 23, 2014


Cover Story

2014 Best of Des Moines- EATS

2/26/2014

For more than 20 years, we have called upon you, our readers, to vote in our annual “Best Of Des Moines” contest. And every year it gets stronger in every way: More categories are added, more networks are joined, and more social media buzz and excitement is stirred. So it’s clear this contest truly means a great deal to our local community and its people — the business owners, professionals and service providers who take pride in their hard work and innovative ideas. It’s also important to local consumers to know their own hard-earned dollars are going to the best and their choices as consumers are informed ones.

Cityview readers cast a record 6,000-plus votes in 2011. Our elation over that number now seems silly, as we counted more than 11,000 votes in this year’s Best Of Des Moines poll — our strongest yet. The Cityview you are holding is typically one of our largest issues in page count each year, and, as such, gives our staff some aching migraines. But we couldn’t be more proud.

Now here are the choices our readers voted as the best in shopping, dining, nightlife, sports and recreation and everything else the Greater Des Moines metro area has to offer. Congratulations to our winners and the runners-up.

EATS

SHOPPING

DM Art Center

NIGHTLIFE/CULTURE

SPORTS/REC

BEST OF THE REST

 

Best New Restaurant

Tacopocalypse

Tacos come with a variety of slaws at Tacopocalypse, which moved from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location at 621 Des Moines St. last year, making it eligible to receive the “Best New Restaurant” honor this year. It also won “Best Local Burrito” and was runner-up for “Best Place For a $5 Lunch.”

Tacos come with a variety of slaws at Tacopocalypse, which moved from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location at 621 Des Moines St. last year, making it eligible to receive the “Best New Restaurant” honor this year. It also won “Best Local Burrito” and was runner-up for “Best Place For a $5 Lunch.”

We’re not sure how they do it, but somehow mobile restaurant entrepreneurs touting authentic menus out of meal trucks make it work. But Tacopocalypse is far from that everyday dingy dive on wheels serving hang-over remedies along carousal strips. Its tacos are of an “outside the box” variety from the creative mind of innovative local chef Sam Auen. For years it was the weekly-featured food vendor at the Bombay Bicycle Club (and The Point) in Clive, but people love these tacos so much, last year Auen committed to a brick-and-mortar location of its own, making this an upset in this category this year. Face it, Tacopocalypse is a total taco take-over, and now that it has a permanent building station in the East Village, we’ll likely see its name pop up in the Best Of contest for years to come.

621 Des Moines St., 779-8403, www.tacopocalypse.com

Runners-up: Cityscape Lounge; Akebono 515

 

Best Local Family Restaurant

John and Nick’s

The father-and-son namesake restaurant in Waukee/Clive was able to edge out the reigning favorite, Zombie Burger, by earning the most votes by readers. Not only is John Jaeger and his son Nick an adorable father-son duo, but readers agree owner Dad knows how to make a good quality meal that the whole family can enjoy.

15970 Hickman Road, Clive, 987-1151, www.johnandnicks.com

Runners-up: Zombie Burger; Jersey Guys Pizza

 

Best Kept Secret on the Local Restaurant Scene

Jersey Guys Pizza

Last year’s runner-up was voted as this year’s winner, replacing Valley Junction’s Coopers on 5th. Customers enjoy this family-owned establishment, because its owners have brought a taste of New York to add to the Beaverdale neighborhood’s eclectic charm. With only a year and a half at its tucked-away location on Beaver Avenue, Jersey Guys has managed to become a destination on the Des Moines map, famed for its Philly cheese steaks and fold-over South Jersey pizzas, huge 16-inch pies, sizzling hot mozzie sticks, buffalo wings and other appetizers, a selection of hot and cold hoagie sandwiches and sold-by-the-slice offerings. An affordable price makes this place almost too good to be true.

2713 Beaver Ave., 277-6377, www.jerseyguyspizza.com

Runners-up: Cafe di Scala; Flying Mango

 

Best Local Restaurant Period

Jersey Guys Pizza

Voters have turned out for the Beaverdale brothers, as Jersey Guys Pizza bumps last year’s winner, Zombie Burger, from the top of this category. They didn’t place in this category last year. Jersey Guys is a taste of the East Coast tucked away in a shopping nook in Beaverdale. It’s family-owned and run in a way that makes customers feel in on the secret, like family. It’s quaint in size, but voters say it’s large and loud in flavors, portions and charm.

2713 Beaver Ave., 277-6377, www.jerseyguyspizza.com

Runners-up: Zombie Burger; Centro

 

Best Local Chef

John Jaeger – John and Nick’s

Family matters for John Jaeger, readers’ choice for best local chef this year. Not only is the restaurant named after he and his son, Nick, but Jaeger credits much of his success to his own father, Ron Jaeger. Ron opened his restaurant on the northeast side of Des Moines in 1978 where John learned from his old man how to properly slow-cook a prime rib. Planning to raise his own son much in the same way, voters likely equally enjoy John Jaeger’s devotion to the kitchen and devotion to his family and legacy.

15970 Hickman Road, Clive, 987-1151, www.johnandnicks.com

Runners-up: Tom McKern – Zombie Burger; George Formaro – Orchestrate Hospitality

 

Best Local Wait Staff

Centro

Holding the top spot for its third consecutive year, the Centro staff continues to show that they know how to please the customers. Whether dining solo, as a fawning couple seated at a table for two or a business lunch, Centro’s wait staff offers a hospitable service that finds a comfortable balance between professional and personal.

1003 Locust St., 248-1720, www.centrodesmoines.com

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Zombie Burger  

 

Best Local American Food

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

Zombie Burger has been a local favorite since it opened in the East Village a couple years ago, this year earning “Best American Food,” exemplified by this apple pie a la mode, one of Zombie’s Tom McKern’s creations. McKern is a runner-up this year for “Best Local Chef.” The restaurant also won “Best Local Fries” and was a runner-up in the following categories: “Best Local Restaurant Period,” “Best Local Place for a $10 Dinner,” “Best First Date Spot,” “Best Wait Staff,” “Best Local Burger” and “Best Family Restaurant” categories.

Zombie Burger has been a local favorite since it opened in the East Village a couple years ago, this year earning “Best American Food,” exemplified by this apple pie a la mode, one of Zombie’s Tom McKern’s creations. McKern is a runner-up this year for “Best Local Chef.” The restaurant also won “Best Local Fries” and was a runner-up in the following categories: “Best Local Restaurant Period,” “Best Local Place for a $10 Dinner,” “Best First Date Spot,” “Best Wait Staff,” “Best Local Burger” and “Best Family Restaurant” categories.

Last year’s winner in the “Best Local family restaurant” doesn’t seem to have trouble winning over and keeping the hearts of its patrons Zombie Burger has been collecting Best Of Des Moines titles since its inception. Zombie theme aside, chef Tom McKern offers a menu with all the fixin’s, from hamburgers to hotdogs, the many ways one can cook a potato and appetizers that could stand alone as a meal.

300 E. Grand Ave., 244-9292, www.zombieburgerdm.com

Runners-up: Americana; Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Local Vegetarian/Vegan Menu

New World Café

Chalk another one up for the East Village district, as New World Café takes the title from longtime voter favorite Ritual Café. With a menu that changes from week to week, owners Adam Senecaut and Madeline Krantz have proven the herbivorous lifestyle is a growing trend. More than that, though, with the changing menu, they’ve introduced to the local market the diversity that exists within a more limited pool of ingredients. Building and growing with the community means supporting local growers, businesses and people. Cityview readers respect that.

223 E. Walnut St., 244-0029, http://newworldcafedsm.com

Runners-up: Fresh Café and Market; Ritual Cafe

 

Best Gluten-Free Menu

Fresh Café and Market

Ever-so-gently, because they wouldn’t hurt a fly, the Fresh Café and Market delicately lifts the crown from last year’s winner, Gusto Pizza Company, emerging as voters’ favorite place to eat gluten free. Fresh Café and Market offers custom catering, hosts private parties and juicing and cooking demonstrations to teach others how live healthier by going vegan, vegetarian and gluten free.

1721 25th St., Suite 110, West Des Moines, 440-4700, www.freshcafeandmarket.com

Runners-up: New World Café; Gusto Pizza Co.

 

Best Local Italian

Tursi’s Latin King

Lasagna done with an authentic Italian family recipe at Tursi’s Latin King, Des Moines’ repeat winner of “Best Local Italian Food.”

Lasagna done with an authentic Italian family recipe at Tursi’s Latin King, Des Moines’ repeat winner of “Best Local Italian Food.”

Des Moines’ rich Italian roots are on display every day at this east side hub, voted yet again as having the metro’s best Italian food. In recent years, chef Patrick Morris has been growing the restaurant’s vegetables and herbs right out back, so customers know they are getting only garden-fresh ingredients.

2200 Hubbell Ave., 266-4466, http://tursislatinking.com

Runners-up: Centro; Tumea and Sons

 

Best Local Mexican

Tasty Tacos

For the second year in a row, Tasty Tacos takes the win in this category. Richard and Antonia Mosqueda opened the first restaurant in 1961, and it’s been family-owned ever since. After 50 years, it’s grown to open multiple locations throughout the metro, making it a convenient stop for authentic Mexican cuisine no matter when the craving comes. The homemade and made-fresh daily offers are fresh and hot and fast. For a fast-paced public, voters agree it’s just what they need and at just the right price.

Multiple Locations, www.tastytacos.com

Runners-up: Monterrey, El Rodeo

 

Best Local Thai

Cool Basil

Twice in two years, voters have deemed Cool Basil the coolest when it comes to hot and spicy Thai food. At Cool Basil, customers get to customize their food’s spice level and preparation, which is famed for being fresh, skillfully seasoned and cooked to perfection.

8801 University Ave., Suite 22, Clive, 225-8111, www.coolbasiliowa.com

Runners-up: Thai Flavors; King and I  

 

Best Local Chinese

Tsing Tsao

Fresh, fast, classic Chinese food that’s conveniently located is likely the criteria among voters, as Tsing Tsao offers all those things and more.

Multiple Locations

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Great China

 

Best Local Japanese

Taki Japanese Steakhouse

Taki plays tug-of-war with others for this title every year, owning it in 2011, handing it over to Miyabi 9 in 2012, and then taking it back again last year and this year. For more than a decade, Taki has been serving fresh Sushi and Teppanyaki/Hibachi in Des Moines in an intimate and fun atmosphere, according to voters.

2677 N.W. 86th St., Urbandale, 331-3030, www.takisteakhouse.com

Runners-up: Miyabi 9; Wasabi Chi

 

Best Local Vietnamese

A Dong

A Dong has been championed for many years as the favorite in this category, holding consecutive first-place titles for years. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. It’s located on a low-key corner in an otherwise regular-looking brick building, but Cityview readers know what’s coming from the kitchen are things sure to satisfy, all while keeping the extensive menu simple enough to grasp and affordable.

1511 High St., 284-5632

Runners-up: Vietnam Café; Café Fusion

 

Best Local Seafood

Waterfront Seafood Market

We can’t remember the last time any other restaurant was deemed Des Moines’ best by voters. Waterfront Seafood and Market continues to trounce the category. Started by Ted Hanke in 1984, it has been family-run ever since and continues bringing Des Moines and the central Iowa area what voters deem as the finest quality fish and seafood available anywhere, including an oyster bar, sushi bar, casual restaurant and seafood market all in one.

2900 University Ave., West Des Moines; 2414 S.E. Tones Drive, Ankeny, www.waterfrontseafoodmarket.com

Runners-up: Splash; John and Nick’s

 

Best Local Sushi

Sakari Sushi

Sushi in Des Moines is a Midwestern anomaly — fresh fish in the heart of the rolling plains? Well, it takes some work, some fast wheels and some miles, but somehow restrauteurs make it happen here. Taking the win from defender Miyabi 9 this year, Sakari has an excellent selection of sushi rolls, a variety of Japanese cuisine for both lunch and dinner and a chic dining physique.

2605 Ingersoll Ave., 288-3381, www.sakarisushilounge.com

Runners-up: Miyabi 9; Akebono 515

 

Best Local Steakhouse

John and Nick’s

John and Nick’s is reputed to have the “Best Prime Rib in Des Moines,” yet it’s priced reasonably enough for a family of five or a single parent with kids to afford a night out, letting a friendly wait staff take care of everything. The family-owned John and Nick’s is a voter favorite in many categories this year. With its inviting atmosphere, full bar, friendly staff and famous 60-item salad bar, it’s easy to see why.

15970 Hickman Road, Clive, 987-1151, www.johnandnicks.com

Runners-up: 801 Chophouse; Jesse’s Embers

 

Best Local Breakfast

Waveland Café

The long-standing winner of this category continues to hold the torch and for a good reason. The long line out the front door on any given day should indicate this restaurant’s customer approval. Patrons travel from near and far to indulge in this gem’s delectable fare. It’s a grab a seat and dine kind of joint. Voters attest, Waveland is King of Breakfast in Des Moines.

4708 University Ave., 279-4341; 35653 Ute Ave., Booneville, 987-1038

Runners-up: Cozy Café; Drake Diner

 

Best Local Delicatessen

Palmer’s Deli

A Des Moines staple since 1989, Palmer’s is a deli whose mantra that “great food, great health, great life” are hand-in-hand is one that voters apparently agree with, too. Palmer’s Deli has a community, family vibe that customers enjoy in addition to the sandwiches, soups, salads, pastas and fresh-baked-daily breads and desserts.

Multiple locations, www.palmersdeliandmarket.com

Runners-up: Manhattan Deli; Hy-Vee

 

Best Local Burger

B-Bops

The drive-thru does it again. B-Bops was the one to beat for best burger in Des Moines, but Zombie Burger came to the East Village and voters switched loyalties last year. But Zombie’s  reign in this category has ended. B-Bops returns with its 1950s nostalgia from the car window dining. Perhaps it’s the multiple locations and fast-food service that helps make that burger tastes so scrumptious.

Multiple locations, http://b-bops.com

Runner-ups: Django; Zombie Burger

 

Best Local Pizza

Gusto Pizza Co.

Gusto Pizza Co. took home the honors this year for “Best Pizza” as well as a runner-up mention for its gluten-free menu. This is an example of its signature loaded pie, “The Stallion.”

Gusto Pizza Co. took home the honors this year for “Best Pizza” as well as a runner-up mention for its gluten-free menu. This is an example of its signature loaded pie, “The Stallion.”

Weighing in with large specialty pizzas that can be customized to almost any special-needs diet, Gusto Pizza Co. steps into the ring with a TKO over defending champ, Fong’s. The two tag-team for voters’ love every year: Fong’s was the winner in 2011; Gusto took it back in 2012; Fong’s again in 2013 and now Gusto again. Guests can choose from a large selection of specialty pizzas or create their own. They also offer a variety of sandwiches, pastas and salads.

1905 Ingersoll Ave., 244-8786; 8950 University Ave., West Des Moines, 216-2198, http://gustopizzaco.com

Runner-ups: Big Tomato; Jersey Guys

 

Best Local Bakery

La Mie Bakery

La Mie holds the title for the fourth year in a row, and it’s no wonder why. Des Moines’ finest restaurants and most talented chefs use La Mie breads, which are baked fresh daily. Established in 2003, La Mie quickly became a favorite among local foodies and curious diners alike. La Mie offers various breakfast and lunch options as well as catering.

841 42nd St., 255-1625, www.lamiebakery.com

Runners-up: Scratch Cupcakery; South Union 

 

Best Local Burrito

Tacopocalypse

With a revolving menu of pork cheeks, tongue and beef cheeks among the ingredients used here that are not found at other taco joints, customers indulge in an extremely unique and reasonably priced dining experience. Tacopocalypse is the first winner in this new category, as voters can’t get enough of its Bacon Chorizo, Korean Chicken and Wasabi Brisket, to name a few.

621 Des Moines St., 556-0571, http://tacopocalypse.com

Runners-up: Bandit Burrito; Abelardo’s

 

Best Local Dessert

Scratch Cupcakery

Cupcake flavors change daily at Scratch, and as one could guess by its name, they are made from scratch. Offering more than 125 cupcake flavors, Scratch edged out last year’s winner, Crème Cupcakes, garnering the most votes this year. The Cedar Falls-born business grew to four locations in three years.

7450 Bridgewood Blvd.,
Suite 215,
West Des Moines, 855-833-5719, www.scratchcupcakery.com

Runners-up: Crème Cupcakes; La Mie Bakery

 

Best Local BBQ

Jethro’s BBQ

Voters have been crowning Jethro’s king of BBQ since 2011. Jethro’s does well in representing Des Moines and the entire state in the category of slow-cooked and smoked meats to travelers passing through. And they’ve got the collection of trophies and honors to prove it, having won national competitions since inception.

Multiple metro locations, http://jethrosdesmoines.com

Runners-up: Smokey D’s; Woody’s Smoke Shack

 

Best Local Onion Rings

Maxie’s Restaurant and Lounge

Taking this title six out of seven times, West Des Moines’ somewhat hidden gem is a favorite among Cityview readers, especially when it comes to those beautiful, breaded onion rings — hand cut, hand breaded and golden fried. Voters agree they are a great addition to any meal.

 1311 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, 223-1463, www.maxiesrestaurant.com

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; The Tavern

 

Best Local French Fries

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

In Ireland a potato alone can be a fine meal if you cook it right. Well, in Zombie Burger, fries aren’t just a side to complement the burger. They’re an experience all their own, which is why they were voted best for a second consecutive year. Load these house-cut fries with bacon, cheddar, chili or have the them plain with house-made dipping sauce.

300 E. Grand Ave., 244-9292, www.zombieburgerdm.com

Runners-up: B-Bops; Django 

 

Best Local Chicken Wings

Jethro’s BBQ

Not that Jethro’s needs any more awards, nor can its restaurants probably fit any more on the walls or shelves, but Cityview readers love it, voting its slow-smoked chicken wings — hardwood smoked and fried to a crisp — as the best for three years running. Offered with up to 14 unique sauces from which to choose, they are served bone-in or “Bubba’s Boneless”: Tender white meat soaked in buttermilk, lightly breaded, flash fried to a crispy finish.

Multiple locations, http://jethrosdesmoines.com

Runners-up: Gerri’s; Chicken Coop

 

Best Local Nachos

The University Library Café

We can’t recollect a time when any other restaurant name appeared at the top of this category. This Dawgtown staple is famed for its nachos, from its classic nachosto nachos topped with chopped-up freshly grilled cheeseburger to slow-roasted beef, there is sure to be a nacho on this menu to tantalize the taste buds of anyone.

3506 University Ave., 255-0433

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Skip’s

 

Best Local Soup

Palmer’s Deli

Cityview readers stand by Palmer’s in almost every category where it applies, and when it comes to soup, it takes the win with voters almost every year. Its ever-changing soup menu is available on its website in a printable soup calendar of delectable belly-warming choices, making it a planned destination for lunch daily.

Multiple locations, www.palmersdeliandmarket.com

Runners-up: South Union; Jason’s Deli

 

Best Local Bar Food

High Life Lounge

There was just something about the ’60s. In High Life Lounge’s case, it must have been the food. This period-style corner tavern opened on Groundhog Day in 2005, and the food remains true to the era: deviled eggs, Spam-and-egg sandwiches, liver and onions, broasted chicken, fried chicken gizzards and Mom’s pot roast are among voter favorites. The most popular menu item is the $3.75 cheeseburger basket, but the bacon-wrapped tater tots cannot go without mentioning.

200 S.W. Second St., 280-1965, http://thehighlifelounge.com

Runners-up: Star Bar; El Bait Shop

 

Best Local Bistro Fare

Bistro Montage

This marks Bistro Montage’s eighth “Best Of Des Moines” award in a row for the French-style bistro, which uses only seasonal, local ingredients to comprise a French-inspired menu. Best Of voters continue to remain loyal and true to this magnifique fare.

2724 Ingersoll Ave., 557-1924, www.bistromontage.com

Runners-up: Django; Table 128

 

Best Local Appetizers

Jethro’s BBQ

Cityview readers obviously felt Jethro’s plethora of appetizer options was enough to beat out last year’s winner, Zombie Burger. It may be difficult to choose from giant sweet onion rings, Anna Kay’s famous artichoke dip or waffle fry nachos, plus numerous others, so Jethro’s picks up yet another Best Of title this year.

Multiple locations, http://jethrosdesmoines.com

Runners-up: Americana; Star Bar

 

Best Local Coffeehouse

Smokey Row

Smokey Row was honored again this year as Des Moines’ best coffeehouse and was a runner-up in the “Best Coffee” category.

Smokey Row was honored again this year as Des Moines’ best coffeehouse and was a runner-up in the “Best Coffee” category.

From tea, to coffee, to lattes, to ice cream and all the in-betweens, voters love to read the latest issue of Cityview while enjoying a cup of Joe at Smokey Row, their voted favorite coffeehouse again this year. Offering a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, Smokey Row has something to please all palates, all moods, almost any time of day.

1910 Cottage Grove, 244-2611, https://smokeyrow.com

Runners-up: Zanzibar’s; Java Joes

 

Best Coffee

Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure

A runner-up for Des Moines Best Coffeehouse, Zanzibar’s can brag that readers voted it as serving the best coffee in the metro this year. Made from high-grown Arabica coffee beans from around the globe from places Kenya, Costa Rica and Sumatra, each coffee is roasted in-house in small batches, so every cup is fresh, just how Cityview readers like it.

2723 Ingersoll Ave., 244-7694, www.zanzibarscoffee.com

Runners-up: Smokey Row; Mars Café

 

Best Salad Bar

John and Nick’s

It’s no surprise that John and Nick’s spacious 60-item salad bar that comes with every meal takes the win for this category’s debut in the Best Of Des Moines contest. It’s been a favorite place for salad bar grazers for years, and with the addition of this category, it’s finally getting the recognition voters say it deserves.

15970 Hickman Road, Clive, 987-1151, www.johnandnicks.com

Runners-up: Chicago Speakeasy; Hy-Vee

 

Best Local Wine Selection

Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits

It’s hard to beat Hy-Vee these days. Its new stores are coming equipped with a vast selection of just about anything a consumer is looking for. The liquor department is often where you’ll find Best Of voters, as this was last year’s winner in this category as well. You don’t have to know your wines to be able to select one to your tasting. Hy-Vee’s knowledgeable staff is around every corner and often offers product sampling demos. Free samples! Yes!

Multiple locations, www.hy-vee.com

Runners-up: Louie’s Wine Dive; Gateway Market

 

Best Local Power Lunch

Centro

This urban eatery beckons to growling bowels with its delicious Italian-inspired food featuring fresh ingredients and masterful preparation by Chef George Formaro. Whether you’re ordering a multi-course meal or grabbing a drink and pizza at the bar, Cityview readers go to Centro. For the fifth consecutive year, voters have deemed it the perfect place to fuel up for a busy day.

1003 Locust St., 248-1780, www.centrodesmoines.com

Runners-up: Palmer’s Deli; Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Local Place for a $5 Lunch

Tasty Tacos

For three years in a row, voters have placed Tasty Tacos at the top of this category, and the proof is in the pricing: Every lunch option is no more than $5. So it’s definitely not difficult to find a fulfilling lunch within this price range. Quick and delicious, Tasty Tacos is once again deemed Des Moines Best Place to eat lunch on a budget.

Multiple locations, www.tastytacos.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Tacopocalypse

 

Best Local Place for a $10 Dinner

Hy-Vee

Taken from last year’s winner, Zombie Burger, Hy-Vee is an obvious choice for this category, voted as this year’s best by voters who look for a meal less than $10. Whether it be the sit-down dining experience or a grab-and-go, between Hy-Vee’s Market Grill restaurant or deli buffet, guests can eat for a reasonable price at any conveniently located neighborhood Hy-Vee.

Multiple locations, www.hy-vee.com

Runners-up: Zombie Burger; Jersey Guys

 

Best Local Place to Chow After 2a.m.

Fong’s Pizza

Since 2009, Fong’s has been home to the hungry, after-hours crowd. Its creative pizza menu offers eight different Asian-inspired pies, such as the famous crab rangoon, Thai chicken, Fongolian beef and more, plus hand-rolled appetizers, homemade crust with many sauce choices and a surprising eclectic food menu. Not that quality matters as much after 2 a.m., but Cityveiw readers feel blessed to have it at Fong’s.

223 Fourth St., 323-3333, http://fongspizza.com

Runners-up: Big Tomato; Abelardo’s

 

Best Local First Date Spot

Centro

Last year’s winner of this category was voted best local first date spot yet again, and why not? It’s an upscale, urban dining experience that can be as intimate or casual as two people could want. With tables for two or a high-table spot near the bar, guests get to set the mood, and an award-winning wait staff makes it easy.

1003 Locust St., 248-1780, www.centrodesmoines.com

Runners-up: Zombie Burger; Django

 

Best Local Patio (Restaurant)

Saints Pub + Patio

Rarely will you find the patio vacant at Saints, offering good food, great service and a vibrant atmosphere in four locations across the Midwest, each with numerous flat screen televisions with expansive sports programming and a famed outdoor patio that our readers say is the best in the Des Moines metro.

Multiple locations, http://saintspub.com

Runners-up: Dos Rios; El Patio

 

Best Local Caterer

Catering DSM

Taking this title away from last year’s winner Hy-Vee, Catering DSM ascends from its longstanding runner-up status. Offering a full range of catering services and cuisine options to fit any event in central Iowa, Catering DSM serves near infinite menu possibilities for any occasion — from intimate and personal as a wedding reception, to structured for a corporate meeting to wild tailgate parties.

400 Locust St., Suite 19, 508-0829, http://cateringdsm.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Taste to Go

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Orange Leaf

Orange Leaf is three for three. In this third year we’ve offered this category, it’s a treat to see Orange Leaf own it every year so far, thanks to voters who deem it the best yogurt in Des Moines year after year. Much like the array of flavors, the toppings bar at Orange Leaf allows the patrons to be the boss. It’s good to have it exactly as you like it. Orange Leaf gets it.

Multiple locations, http://orangeleafyogurt.com

Runners-up: Menchies; Cherry Berry

 

Best Place to Get a Doughnut

Dunkin’ Donuts

Taking the crown from the Donut King, voters have deemed Dunkin’ Donuts’ 60  years of baking up experience the best Des Moines has to offer. Nothing pairs with coffee like a donut, and with many available rewards program, nothing tastes better than that one that’s free — a reward for your loyalty.

Multiple locations, www.dunkindonuts.com

Runners-up: Donut King; Krispy Kreme

 

Best Craft Beer

Confluence Brewery

Taking the win from last year’s victor, Knoxville’s Peace Tree Brewing Company, is newbie to the market, Confluence Brewery. After years of hobby brewing, owner and head brewmaster John Martin partnered with fellow home brewer Ken Broadhead to create Confluence Brewing in 2012. This will surely not be his first “Best Of Des Moines” victory.

1235 Thomas Beck Road, 285-9005, http://confluencebrewing.com/

Runners-up: Exile Brewing Company; El Bait Shop

 

Best Import Beer

Stella Artois

Den Hoorn brewery was first established in Leuven, Belgium in 1366. No, that is not a typo: 1366! It began in Belgium almost 650 years ago. Hoorn laid the foundation for the quality, taste and standard Stella Artois is known for today around the world, and in Des Moines, it’s considered the best imported beer by our readers.

www.stellaarois.com

Runners-up: Guinness; Corona

 

Best Domestic Beer

Bud Light

A popular choice by both men and women, a go-to drink at the bar and liquor aisle and found almost anywhere where alcohol is served makes Bud Light a universal and convenient choice among consumers. It’s got the masculinity of the Budweiser family with the low calories women enjoy, too.

Runners-up: Coors Light; Budweiser

 

Best Rum

Captain Morgan

A great mixer with pop or juice, this is liquor that both men and women are known to enjoy, and it’s our readers’ choice for best rum on the market.

www.captainmorganusa.com/agegate

Runners-up: Bacardi; Appleton

 

Best Vodka

Grey Goose

This premium brand French vodka, originally founded by Sidney Frank before its 2004 sale to Bacardi, was voted the best brand by Cityview readers. It’s popularly mixed with energy drinks and used for martinis around Des Moines.

www.greygoose.com 

Runners-up: Svedka; Ketel One

 

Best Whiskey

Templeton Rye

Not just whiskey, but Iowa’s own homegrown Templeton Rye whiskey. Anyone who works in the booze-slinging biz could have told you it was a local favorite. When a case arrives at the liquor store, it doesn’t last a week. When a bottle is popped at the bar, it doesn’t last the night! It’s the elusive elite, smooth and sweet.

www.templetonrye.com

Runners-up: Jack Daniels; Fireball

 

Best Tequila

Patron

Patrón Tequila comes from Hacienda del Patrón, a garden nestled in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Part factory, part palace, the Hacienda makes what our readers have decided is the best tequila in the world. Patrón is the world’s No. 1 exporter of 100 percent Agave tequila, and the facility has grown to accommodate the world’s demand.

www.patrontequila.com

Runners-up: Don Julio; Jose Cuervo

 

Best Soft Drink

Coke

The debate has been running longer than Chevy or Ford. And the results are in — Coke beats Pepsi, according to Des Moines metro voters, again. (Probably because of how well it mixes with Jack and Captain).

http://us.coca-cola.com

Runners-up: Diet Coke; Pepsi

 

Best Restaurant Supply Company

Hockenberg’s

Bar owners and restauteurs have weighed in on this new category, voting Hockenberg’s as the best company for supplies. With more than 100 years in the biz, it’s established a reputation for excellence, reliability and personal attention. 

6000 Aurora Ave., 282-0033, www.hockenbergs.com

Runners-up: Bolton and Hay; Sysco Food Services CV

Estilo