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Best of Des Moines

2/25/2015

Every year, Cityview holds its Best Of Des Moines contest to honor those people and businesses that are doing things right in the community. The awards have grown even bigger this year, with new categories and thousands of voters sharing their opinions on everything from the Best Onion Rings in Des Moines to the Best Outdoor Live Music Venue.

The Best Of Des Moines awards recognize the hard work of those who strive to make the Des Moines metro the great community it is today. With innovative ideas, strong leadership and unique skills, these people have made a difference — and our readers show their appreciation for that year after year with these awards.

Eats

 

Best New Restaurant

Eatery A

Ames ChamberFleet Feet

Using local ingredients for each dish and local reclaimed wood for the building and foundation of the restaurant, Eatery A is dedicated to Iowa and its patrons. They boast delicious Mediterranean food and a fantastic happy hour with half-off pizzas, beer and wine every day before 6 p.m. It’s no wonder our readers can’t stay away. 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-8085; www.eateryadsm.com.

Runners-up: Malo; RoCA
Best Family Restaurant

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

At first thought, it might seem odd that our readers chose an undead theme as the Best Family Restaurant in Des Moines. But when it comes to food that satisfies guests of all ages, Zombie Burger really has the edge. From its gourmet toppings on burgers to the cereal-infused smoothies, kids and adults both love it. 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-9292; www.zombieburgerdm.com.

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Tursi’s Latin King

 

Best Kept Secret on the Restaurant Scene

Marino’s Italian Restaurant

Sometimes it’s hard to find good spaghetti outside your own kitchen. Even the best Italian restaurants won’t make it the way you usually like it, and it never really seems worth the price. That’s not the case at Marino’s Italian Restaurant, as the voters point out by naming it the Best Kept Secret on the Restaurant Scene. They promise you’ll never be disappointed with the food here — even the regular spaghetti. 5801 Hickman Road, Des Moines. 515-255-3931; www.marinosrestaurant.com.

Runners-up: Cooper’s on 5th; Flying Mango

 

Best Restaurant Period

Centro

Some words of advice: stop settling. It’s time to up your food game, and stop having the “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” argument night after night. That ends now, because Centro is here, and the people of Des Moines think it’s damn good. From wine and cocktails to pasta and dessert, everything wins at Centro. 1003 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-248-1780; www.centrodesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Zombie Burger + Drink Lab; Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Fine Dining

Centro

Whether celebrating a birthday, promotion or just a Saturday night, Cityview readers says Centro is the place to go for an elegant meal in an outstanding setting.

Whether celebrating a birthday, promotion or just a Saturday night, Cityview readers says Centro is the place to go for an elegant meal in an outstanding setting.

Tile floor: check. White tablecloths: check. Fine wines and expertly set plates: check and check. Centro goes above and beyond to bring fine dining to the heart of Des Moines, and the readers would like to recognize it. 1003 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-248-1780; www.centrodesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar; Django

 

Best Chef

George Formaro

If you’ve been around Des Moines for a while, you probably know George Formaro’s name. If you haven’t, this ought to help: He’s the creative mastermind behind Centro, Django, South Union Bread Café, Gateway Market & Café, Zombie Burger and Malo. It’s safe to say this man knows a thing or two about good — make that great — food.

Runners-up: Tom McKern–Zombie Burger + Drink Lab; Sam Auen–Tacopocalypse

 

Best Wait Staff

Centro

No one likes sitting for long periods of time with empty water glasses and a dry wine glass. No one likes messy hands with no napkins, and we all hate waiting 45 minutes for a bill. Luckily, you won’t have that issue at Centro. The wait staff knows how to make its customers happy, and the servers always have smiles on their faces. They aren’t afraid to have a conversation with you and always check back to ask how your food is tasting. Don’t like it? They’ll fix it. Happy servers make for happy customers. 1003 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-248-1780; www.centrodesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Zombie Burger + Drink Lab; John & Nick’s Steak & Prime Rib

 

Best Valley Junction Restaurant

Chuck Celsi’s Tavern Restaurant

Margaritas, root beer floats, Chicago deep dish, lasagna — that might sound like a strange combination, but the Tavern makes it work exceptionally well. They’re known for their signature thin crust and pizza sauce. And as our readers know, good pizza really is all one needs in life. 205 Fifth St., Valley Junction. 515-255-9827; www.tavernpizza.com.

Runners-up: Cooper’s on 5th; G Mig’s 5th Street Pub

 

Best West Glen Restaurant

Bonefish Grill

When it comes to seafood, Bonefish Grill doesn’t slack off. Its gourmet menu infuses a medley of flavors and ingredients to bring delicious plates and unique foods to its guests, and our readers can’t get enough. Before you hit the West Glen bars this weekend, make a stop at Bonefish — you won’t be disappointed. 650 S. Prairie View Drive, West Des Moines. 515-267-0064; www.bonefishgrill.com.

Runners-up: Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop; Wok in Motion

 

Best East Village Restaurant

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

How many restaurants offer a funnel cake bun, Skittles barbecue sauce and a mozzarella balloon side dish? We can think of one, and it’s conveniently located in the East Village. A truly unique staple on the streets of downtown Des Moines, our readers say everyone should try it at least once — although once you go, you’ll only be planning your next meal there. 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-9292; www.zombieburgerdm.com.

Runners-up: Alba Restaurant; Lucca Restaurant

 

Best Drake Area Restaurant

Drake Diner

The best thing about small-town diners is stopping in at 4 p.m. every Wednesday and getting to know the server who always takes your order and knows exactly how you want it. There’s something about the regularity and comfort of a classic diner that keeps us coming back. The Drake Diner has this idea down to a tee, and proudly advertises that they welcome all of their customers like family. 1111 25th St., Des Moines. 515-277-1111; www.drakediner.com.

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Woody’s Smoke Shack

 

Best Beaverdale Area Restaurant

Christopher’s Restaurant

Christopher’s is basically the greatest combination of Italian dining and comfortable family-style dining that has ever existed — at least, that’s what our readers say. If the food doesn’t keep you coming back for more (unlikely), the fun environment will definitely draw you back. Owned by the Giudicessi family, they try to keep everyone as close as possible by welcoming guests at the door and making you feel like one of them. 2816 Beaver Ave., Des Moines. 515-274-3694; www.christophersdsm.com.

Runners-up: Chef’s Kitchen; Flying Mango

 

Best Ingersoll Area Restaurant

Eatery A

Eatery A is a mixture of classy and trendy, with plenty of fabulous food. Not only will guests see Mediterranean inspiration in the menu, but they’ll also see hints of Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Italy sifted throughout. It’s an eclectic mix of tastes that customers simply love. 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-8085; www.eateryadsm.com.

Runners-up: Star Bar; Sakari Sushi Lounge

 

Best American Food

Americana Restaurant and Lounge

Not only is Americana known for the best bombshell brunch you can find in the city, the restaurant also has some fantastic classic American food. It features a “winner winner chicken dinner” that comes with endless home-fried chicken for $13. Also, step out on Sunday Funday and grab some wine because Sunday night at Americana is BYOW night (bring your own wine) with no corkage fee. 1312 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-283-1312; http://americanadsm.com.

Runners-up: Zombie Burger + Drink Lab; Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Menu

New World Café

Not only does New World Café feature delicious new vegan meals every week (made with no dairy, eggs or honey) it’s also a business that strives to better the community and environment. New World supports local farms and businesses, donates to activists and composts their food scraps instead of throwing them in the garbage. Good food and good values — New World is the best of both worlds. 223 E. Walnut St., Des Moines. 515-244-0029; http://newworldcafedsm.com.

Runners-up: Fresh Café & Market; Ritual Café

 

Best Gluten-Free Menu

Gusto Pizza Co.

It may come as a surprise, but gluten-free pizza really can be delicious. Our readers think the best gluten-free pizza belongs to Gusto, and they come in the form of some of the most interesting combinations around. http://gustopizzaco.com.

Runners-up: New World Café; Fresh Café & Market

 

Best Italian

Tursi’s Latin King

With several awards to its name (and now 11 from Cityview), Latin King proves itself to be the people’s favorite Italian food in the metro. For more than 60 years, Latin King has been serving up the perfect pasta and decadent desserts like tiramisu. 2200 Hubbell Ave., Des Moines. 515-266-4466; http://tursislatinking.com.

Runners-up: Tumea & Sons Restaurant; Centro

 

Best Mexican

Tasty Tacos

If you’ve never been to Tasty Tacos, don’t let the name fool you — this place has everything from nachos to burritos to deep-fried mushrooms. You’ll pay less than most chain restaurants and for the same quality, which is part of the reason readers keep going back.

www.tastytacos.com.

Runners-up: El Rodeo; Monterrey Mexican Restaurant

 

Best Thai

Cool Basil

Aside from the traditional Thai dishes served here, Cool Basil offers sushi, sashimi and nigiri in a casual, fun environment. Readers love the authentic flavors and ingredients. It’s the perfect spot for a quick lunch or an evening meal. 1250 86th St., Clive. 515-225-8111; http://coolbasiliowa.com.

Runners-up: Thai Flavors; Blu Thai Food & Sushi

 

Best Chinese

Hy-Vee Chinese Express

We know eating at a grocery store sounds strange, but if you are a true Des Moines resident, that means you’ve almost definitely eaten at Hy-Vee before and didn’t regret it. With an equal-to or even bigger menu than many Chinese restaurants, Hy-Vee offers all of the traditional Chinese food favorites for dining in and takeout. Next time you’re at the grocery store and don’t feel like going home to cook everything you just bought, stop at Chinese Express. Our readers say it’ll be the best decision you make all day. Multiple locations. www.hy-vee.com.

Runners-up: China Café; Tsing Tsao

 

Best Japanese

Taki

For the last 13 years, Taki has been inspiring Des Moines with its variety of sushi, teppanaki and hibachi. Taki strives to create the most authentic Japanese cuisine experience possible by using teppan cooking, which means making everything on an iron griddle. Its hibachi chefs put on an outstanding show while making each dish. If you’re looking for a new experience and dying to try something new, head over to Taki and get a taste of Japan. 2677 NW 86th St., Urbandale. 515-331-3030; www.takisteakhouse.com.

Runners-up: Akebono; Miyabi 9

 

Best Mediterranean

Fresh Mediterranean Express

Falafel, kabobs and gyros are some of the main dishes at Fresh Mediterranean Express. The menu is not all that extensive, but the items it does have are all house favorites, as evidenced by the amount of voters who choose it again and again. 15 N.E. Carefree Lane, Waukee. 515-987-6870; http://freshmediterraneanexpress.com.

Runners-up: Open Sesame; Olympic Flame

 

Best Vietnamese

A Dong

If you’ve never had Vietnamese food, trust the people who have — they can all testify to the greatness of A Dong. With more than 140 entrees that include vegan and vegetarian options, A Dong also offers healthy appetizers, drinks and desserts. 1511 High St., Des Moines. 515-284-5632; www.adongrestaurant.com.

Runners-up: Vietnam Café; Pho 888

 

Best Seafood

Waterfront Seafood Market

The chefs at Waterfront have perfected the techniques of cooking seafood, and the residents of Des Moines have taken notice. The staff is trained to know everything about the food it serves, from cooking techniques to seasonings used, so if customers have questions, they’ll be prepared with an immediate answer. http://waterfrontseafoodmarket.com.

Runners-up: Bonefish Grill; Splash Seafood Bar & Grill

 

Best Sushi

Wasabi Chi

The menu is comprised of authentic Asian cuisine, because it was created by the owner, whose hometown is in China, and the executive chef, who is from Japan. Rest assured that if you love sushi or you’re trying it for the first time, Wasabi Chi is the place to go. 5418 Douglas Ave., Des Moines. 515-528-8246; www.wasabichicuisine.com.

Runners-up: Sakari Sushi Lounge; The Mongolian Buffet, Ames

 

Best Hibachi

Ohana Steakhouse

For those who don’t know what hibachi is, it’s when you sit at a table with a grill top in the middle, and a personal chef comes out to cook your food on it in front of you. At Ohana, chefs are friendly and entertaining and will make your food exactly the way you like it. They’ll enjoy a good conversation with guests and try to make them laugh with impressive food tricks, which makes the experience fun and exciting for everyone at the table. 2900 University Ave., West Des Moines. 515-225-3325; www.ohanasteakhouse.com.

Runners-up: Taki; Appare

 

Best Steakhouse

John & Nick’s Steak & Prime Rib

With two family boys behind the business of John & Nick’s, it’s easy to feel like you’re coming home as soon as you walk in the door. The restaurant is black and red and classy all over, with prime USDA steaks on the menu that make it a favorite destination for meat lovers everywhere. 15970 Hickman Road, Clive. 515-987-1151; www.johnandnicks.com.

Runners-up: 801 Chophouse; Chicago Speakeasy

 

Best Breakfast

Waveland Café

Serving up giant omelets and hashbrowns to die for, the Waveland is a city-wide favorite for homemade breakfast food. The staff knows many customers by name, and the cooks make the food almost faster than customers can order it. 4708 University Ave., Des Moines. 515-279-4341

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Perk Up Café

 

Best Delicatessen

Palmer’s Deli & Market

Palmer’s is a Des Moines favorite for lunch, dinner and everything in between. It offers a long list of homemade sandwiches, a variety of freshly tossed salads and more types of pasta salads and cold salads than a person could possibly desire. 2843 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-274-4004; www.palmersdeliandmarket.com.

Runners-up: Hagar’s Manhattan Deli; B&B Market

 

Best Burger

B-Bop’s

Iowa’s favorite burger restaurant takes the win yet again. It’s like the ’60s all over again, only with better food and no roller skates. Stop by for a range of burgers, but don’t forget the classic chili cheese fries and a chocolate shake. Neon lights and all, B-Bop’s can do no wrong when it comes to burgers, as our readers like to point out every year. http://b-bops.com.

Runners-up: Big City Burgers & Greens; Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

 

Best Pizza

Gusto Pizza Company

For the second year in a row, Gusto Pizza will celebrate the title of Best Pizza in Des Moines, which says a lot considering all of the fantastic pizza places in the metro. Our readers like Gusto for its specialty pizzas and the option to create their own pie. 1905 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-8786; http://gustopizzaco.com.

Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza; Pagliai’s Pizza; NYC Pizza Café

 

Best Bakery

Hiland Bakery

Knocking out the first place winner four years running into second place is the Hiland Bakery. It’s a Des Moines-area favorite for its fresh goodies each day, but especially for the artfully decorated sugar cookies, which make any occasion a special occasion. 3615 Sixth Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-4059; www.facebook.com/HilandBakery.

Runners-up: La Mie Bakery; South Union Bakery

 

Best Cupcake Store

Scratch Cupcakery

We might have thought the cupcake craze was just a fad biding its time until the next baked good came around — but we would have been wrong. Scratch Cupcakery proves everyone still loves the unique flavors and pretty decorations on every single mini cake it offers, and there are a lot of flavors. 7450 Bridgewood Blvd. Suite 215, West Des Moines. 855-833-5719; www.scratchcupcakery.com.

Runners-up: Crème Cupcake & Dessert; Della Dolce Bakery

 

Best Burrito

Bandit Burrito

The custom stylings of Bandit Burrito have bumped it from last year’s runner-up to this year’s favorite. With more than 35 items for customers to choose from, Chef Robert Moore promises to build “the best burrito of your life.” Merle Hay Road, Johnston. 515-254-9999; www.banditburrito.com.

Runners-up: Abelardo’s Mexican Fresh; Tacopocalypse

 

Best Dessert

Crème Cupcake & Dessert

With cocktails just as decadent as the desserts themselves, it’s no surprise the voters have named Crème Cupcake and Dessert their favorite spot to satiate their sweet tooth. From cheesecake and lava cake to cupcakes and cake balls, when you’re looking for the perfect cap to the evening, our readers say you’ll find it here. 543 28th St., Des Moines. 515-288-1050; www.cremecupcake.com.

Runners-up: Scratch Cupcakery; La Mie Bakery

 

Best BBQ

Jethro’s BBQ

Now with eight locations around the metro, Jethro’s BBQ is always near the top of restaurants when Des Moines residents think of BBQ. Jethro’s menu of slow-cooked and smoked meats waters the mouth of anyone just thinking about it, leaving no question as to why it’s earned this award for four straight years. https://jethrosdesmoines.com.

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

 

Best Onion Rings

Maxie’s Restaurant

Maxie’s is now a seven-time winner of this award, proving two things: You don’t have to be the biggest to be the best, and people really like onion rings. Hand-cut, hand-breaded and fried to a crispy golden brown, they’re the perfect complement to any entrée. 1311 Grand Ave., West Des Moines. 515-223-1463; www.maxiesrestaurant.com.

Runners-up: Chuck Celsi’s Tavern Restaurant; Nick’s Bar & Grill

 

Best French Fries

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

Zombie Burger has been known to take its food to a new level, and they’ve even done it with the basic french fry, which isn’t so basic at this local favorite. Loaded with bacon, cheddar and chili, they make a meal all their own. Or get the regular order to go with a burger — readers say you won’t regret either option. 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-9292; www.zombieburgerdm.com.

Runners-up: Smashburger; B-Bop’s

 

Best Chicken Wings

Jethro’s BBQ

Jethro’s is all about meat, and that means chicken wings are definitely a highlight on the menu. The voters can’t get enough of the slow-smoked wings, as they’ve proven by naming it the best place for them four years in a row. https://jethrosdesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Chicken Coop; Buffalo Wild Wings

 

Best Nachos

University Library Café

Ahh, nachos. One of the best appetizers on any menu. They’re easy enough to whip up at home, but it’s just so much more satisfying to have them brought to the table while you await the rest of the meal. For the best nachos in the metro, our readers have chosen University Library Café every year for its variety. 3506 University Ave., Des Moines. 515-255-0433; http://thelibrarydm.com.

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

 

Best Taco

Tasty Tacos

This is a new category on the list, but it’s been a long time coming. There are too many places in the area to count that serve brag-worthy tacos, but the readers have spoken, and they say Tasty Tacos has the best. With quick service, cheap prices and deliciously fresh ingredients, you don’t have to guess why this is a local favorite. www.tastytacos.com.

Runners-up: Tacopocalypse; Malo

 

Best Ribs

Smokey D’s BBQ

If the winner of this new category is a surprise to you, you probably haven’t tried Smokey D’s yet. It’s won hundreds — literally hundreds — of awards for BBQ, so you can bet they make a mean rack of ribs. www.smokeydsbbq.com.

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Woody’s Smoke Shack

 

Best Tenderloin

Smitty’s

When it comes to tenderloins, the voters say Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop is the only place to go. Since 1967, three generations of the Smith family have been serving large breaded tenderloins that beat all others. 1401 Army Post Road, Des Moines. 515-287-4742; www.smittystenderloins.com.

Runners-up: Nick’s Tenderloin; Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Soup

Palmer’s Deli & Market

The ever-changing soup menu at Palmer’s Deli makes it a favorite in this category year after year. Palmer’s Chili, Wisconsin Cheese, Chicken Enchilada and Tomato Basil Ravioli are just a few of the many options that change daily at Palmer’s. www.palmersdeliandmarket.com.

Runners-up: South Union Bread Cafe; Gateway Market

 

Best Cheese Store

The Cheese Shop

Offering more than 100 of the finest artisan and farmhouse cheeses, The Cheese Shop also has a café with gourmet sandwiches and “toasties,” which is their version of a grilled cheese.

Offering more than 100 of the finest artisan and farmhouse cheeses, The Cheese Shop also has a café with gourmet sandwiches and “toasties,” which is their version of a grilled cheese.

With more than 100 artisan and farmhouse cheeses available, readers voted The Cheese Shop the Best Cheese Store in this new category. Customers can enjoy a cheese tasting bar with craft beer, wine and cured meats, and the events and workshops make it a real experience. 833 42nd St., Des Moines. 515-528-8181; http://thecheeseshopdsm.com.

Runners-up: Gateway Market; Hy-Vee

 

Best Bar Food

Star Bar

Knocking the High Life Lounge out of first place, the voters have made Star Bar this year’s winner — no doubt for its variety of classic bar food and ethnic options. From hot wings and burgers to sesame crusted ahi tuna and crab rangoons, visitors can find something to fit any mood. 2811 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-0790; www.facebook.com/pages/Star-Bar/136274343103802.

Runners-up: The High Life Lounge; Francies

 

Best Bistro Fare

Bistro Montage

The French-inspired menu at Bistro Montage wins this award year after year for nine straight titles. Our readers love the seasonal, local ingredients and the reasonable prices of these one-of-a-kind food items. 2724 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-577-1924; http://bistromontage-hub.com.

Runners-up: Django; La Mie Bakery; Table 128 Bistro & Bar

 

Best Appetizers

Jethro’s BBQ

For the second year, Jethro’s takes home the award for Best Appetizers. The only problem with the large menu of meal-starters at these restaurants is deciding which ones to pick and which to skip, as they are all just that good. https://jethrosdesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Trostel’s Dish Restaurant; Americana; Eatery A

 

Best Coffee/Coffeehouse

Smokey Row Coffee

When it comes to meeting a friend for a latte, sipping a cup of tea over a good book or fueling a study session with espresso, our readers say Smokey Row is their favorite place to go. 1910 Cottage Grove Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-2611; https://smokeyrow.com.

Runners-up: Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure; Java Joe’s

 

Best Salad Bar

Chicago Speakeasy

In the second year of this category, we’ve seen as many winners. This year, Chicago Speakeasy’s salad bar wins the hearts of the voters. With dozens of different toppings and dressings, it tops most other salad bars. But it’s the dozens of other noodle and dessert salads that really seal the deal. Whether dining in or taking it to go, you’ll find every option here. 1520 Euclid Ave., Des Moines. 515-243-3141; www.chicagospeakeasyrestaurant.com.

Runners-up: John & Nick’s Steak & Prime Rib; Hy-Vee

 

Best Wine Selection

John & Nick’s Steak & Prime Rib

From sparkling dessert wines to rich reds, John and Nick’s sells just about any bottle you can imagine. Wines from regions around the world appear on the two-page list, most of which can only be purchased by the bottle, but our readers say it’s worth every penny. 15970 Hickman Road, Clive. 515-987-1151; www.johnandnicks.com.

Runners-up: Louie’s Wine Dive; Django

 

Best Power Lunch

Centro

When looking to load up on carbs of the most delicious variety, our readers don’t look any further than downtown’s Centro. It’s Italian menu features fresh ingredients and unique combinations that leave every stomach happily full at the end of the meal. 1003 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-248-1780; www.centrodesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Palmer’s Deli & Market; Chicago Speakeasy

 

Best Place for a $5 Lunch

Tasty Tacos

It’s easy to find a cheap lunch at Tasty Tacos, where every item is less than the $5 mark, but still delicious. For a fast meal that won’t put much of a dent in the wallet, the voters consistently choose this local favorite. www.tastytacos.com.

Runners-up: Tacopocalypse; Hy-Vee

 

Best Place for a $10 Dinner

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

When it comes to getting quality food for a low-budget price, Zombie Burger comes in with the win. Their unique combinations for unlikely foods piled on burgers make for a surprisingly delicious meal. Even more surprising is how affordable those decadent flavors are. 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-9292; www.zombieburgerdm.com.

Runners-up: A Dong; Tasty Tacos

 

Best Place to Chow After 2 a.m.

Fong’s Pizza

When it comes to late-night dining, Fong’s knows exactly what customers want. Serving some of the best pizza in the metro into the early hours of the day is what makes it the Best Place to Chow After 2 a.m.

When it comes to late-night dining, Fong’s knows exactly what customers want. Serving some of the best pizza in the metro into the early hours of the day is what makes it the Best Place to Chow After 2 a.m.

Whoever thought to put a late-night pizza joint next to the biggest bar district in town had a pure stroke of genius. When the drinks aren’t being served anymore, our readers know Fong’s is the place to go, with pizza by the slice and classic toppings to end a night on the town the right way. 223 Fourth St., Des Moines. 515-323-3333; http://fongspizza.com.

Runners-up: Abelardo’s Mexican Restaurant; Big Tomato Pizza

 

Best Hangover Food

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

When it comes to treating a hangover, most people opt for greasy, fried comfort food to heal the wounds of the night before. Zombie Burger offers a variety of fried appetizers to start the healing, and every kind of burger you’ve never thought of to finish the job. The first winner in this new category, the readers like its many options — and many cheeses. 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-244-9292; www.zombieburgerdm.com.

Runners-up: Waveland Café; Mullet’s Restaurant

 

Best First Date Spot

Centro

When the people of Des Moines are looking to impress on the first date, they take them to Centro for a classic Italian dinner and an upscale environment. Yet again, Centro wins this one for its mood lighting and intimate seating options. 1003 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-248-1780; www.centrodesmoines.com.

Runners-up: Django; Eatery A

 

Best Patio Restaurant

Eatery A

After opening less than a year ago, Eatery A has stolen the hearts of our readers — and the title of Best Patio Restaurant. When the weather turns warm, it’s hard to find an open table at any of the many patios in the metro, but the voters say this is the one worth waiting for. 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-8085; www.eateryadsm.com.

Runners-up: Dos Rios; Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

 

Best Place to Get a Doughnut

Dahl’s

Despite its recent store closures around the metro, the people of Des Moines stand by this grocery store and its tasty treats. Whether customers are picking up just one doughnut for themselves or a dozen for the office, they trust Dahl’s to make them taste as sweet as they look. www.dahlsfoods.com.

Runners-up: Donut King; Dunkin’ Donuts

 

Best Caterer

Taste! To Go and Catering

This award sees a new winner each year, and Taste! To Go is 2015’s. Readers enjoy the full-service catering for all of their events, whether they require a box lunch, appetizers, brunch, served plates or wedding and special event buffets. Taste! To Go has been delivering creative dishes with fresh ingredients for years. 4700 University Ave., Des Moines. 515-277-8646; www.tastetogo.net

Runners-up: Gateway Market; Hy-Vee

 

Best Food Delivery

Thai Flavors

If you’re surprised to hear this is the first time we’ve introduced this category, we’re right there with you. The ability to get ready-to-eat food delivered to your door is one of the many benefits that come along with living in a city. And though there are many to choose from, the readers say Thai Flavors is the best place to get fresh food delivered to your home. http://thaiflavorsiowa.com.

Runners-up: In the Bag; Hy-Vee

 

Best Restaurant Supply Company

Hockenberg’s

For the second year this category has been included, Hockenberg’s has earned the title of Best Restaurant Supply Company. After 100 years of supplying restaurants in the metro, customers rely on its reputation for excellence and attention to detail. 6000 Aurora Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-0033; www.hockenbergs.com.

Runners-up: Bolton & Hay; Sysco

 

Best Food Truck

Nana’s Sweet Treats

While the number of food trucks has been increasing on busy city streets, the nominees in this category were varied. But the people have spoken, and it seems they’ve let their sweet tooth do the talking, making Nana’s Sweet Treats their favorite food truck in the metro. https://tnpsweettreats.wix.com/tnpsweettreats

Runners-up: The Spot; Magnolia Kitchen & Grocery; Melts Without Borders

 

Best Craft Beer

Des Moines IPA – Confluence Brewing

After just a few short years on the market, Confluence Brewing has made its mark on the beer drinkers of Des Moines. Its famous Des Moines IPA was voted the Best Craft Beer for back-to-back wins for brewmasters John Martin and Ken Broadhead. 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines. 515-285-9005; http://confluencebrewing.com.

Runners-up: Blonde Fatale – Peace Tree Brewing Co.; Ruthi – Exile Brewing Co.

 

Best Import Beer

Stella Artois

This classic is a product of a Belgian brewery established hundreds — yep, we said hundreds — of years ago. The quality taste and standard has carried over for centuries and is still considered the best import by Des Moines drinkers. www.stellaartois.com.

Runners-up: el Bait Shop; Hessen Haus

 

Best Domestic Beer

Budweiser

Maybe it’s the tear-inducing Super Bowl commercials Budweiser unveils each year or the smooth taste of the refreshing cold brew — either way, the people of Des Moines say it’s the Best Domestic Beer. www.budweiser.com.

Runners-up: Bud Light; Coors Light

 

Best Soft Drink

Pepsi

An upset has taken this category by storm this year, making it clear that Des Moines voters are drinking more Pepsi than Coke. www.pepsico.com.

Runners-up: Coke; Diet Coke

 

Best Rum

Captain Morgan

Just because Coke wasn’t voted the favorite soft drink this year doesn’t mean Captain Morgan has gone anywhere. Whether they’re mixing it with pop or juice, this brand has been the readers’ favorite for years. www.captainmorgan.com.

Runners-up: Bacardi; Malibu

 

Best Vodka

IngeniOz

Made by Iowa State Professor Hans van Leeuwen, IngeniOz is said to lessen the effects of a hangover due to its purity. It was named the Best Vodka of 2015 by Cityview readers.

Made by Iowa State Professor Hans van Leeuwen, IngeniOz is said to lessen the effects of a hangover due to its purity. It was named the Best Vodka of 2015 by Cityview readers.

A new local drink has taken over this category for the Best Vodka. Created by Iowa State University professor Hans van Leeuwen, IngeniOz is said to be the purest vodka on the market, which means drinkers can expect less of a hangover when they pour this in their glass. Produced right here in Cumming, Iowa, this probably won’t be the last award for IngeniOz. http://iowadistilling.com.

Runners-up: Tito’s Homemade; Grey Goose

 

Best Whiskey

Templeton Rye

So there might have been a little controversy with Templeton, but that doesn’t change the fact that people love its whiskey. Drink it straight or in a cocktail, it’ll put the hair on your chest and the fun in your night. www.templetonrye.com.

Runners-up: Cedar Ridge; Jack Daniels

 

Best Tequila

Patron

For the finest margaritas and the smoothest shots, our readers turn to Patron Tequila. Coming from Jalisco, Mexico, it’s earned a place in the hearts of people the world over, including right here in Des Moines. www.patrontequila.com.

Runners-up: Don Julio; Jose Cuervo

 

 

Shopping

 

Best Store (overall)

Glazed Expressions

Winner of 2014’s Best Locally Owned Business, Best Mom & Pop, Best Paint and Sip Studio and Best Gift Shop, it’s probably not a surprise that Glazed Expressions stole the win for Best Store (overall) in Cityview’s 2015 awards. Choose anything from pottery, painting, candles and more to entertain both kids and adults. The classes and parties are a fan favorite for crafty people across the metro. 8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive. 515-224-4700; www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Raygun

 

Best Men’s Clothing Store

Badowers

Serving the metro for more than 50 years, Badowers has acquired quite the following. Its eclectic styles have even garnered attention from Esquire as one of America’s top men’s stores. So it’s no surprise that Badowers has climbed from runner-up on Cityview’s annual awards to the top of this year’s list for best men’s clothing stores in Des Moines. 2817 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-283-2121; http://badowers.com

Runners-up: Mr. B Clothing; G & L Clothing

 

Best Women’s Clothing Store

Blond Genius

From the East Village all the way to West Des Moines, Blond Genius edged out last year’s winner, Aimée, for the ladies’ favorite clothing store of 2015. Maybe it has something to do with the wall of denim or all the stylish jewelry the store offers. We’re guessing it’s a bit of both that brings shoppers to this bright, stylish store over and over again. 165 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 165, West Des Moines. 515-223-9907; www.blondgenius.com

Runners-up: Aimée; Mint L.A.

 

Best Thrift Shop

Encore Thrift Store – Hope Ministries

Once again, Encore Thrift Store takes the (very reasonably priced) cake for best thrift shop. Its two locations offer racks upon racks of clothing, shoes, home items and more at low prices. What’s better than scoring a one-of-a-kind find for pennies on the dollar? Knowing the money is going toward a good cause, and that’s the point of Encore. It really is a win-win. www.hopeiowa.org/pages/learn/encore-thrift-store

Runners-up: Goodwill Industries International Inc.; The Worn Store

 

Best Clothing Boutique

Blond Genius

Back for its second 2015 prize, Blond Genius proves it doesn’t only serve women, but men have plenty of opportunity to get in on the hottest styles, too. Bumping last year’s winner to second place, this West Des Moines store is growing its audience year by year. 165 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 165, West Des Moines. 515-223-9907; www.blondgenius.com

Runners-up: Mint L.A.; The Funky Zebra

 

Best Kept Secret on the Shopping Scene

Little Padded Seats

The amount of votes this new category received proves Des Moines has its fair share of kept secrets in shopping. It’s hard for a store to stay a secret when it lives in a mall, especially a prominent one like Valley West, but Little Padded Seats has managed to do just that. With inventory ranging from diapers and training pants to pregnancy and potty training items, it might not be the hottest gossip around town, but when new parents need supplies, they’ll find out there’s only one place to go. Valley West Mall, 1551 Valley West Drive, Suite 153, West Des Moines. 515-557-0947; www.littlepaddedseats.com

Runners-up: REDO; Funky Finds Vintage & Retro; The Worn Store

 

Best Bridal Shop

Schaffer’s

As last year’s runner-up for this award, Schaffer’s isn’t new to the list of great bridal shops in the metro. This year, the store that’s been serving brides for more than 70 years now has a new title. Schaffer’s team of experts promises to help brides build memories from the day they first see the perfect dress to the day they say “I do.” 5525 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines. 515-288-0356; www.schaffers.com

Runners-up: Weddings By Design; Bridal Boutique

 

Best Tuxedo Shop

Skeffington’s Formal Wear

And what’s a wedding without the perfect set of tuxes? Skeffington’s edged out last year’s first- and second-place Best Of winners as the public’s favorite tuxedo shop, and it’s not hard to see why. It offers tuxes for every occasion in a man’s life — from prom kings to grooms — and carries every style and color imaginable, in tuxedos and suits. If you want your man to look spiffy in those formal photos, Skeffington’s Formal Wear will help him look his finest. www.skeffingtons.com

Runners-up: Milroy’s Tuxedos; The Tux Shop

 

Best Comic Book Store

Mayhem Comics, Cards & Games

For the second year in a row, Mayhem Comics is the fan favorite for comic books, trading cards, games and so much more. Mayhem isn’t just a place to buy comics, though. This store is about the experience and the community shared at several events throughout the year. Mayhem is more than a store: It’s a comic book haven, as proven by its second win in a category just as old. 7500 University Ave., Clive. 515-271-8104; www.mayhemcomics.com

Runners-up: Capes Kafe; Jay’s CD & Hobby

 

Best Shoe Store

Fit to be Tied

Another business that’s been in the Best Of runners-up category for the last couple years, Fit to be Tied was originally the first Crocs Store in the country but has since widened its inventory to all sorts of footwear. The friendly and knowledgeable staff is known for fitting customers with the perfect shoe not only for their needs but also one that fits their personalities. Valley West Mall, 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines. 515-221-2253; www.fit2btiedshoes.com

Runners-up: Peep Toe; Fleet Feet Sports; Fitness Sports Running Store

 

Best New Store

Waxing the City

The title of Best New Store is a coveted one, and it’s interesting to see which business can gain the biggest fan base when Cityview’s award season rolls around. This year, Waxing the City steals the show from REDO and Fleet Feet Sports. 1300 N.W. 100th St., Clive. 515-225-4045; www.waxingthecity.com/clive/

Runners-up: REDO; Fleet Feet Sports

 

Best Music Store

ZZZ Records

Two years in a row, ZZZ Records is proving that brick-and-mortar record stores are still alive and flourishing. Music fans know listening to an iPod just isn’t the same as having the physical record in your hands. And as the oldest independent record store in Des Moines, ZZZ isn’t just holding strong in the metro’s music scene — it’s a growing demand. 2200 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-284-1401; www.zzzrecords.com

Runners-up: Rieman Music Inc.; Wayback Records

 

Best Book Store

Beaverdale Books

When you’ve got it, you’ve got it — and Beaverdale Books is keeping it. The top place for metro bookstores, that is. There’s something about the smell of fresh paper bound between two hard covers, nestled in rows and rows of literature just waiting to be pulled from the shelf and taken into a new home. Beaverdale Books knows how to please reading enthusiasts, as they’ve voted it the winner of this award consistently for years. 2629 Beaver Ave. Suite 1, Des Moines. 515-279-5400; www.beaverdalebooks.com

Runners-up: Half Price Books; Plain Talk Books & Coffee

 

Best Used Book Store

Half Price Books

Sometimes used books are better than the brand new copies. Their worn pages and slightly wrinkled covers show that they’ve been read and loved before. They’re almost a story within a story. Half Price Books holds strong as the leading used book store in central Iowa. The turnover of old favorites and new keeps readers coming back again and again, like a never-ending treasure hunt. Westridge Shopping Center, 10201 University Ave., Clive. 515-224-4429; www.hpb.com/031/

Runners-up: Plain Talk Books & Coffee; Beaverdale Books

 

Best Auto Shop

Westside Auto Pros

An auto shop is one of those places that when you find one that does good quality work repeatedly, you tell everyone about it. That’s the case with Westside Auto Pros, reigning champion of Best Auto Shop. Known around town for their good work and friendly service, Westside Auto knows building relationships is key to good business. 1901 N.W. 92nd Court, Des Moines. 515-309-1252; www.westsideautopros.com

Runners-up: Drake Garage; Finish Line Auto Works

 

Best Car Dealer (Domestic)

Stivers Ford Lincoln

Known as the “No. 1 Ford Lincoln Dealer” in Iowa, Stivers holds strong in this Best Of category, beating out two Chevrolet dealers. Now, it could be argued that the brands have something to do with the voting process here, but we’re willing to bet good service and knowledgeable salespeople are the winning factors. 1450 E. Hickman Road, Waukee. 888-624-0608; http://stiversfordia.com

Runners-up: Bob Brown Chevrolet; Karl Chevrolet

 

Best Car Dealer (Foreign)

Willis Auto Campus

The people have spoken, and once again they’ve named Willis above all others as the best dealership of foreign-made vehicles in Des Moines. With an inventory as large and diverse as that of Willis Auto Campus, it’s not hard to see why. 2121 N.W. 100th St., Des Moines. 800-568-0497; www.willisautocampus.com

Runners-up: Toyota of Des Moines; Hummel’s Nissan

 

Best Motorcycle Shop

Struthers Bros

An upset has turned the Best Motorcycle Shop category on its head, as Struthers Bros edges out last year’s winner — Fenders Cycle — for the top spot. Struthers has been bringing new and pre-owned vehicles to riders in Des Moines since 1968, and it’s not showing any signs of backing down from the competition. Whether you’re in the market for a Suzuki or a Kawasaki, Struthers Bros has the bike for you. 5191 N.W. Second St., Des Moines. 515-282-3634; www.struthersbros.com

Runners-up: Big Barn Harley Davidson; Fenders Cycle

 

Best Bicycle Shop

Bike World

And speaking of bikes, you won’t see any changes in the winner of Best Bicycle Shop this year. Bike World holds strong to the title, selling bikes, parts, accessories and everything else imaginable for the avid cyclist. With locations in Ames, Urbandale and West Des Moines, Bike World serves customers throughout all of central Iowa. http://bikeworldiowa.com

Runners-up: Rasmussen Bike Shop; Ichi Bike

 

Best Liquor Store

Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits

It might come as a surprise — or maybe not, depending on where you do your shopping — that Hy-Vee has taken first place in the Best Liquor Store award. Last year’s winner, Ingersoll Wine & Spirits, is still on the list as first runner-up, but the handy locations of Hy-Vee’s liquor stores spread out city to city make for a convenience factor unbeatable by most. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Ingersoll Wine & Spirits; Central City Liquor

 

Best Wine Store

Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits

No surprise here. Many people purchase wine with their groceries, so it only makes sense to do it all in one stop. Not to mention Hy-Vee has a wide selection of every shade and brand imaginable. From $5 to $50, every budget is covered. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Ingersoll Wine & Spirits; Gateway Market

 

Best Pharmacy

Hy-Vee Pharmacy

Once again, Hy-Vee takes the win for Best Pharmacy. It might be the convenience again, but the helpful pharmacists and friendly faces probably have something to do with this victory. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Medicap Pharmacy; Bauder Pharmacy

 

Best Health Food Store

Campbell’s Nutrition

Campbell’s Nutrition remains the favorite place to go for people looking to eat locally grown, organic foods. For 75 years, Campbell’s has been supplying the metro with tasty, healthy groceries. Oh, and did we mention it has been winning this award for years? Campbell’s does health food right, and people haven’t forgotten that. www.campbellsnutrition.com

Runners-up: Gateway Market; Hy-Vee

Best Grocery Store

Hy-Vee

No surprise here. This local chain is ever expanding to meet the demands of its many customers. Next on its list of new locations: the Court Avenue District downtown. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Fareway; Gateway Market

 

Best Furniture Store

Homemakers

Year after year, people still choose Homemakers as their favorite spot to purchase furniture, and it makes sense. With each trip there’s something new to be seen — a bigger pool table, a fluffier couch. Or maybe everyone is just going there for the fresh cookies and lemonade… We can’t be sure. 10215 Douglas Ave., Urbandale. 515-276-2772; www.homemakers.com

Runners-up: Redeker’s; Pigott Inc.

 

Best Jewelry Store

Josephs

With wedding season approaching, many voters probably already had jewelry stores on the mind — and for almost 150 years, Josephs has been here to make popping the question even more special. Because what’s an engagement story without a gorgeous ring to show off? www.josephsjewelers.com

Runners-up: Christopher’s Fine Jewelry; Leona Ruby

 

Best Antique Store

The Brass Armadillo

It may not have its own TV show, but The Brass Armadillo does know how to keep customers coming back. Its unbeatable selection has turned Brass Armadillo into the antique destination for residents and visitors alike. Collectables, memorabilia and vintage finds draw in antique hunters from all regions.

701 N.E. 50th Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-0082; www.brassarmadillo.com/desmoines

Runners-up: West End Architectural Salvage; Funky Finds Vintage & Retro

 

Best Greenhouse

Goode Greenhouses

This is only the second year voters have had the chance to elect the Best Greenhouse of Des Moines, and this year they’ve chosen a different one. Goode Greenhouse offers annuals, perennials, herbs and other garden flowers. In the business of growing for 110 years now, Goode meets all your greenery needs. 1050 N.E. 50th Ave., Des Moines. 515-262-6504; www.goodegreenhouses.com

Runners-up: Piney Ridge Greenhouse Inc.; Rene’s Greenhouse

 

Best Art Gallery

Moberg Gallery

For readers who have spent at least a few years in the metro, Moberg is likely a familiar name. It has an ongoing list of events and exhibits throughout the year, and voters recognize the work it puts in to delivering interesting, culturally diverse art by some of the most talented artists around. 2921 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-279-9191; www.moberggallery.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Art Center; Des Moines Social Club-Viaduct Gallery

 

Best Hair Salon

Bombshell Bettys Salon

This year’s Best Hair Salon has taken the figurative crown from three-time winner Salon TEC. Bombshell Bettys promises — you guessed it — bombshell-worthy hair treatment to its customers. The lineup of experienced and friendly stylists makes an ordinary haircut seem like a first-class salon experience. 515-274-1577; http://bombshellbettyssalon.com

Runners-up: Salon TEC; Salon Utopia

 

Best Barber Shop

Franklin Plaza Barber Shop

This is a first-time category for the Best Of Des Moines. The voters have spoken, and they’ve named Franklin Plaza Barber Shop the No. 1 place for men’s hair needs. Need a haircut? You got it. A close shave? Sure. Beard oil? We don’t know what that is, but apparently they’ve got that, too. 4942 Franklin Ave., Des Moines. 515-255-7115; www.facebook.com/franklinplazabarber

Runners-up: Roosevelt Barber Shop; Pope’s on 35th

 

Best Spa

East Village Spa

If a person is going to shell out the money to visit a spa, they have to make sure they’re making a good investment. Year after year, Cityview readers vote East Village Spa as the spa worth investing in. It offers every service imaginable, and the events and specials are unmatched. For a relaxing and rejuvenating day, you know where to go. 601 E. Locust St. #202, Des Moines. 515-309-2904; www.evdayspa.com

Runners-up: The Spa at West Glen; Sahars Salon & Day Spa

 

Best Place for Skin Care

SkinGym by Ashley

It’s surprising that this is the first year this category has been presented for the Best Of Des Moines awards. The skin care industry is among one of the biggest, and our readers recognize that. SkinGym offers spa facials, advanced treatments and even memberships. Like any gym, it takes time and repetition to cultivate results. 120 Fifth St., West Des Moines. 515-330-1123; www.skingymbyashley.com

Runners-up: East Village Spa; Heartland Skin Wellness Center

 

Best Waxing Salon

Waxing the City

After being voted Best New Store, it’s no surprise Waxing the City would steal the victory for Best Waxing Salon. It promises to make hair removal painless for its clients. Well, maybe they can’t promise you won’t scream, but they do promise you’ll be happy with the results. And so far, the readers agree. 1300 N.W. 100th St., Clive. 515-225-4045; www.waxingthecity.com/clive/

Runners-up: The Pink Beaver Waxing Studio; East Village Spa

 

Best Tanning Salon

Sun Tan City

In a category that changes from year to year, Sun Tan City has managed to collect the most votes twice in row. And since tanning salons can be found on seemingly every block and gym these days, it was no easy feat. But Cityview readers tend to like options, and Sun Tan City has plenty of them, including the cutting-edge technology of the stand-up spray tan booths at various locations. http://suntancity.com

Runners-up: Soleil Tan Spa; Sun Seekers Tan Spa

 

Best Place for Aesthetic Surgery

Des Moines Plastic Surgery

A youthful appearance is highly valued in the modern world, and when it comes to getting a little extra help in that department, Cityview readers have chosen a new leader. Des Moines Plastic Surgery was voted Best Place for Aesthetic Surgery over three-time winner Heartland Plastic Surgery. 5901 Westown Parkway, Suite 250, West Des Moines. 515-221-9999; www.dsmplasticsurgery.com

Runners-up: Heartland Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; Koch Facial Plastic Surgery & Spa

 

Best Hardware Store

Miller’s Hardware Incorporated

This category has seen several different winners through the years, so it’s not a surprise to see a new one on top for 2015. It might not be the biggest hardware store around, but it makes up for it with expert service and good people. 1300 Martin Luther King Junior Parkway, Des Moines. 515-283-1724

Runners-up: True Value; O’Donnell Ace Hardware

 

Best Shopping District

East Village

If anyone is surprised by this repeat-winner, they obviously haven’t visited this downtown district. An eclectic array of vintage and modern stores, women’s boutiques and athletic stores make for one-of-a-kind shopping experiences not to be matched by any mall. Half the fun of shopping in the East Village is the unique finds — the other half is the experience. http://eastvillagedesmoines.com

Runners-up: Jordan Creek; Valley Junction

 

Best Flower Shop

Boesen the Florist

When looking to express your feelings in a fresh, beautiful way, flowers are the way to go. Whether it’s an anniversary, birthday or just because, our readers know the best place for all their flower needs — year after year — is Boesens. 3422 Beaver Ave., Des Moines. 515-274-4761; www.boesen.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Plaza Florist & Gifts

 

Best Adult Store

Romantix

For those looking to send a slightly different message than flowers can offer, voters look to Romantix. It offers everything one needs to spice up the night and bring a little bit of naughty to even the nicest of couples. 2020 E. Euclid Ave., Des Moines. 515-266-7992.

1401 E. Army Post Road, Des Moines. 515-256-1102. www.romantixonline.com

Runners-up: Christal’s; Lion’s Den

Best Hotel/Motel

Holiday Inn Downtown

What better way to get the full experience of downtown Des Moines than by immersing oneself in it from day to night? The Holiday Inn overlooks the heart of Iowa’s capital city and promises its guests won’t miss out on all it has to offer with a stay at one of the finest hotels — not to mention one of its finest bar/restaurants right in the building. 1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines. 515-283-0151; www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/des-moines/dsmdw/hoteldetail

Runners-up: Des Lux Hotel; Embassy Suites

 

Best Mom & Pop Store

Glazed Expressions

After making a killing at last year’s Best Of Des Moines awards, Glazed Expressions is a name readers will be seeing quite a bit again this year. Already deemed this year’s Best Store (Overall), it repeats its title of Best Mom and Pop, too. 8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive. 515-224-4700; www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Suite Dreams; Little Padded Seats

 

Best Iowa Product

Iowa Pork Producers

This category is known to turn up answers on all ends of the spectrum. This year, the voters stuck to something they know best: their stomachs. The Iowa Pork Producers Association has been serving Iowa stomachs since the early 1900s, and the people can’t get enough. 1636 N.W. 114th St., Clive. 515-225-7675; www.iowapork.org

Runners-up: Maytag Blue Cheese; IngeniOz Vodka

 

Best Gift Shop

Glazed Expressions

They say it’s the thought that counts, and what’s more thoughtful than a personalized piece of art? Choose from pottery, glass pieces and canvas paintings to create the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for all the special people in your life. 8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive. 515-224-4700; www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Heart of Iowa; Raygun

 

Best Chocolate Store

Chocolaterie Stam

It’s a great world we live in, where so many stores are dedicated to selling chocolate. This is a new category this year, but it’s no surprise the voters have chosen a store that’s been selling the finest chocolate products for more than 100 years in three locations in Iowa. www.stamchocolate.com

Runners-up: Chocolate Storybook; Beaverdale Confections Co.

 

Best Body Piercing Shop

Prysm Body Piercing

When it comes to piercings, customers want to hear recommendations and good experiences. Year after year, Prysm seals its spot as the safest place for body piercings — and that’s a recommendation that speaks for itself. Valley West Mall, 1551 Valley West Drive, Suite 104B, West Des Moines. 515-868-4653; http://prysmpiercing.tumblr.com

Runners-up: Iron Heart; 5 Point Studios

 

Best Tattoo Shop

Color Works

A two-for-one stop is made even better when both halves are known as the best. So it goes with Color Works, where customers can get their body art in the forms of ink and metal courtesy of Prysm Body Piericing. Valley West Mall, 1551 Valley West Drive, Suite 104B, West Des Moines. 515-457-3888; www.facebook.com/pages/color-works-tattoo-and-body-piercing

Runners-up: Skin Kitchen; Iron Heart

 

Best Wireless Phone Carrier

Verizon Wireless

Another year, another win for Verizon. At least when it comes to satisfying the Best Of Des Moines voters, anyway. Cell phones are an important part of our daily lives now, and our readers notice the companies that go the extra mile when it comes to making them work. www.verizonwireless.com

Runners-up: US Cellular; Sprint

 

Best Internet Provider

Mediacom

A new winner takes home the award for Best Internet Provider this year, edging out Century Link as the Internet service of choice. Mediacom is the voters’ choice for faster Internet, which says a lot for a generation that expects Google to answer every question in less than one second. https://mediacomcable.com

Runners-up: Century Link; Verizon Wireless

 

Best Herbal/Nutritional Supplement Store

Campbell’s Nutrition

Nutrition is more about healthy food, as Campbell’s Nutrition knows very well. As a complement to its organic foods, Campbell’s provides healthy, high-quality supplements to its customers, who appreciate the store’s high standards.www.campbellsnutrition.com

Runners-up: Complete Nutrition; New City Market

 

Best Makeup Artist

Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics crew

The talented makeup artists at Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics create flawless faces for all kinds of events. From elegant wedding looks to extravagant colors, readers had no trouble voting them Best Makeup Artist.

The talented makeup artists at Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics create flawless faces for all kinds of events. From elegant wedding looks to extravagant colors, readers had no trouble voting them Best Makeup Artist.

Even a short glance at the portfolio of the V&G artists will prove why readers have chosen them as the winner of this new category. The staff at Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics proves makeup is an artistry, and the people of Des Moines have taken notice. 412 E. Fifth St., Des Moines. 515-778-9705; www.vgcosmetics.com

Runners-up: Dalen Rocha; Beauty of All Faces crew

 

Best Ethnic Grocery Store

C Fresh Market and La Tapatia Grocery

This year’s award for Best Ethnic Grocery Store is a tie, because although Des Moines isn’t among the biggest cities in the world, it has a great offering of ethnic markets and stores. C Fresh Market and La Tapatia Grocery were voted the best for their wide variety of ethnic cuisine, friendly staff and quality products. www.facebook.com/CfreshMarket

www.facebook.com/pages/La-Tapatia-Grocery/148436295175348

Runners-up: Graziano Brothers Italian Grocery; Namaste India Groceries & Kitchen

 

Best Bank

Veridian Credit Union

Moving up from last year’s second runner-up to this year’s best, Veridian Credit Union proves bigger isn’t always better. The smaller size and locations spread across the metro allow readers to enjoy the helpful, familiar faces and convenience of this bank. www.veridiancu.org

Runners-up: Banker’s Trust; Wells Fargo

 

Best Towing Service

Perry’s Service & Towing

When an accident happens, you want to know there’s someone nearby to help. For drivers in the metro, that’s Perry’s Service & Towing. With a fleet of 11 tow trucks, flatbeds and a four-car transport, the voters trust Perry’s as the Best Towing Service in Des Moines. 2001 University Ave., Des Moines. 515-243-9273; www.perrysservice.com

Runners-up: Roy’s Towing & Recovery; Hanifen Towing

 

Best Home Repair Service

Superior Contractors LLC

When you want something done right, you call the people who know what they’re doing. And Des Moines votes for Superior Contractors LLC when it comes creating the home of your dreams. 940 S.E. Bluegrass Circle, Waukee. 515-202-9190; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Superior-Contractors-LLC/189376451107066

Runners-up: Bryant Iowa Heating and Cooling; Westside Appliance

 

Best Place to Purchase a Musical Instrument

Rieman Music

Regardless of the type of instrument or musical accessory you’re searching for, Rieman Music has it all — from brass and strings to learning tools and lessons. Our readers appreciate quality products and helpful service, and they’ve found it at Rieman. www.riemanmusic.com

Runners-up: Uptempo Music; Professional Music Center

 

Best Computer Repair Shop

Dymin Systems

When it comes to viruses of the digital kind, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. The voters chose Dymin Systems once again as the computer repair shop of choice. Dymin offers in-home computer repair and IT security solutions among other services. In other words — your computer is safe with Dymin. 3970 N.W. Urbandale Drive, Urbandale. 515-276-7447; www.dyminsystems.com

Runners-up: 600 Monkeys; Little Dog Tech

 

Best Phone Repair

We Fix It Repair

For many people, their cell phone is their life. So when something goes wrong, our readers take their lives — err, phones — to the people who can make it right. We Fix It Repair can service every brand and almost any damage, including water, screens, charging ports and cameras. 111 Fifth St., West Des Moines. 515-829-7349; http://wefixitrepair.com

Runners-up: Gophermods; Apple Store

 

Best Place to Buy an Off-Road Vehicle

Struthers Bros

Not only is it the place to go for motorcycles, Struthers also meets the needs of all your other off-roading adventures. Four-wheelers? Check. Utility vehicles? Definitely. Jet skis? You bet. Our readers like recreational activities, and they really like Struthers for supplying them with the best machines. 5191 N.W. Second St., Des Moines. 515-282-3634; www.struthersbros.com

Runners-up: Fenders Cycle; Van Wall Equipment

 

Best Place to Get a Costume

Des Moines Theatrical Shop

When it comes to finding last-minute costumes, thrift stores have made a big comeback. But when searching for the perfect costume — with every genre and accessory imaginable — the readers say there’s only one place to go. The Des Moines Theatrical Shop takes the award for its third year in a row, proudly selling the best wigs and dance costumes around. 145 Fifth St., West Des Moines. 515-274-6458; www.theatricalshop.com

Runners-up: Nobbies; Atomic Garage

 

Best Pawn Shop

The Pawn Store

When it comes to buying, selling and trading, our readers think there’s only one place to go, naming The Pawn Store for the third consecutive year. 3005 Douglas Ave., Des Moines. 515-277-4878; www.pawnstoredm.com

Runners-up: Solar Loan & Sales Co.; A to Z Pawn

 

Best Place to Get Your Nails Done

East Village Spa

While you visit this year’s Best Spa and wait to get your Best Massage, go ahead and step over to the manicure station to get your nails looking fancy. The people of Des Moines have spoken, and it looks like East Village Spa also offers the best manicures and pedicures. 601 E. Locust St. #202, Des Moines. 515-309-2904; www.evdayspa.com

Runners-up: Me & Mrs. Jones Salon Studio; Top Nails

 

Best Convenience Store

Casey’s General Store

Good ole Casey’s General Store. While drivers are filling up their cars, they can also fill up their stomachs with Casey’s pizza, donuts, subs and just about everything else you can think of. Hey — that’s why they call it a convenience store, right? www.caseys.com

Runners-up: Quik Trip; Kum & Go

 

Best Moving Company

Two Men And A Truck

The process of moving isn’t an easy one, so why not hire someone else to do it for you? One of the few businesses to win a category every year its been around, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK takes the cake for Best Moving Company three years running. 3934 N.W. Urbandale Drive, Urbandale. 515-200-2405; http://twomenandatruckdesmoines.com

Runners-up: Smoldt Moving & Storage; Siddall Moving & Storage

 

Best Place to Buy Cigars/Tobacco

David’s Fine Tobaccos

The shelves at David’s Fine Tobaccos are lined with more types of cigars than a person would bother to count, so it’s no surprise it’s been voted Best Place to Buy Cigars two years in a row. 9759 University Ave., Clive. 515-278-8701; http://davidsfinetobaccos.com

Runners-up: Cigar Source; Hy-Vee; Tobacco Outlet Plus

 

Best E-Cigarette Shop

Central Iowa Electronic Cigarettes

This category is almost as new as the product itself, but our readers didn’t waste time getting to know their favorite e-cigarette shops in town. The best, though, was narrowed down to Central Iowa Electronic Cigarettes, with four locations in Des Moines and Ankeny. www.iowaecigs.com

Runners-up: Great Alternatives; Route 69 Vapor

 

Best Cleaning Company

Molly Maids

If you’re going to pay someone to clean your house, they’d better be good at it. And while the metro area is home to several great cleaning services, the readers chose Molly Maids as the Best of Des Moines for its satisfaction guarantee, quality cleaning plans and trusted professionals. 5765 Merle Hay Road, Johnston. 515-334-9599; www.mollymaid.com

Runners-up: Z’s Fresh Start Cleaning Service; Ecomaids of Des Moines

 

Best Dog Groomer

Prancing Paws Pet Boutique

For more than 30 years, Bob and Sandy Keller have been providing professional pet grooming services to the metro area. They take all breeds of dogs and cats and promise customers will always be pleased with the treatments their pets receive. 4810 Maple Drive, Pleasant Hill. 515-266-4533; www.prancingpawspetgrooming.com

Runners-up: Dogwoods Lodge; Canine Country Club

 

Best Doggy Daycare

Downtown Doggy Daycare

When you go on vacation, send your best friend on vacation, too, at Downtown Doggy Daycare. Voters love the special care and attention their employees give to each dog, as evidenced by being named Best Of Des Moines two years in a row. 724 Scott Ave., Des Moines. 515-288-0957; www.dmdoggy.com

Runners-up: Dogwoods Lodge; Canine Country Club

 

Best Mall

Valley West

With four separate shopping malls to choose from in the metro, it’s surprising this is the first year for this category. Perhaps not a surprise, though, is this year’s winner. Valley West Mall will celebrate its 40th anniversary this August, proving it only gets better with age. 1551 Valley West Drive Suite 400, West Des Moines. 515-225-3631; http://valleywestmall.com

Runners-up: Jordan Creek; Merle Hay

 

Best Place to Get a Massage

East Village Spa

When you’re right, you’re right — and the masseurs at East Village Spa have gotten it right, according to the voters. When work, family and life in general has your muscles in knots, the staff at East Village will help you forget every bad thing and remind you what total relaxation really means. 601 E. Locust St. Suite 202, Des Moines. 515-309-2904; www.evdayspa.com

Runners-up: Blades Massage & Wellness; Massage Heights

 

Best Bead Store

Artistic Bead

This new category is aimed toward the crafty readers out there who picked Artistic Bead for its one-of-a-kind designs and pieces, beading classes and other events. Because when your hobby is this beautiful, it truly is an art. 219 Fifth St., West Des Moines. 515-334-0020; www.artisticbead.com

Runners-up: Fishlips3 Beads & Blues; Eyebeads & Gemstones

 

Best Valley Junction Store

Hinge

Valley Junction is full of boutiques and shops, which makes it hard to pick just one to call the Best. But the voters have given this first-year award to Hinge, which sells clothes, antiques and home décor — a mix for all interests. 218 Fifth St., West Des Moines. 515-777-2770; www.hingeon5th.com

Runners-up: Theatrical Shop; Sisters in the Junction

 

Best West Glen Store

Mint L.A.

Known for its unique styles and friendly help, Mint L.A. was voted the best in an area of diverse shops and sellers. Its inventory of colorful pieces at affordable prices probably didn’t hurt either. 5525 Mills Civic Parkway Suite 105, West Des Moines. 213-841-0093; www.shopmintla.com

Runners-up: Winestyles of West Glen; Josephs Jewelers

 

Best East Village Store

Raygun

For cheeky, local references to pop culture printed on T-shirts, coffee mugs, notebooks and tons of other items, Raygun has become to go-to store. Its popularity has made it the voters’ choice for Best Store in the shopping district that was also voted the Best. 400 E. Locust St., Des Moines. 515-288-1323; http://raygunsite.com

Runners-up: Allspice Culinarium; Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics

 

Best Drake Area Store

Day Dreams

With high ratings from its customers and a steady following here in the metro, it’s no surprise Day Dreams made it to the Best Of listings. Selling clothing, posters, incense and more, it caters to crowds of all ages. 2326 University Ave., Des Moines. 515-274-2799; www.facebook.com/pages/Daydreams/113981042013565?sk=timeline

Runners-up: Creative Coldsnow Artists Materials & Framing; Crazyhorse Guitars

 

Best Beaverdale Area Store

Back Country

Selling everything from men’s and women’s clothing to axes and knives, Back Country offers rustic style and gifts for adventurous people in your life. 2702 Beaver Ave., Des Moines. 515-255-0031; http://theoriginalbackcountry.com

Runners-up: Beaverdale Books; Beaverdale Confections

 

Best Ingersoll Area Store

Tandem Brick Gallery & Frame

Some of the best stores are the ones with just a little bit of everything. From greetings cards and home décor to jewelry and paintings, some of the best artists in Iowa have work featured at Tandem Bricks. You’re sure to find the perfect gift for anyone here — even yourself. 2722 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-1031; www.tandembrick.com

Runners-up: Badowers; ZZZ Records

 

 

Culture and Nightlife

 

Best Kept Secret on the Nightlife Scene

Up-Down

With more than 40 different vintage arcade games, it’s hard to believe Up-Down could be considered a secret. Its customers rave about the low cost to play (just a quarter for each game), calendar of events and the weekly drink specials. It’s one-of-a-kind entertainment for the 21-and-older crowd. 500 E. Locust St., Des Moines. 515-243-4322; http://updowndsm.com

Runners-up: The Copper Cup; Shorty’s

 

Best Annual Event

Iowa State Fair

No surprise that the Iowa State Fair takes home the win for Best Annual Event for the fifth consecutive year. It’s one of the most well known state fairs in the country, and its concert series alone draws in thousands of people. Oh, and don’t forget the everything-on-a-stick menu. 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-262-3111; www.iowastatefair.org

Runners-up: Des Moines Art Festival; 80/35 Music Festival

 

Best Cultural Event

The World Food and Music Festival

The World Food and Music Festival brings cuisines from around the world to Iowa, making it our readers first choice for Best Cultural Event.

The World Food and Music Festival brings cuisines from around the world to Iowa, making it our readers first choice for Best Cultural Event.

The voters had a difficult task this year of choosing the top cultural event in Des Moines, as the city has so many great options for this category. The World Food and Music Festival is an event featuring dozens of food vendors with cuisines from around the world. Its live entertainment and cooking demonstrations make it a fun event for all ages. http://worldfoodandmusicfestival.org

Runners-up: Des Moines Arts Festival; CelebrAsian

 

Best Community Festival

Beaverdale Fall Festival

Beaverdale might be a small community, but it sure has a lot to offer. The voters showed their appreciation for the two-day fall festival and its annual parade, live entertainment, food vendors and fireworks. http://fallfestival.org

Runners-up: Ankeny Summerfest; Johnston Green Days

 

Best Place to Take Visitors

John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is an artistic landmark of downtown Des Moines, and a favorite place for residents as well as tourists. Readers voted it the Best Place to Take Visitors because it’s not to be missed.

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is an artistic landmark of downtown Des Moines, and a favorite place for residents as well as tourists. Readers voted it the Best Place to Take Visitors because it’s not to be missed.

When people ask what they should do when visiting Des Moines, one of the first options is to visit the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park downtown. The beautiful, 4.4-acre outdoor art display opened in 2009 and features artwork from 22 artists from around the world. 13th and Grand Avenue, Des Moines. http://www.desmoinesartcenter.org/visit/pappajohn-sculpture-park.aspx

Runners-up: Des Moines Farmers Market; Iowa State Fair

 

Best Place to Take Your Parents

Des Moines Farmers Market

Spanning from May to October every year, the Des Moines Farmers Market is known throughout the country as one of the best. Hundreds of local vendors fill several blocks of Court Avenue with fresh produce, baked goods and meats. With thousands of visitors every week, it’s a sight to be seen. 300 Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-286-4928; http://desmoinesfarmersmarket.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Art Center; John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

 

Best Place to Take Your Kids

Glazed Expressions

The voters can’t get enough of Glazed Expressions’ personalized artwork and pottery. They’ve also named it the Best Place to Take Your Kids — especially the ones who grew up finger painting on all the furniture. 8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive. 515-224-2700; www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Science Center of Iowa; Blank Park Zoo

 

Best Place to Have a Birthday Party

Glazed Expressions

The voters appreciate the versatility of Glazed Expressions, which is the perfect place to host a birthday party for all ages. Bring in cake and milk for the little ones and wine for the adults, and you’ve got two very different parties. 8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive. 515-224-2700; www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Science Center of Iowa; Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

 

Best Place to People Watch

Iowa State Fair

There’s never a shortage of people to watch at the Iowa State Fair. From best dressed to worst and everything in between, one can expect to find more than the average carnie at this 10-day party. 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-262-3111; www.iowastatefair.org

Runners-up: Des Moines Farmers Market; Court District

 

Best Museum

Des Moines Art Center

No surprises in this category. Des Moines Art Center holds strong as the Best Museum of Des Moines with its impressive art exhibits, educational programs and hands-on activities that offer something for everyone. 4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-277-4405; www.desmoinesartcenter.org

Runners-up: Iowa Historical Museum; Science Center of Iowa

 

Best Place to Catch a Flick

Fleur Cinema & Café

Even though Fleur Cinema can’t claim to be the only movie theater in the metro to serve alcohol, it can once again claim its title as the Best Place to Catch a Flick. The quaint theater might be smaller than the rest, but its steady following is what really counts. 4545 Fleur Drive, Des Moines. 515-287-4545; http://fleurcinema.com

Runners-up: Century 20 Jordan Creek; Varsity Theater

 

Best Theatrical Value

Goldfinch Theater Company

There’s a new winner in town this year. The voters have chosen Goldfinch Theater Company as the best entertainment for the best ticket price, beating out the three-time winner Des Moines Playhouse. http://goldfinchtheatercompany.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Community Playhouse; Civic Center of Greater Des Moines

 

Best New Bar

The Stuffed Olive

The people of Des Moines didn’t have an easy time choosing this winner, since several new bars graced the metro area in 2014. The Standard kept its classic martinis but changed its name and ownership, now known as The Stuffed Olive. Its classy atmosphere and top-shelf drinks made it a crowd favorite from the beginning. 208 Third St., Des Moines. 515-243-4456; http://thestuffedolive.com/dsm/

Runners-up: Bar Louie; The Copper Cup

 

Best Patio Bar

Saints Pub + Patio

The voters have chosen two bars as alternating winners for the last few years in this Best Patio Bar category. This year they’ve chosen the 2013 winner, Saints Pub + Patio, and left the 2012 and 2014 winner in second place. When it comes to summer nights in Iowa, everyone flocks to the patios, especially those of Saints Pub. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop; Mickey’s Irish Pub

 

Best Irish Bar

Mickey’s Irish Pub

Was there any question about this one? Mickey’s has taken home this award at least five times. There’s just something about an Irish bar that draws people in — and whatever it is, the voters know where to find it. Multiple locations.

Runners-up: Sully’s Irish Pub; Cooney’s Tavern

 

Best Dive Bar

Carl’s Place

Known fondly as “the epitome of a local dive bar,” Carl’s Place steals the win for 2015. Without so much as website or a sign above the door, it truly does meet all the criteria of a dive — and our readers appreciate that. 1620 Woodland Ave., Des Moines. 515-243-9727

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; The Locust Tap

 

Best Fancy-Pants Bar

The Exchange

It’s a wonder this hasn’t been included in the list in previous years. Des Moines is full of upscale dining and drinking venues, and it’s time they’re recognized. First up: The Exchange, where the drinks are like stocks and there’s never a shortage of well-dressed people. 216 Court Ave., Des Moines, Third floor. 515-421-4389 ; http://exchangedsm.com

Runners-up: The Stuffed Olive; The Continental Lounge

 

Best Hipster Spot

The Lift

One can’t fully appreciate the hipster-ness of The Lift without stepping inside and absorbing the art-covered walls and basement-style furniture tucked away in the corner. The small space allows customers to get cozy, and the live jazz music on Tuesdays and silent films on Sundays certainly bring something different to the late-night scene. 222 Fourth St., Des Moines. 515-288-3777; http://dmlift.com

Runners-up: Up-Down; Carl’s Place

 

Best Sports Bar

Johnny’s Hall of Fame

Once again, the voters picked Johnny’s as the sports bar of choice in the metro. With multiple HDTVs playing every televised game and a range of bar games to keep fans occupied, Johnny’s knows a thing or two about winning. 302 Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-280-6679; http://johnnyshalloffame.com

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Saints Pub + Patio

 

Best Bar (Overall)

Beer Can Alley

The title for Best Bar has shifted in the past couple years, and this year it landed on Beer Can Alley. Known as a favorite in the country genre, Beer Can Alley actually suits most people and styles. 216 Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-421-4389; www.beercanalley.com

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; el Bait Shop

 

Best Bar District

Court District

The Court District reigns supreme when it comes to its excellent nightlife. From country bars to martini bars, dives to clubs — there really is something for everyone’s taste. The voters know it’s a great place to transition from dinner to drinks. http://www.downtowndesmoines.com/court-district.

Runners-up: Historic East Village; West Glen Town Center

 

Best Downtown Bar

Beer Can Alley

For the second year in a row, Beer Can Alley has snagged the win for Best Downtown Bar. It’s a coveted award, thanks to the Court District’s excellent selection of drinking options, so it just goes to show how much the readers really do appreciate country music and whiskey drinks. 216 Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-421-4389; www.beercanalley.com

Runners-up: Royal Mile; Mickey’s Irish Pub; The Exchange

 

Best West Side Bar

Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop

Wellman’s is packed with customers on any given night, and its rooftop patio might just be the best view in West Glen. Whether dancing to the music videos on the screens or chatting at a table on the patios, the voters repeatedly recognize Wellman’s as the best of the west. 597 Market St., West Des Moines. 515-222-1100; www.wellmanspub.com

Runners-up: The Keg Stand; Saints Pub & Patio

 

Best Central Bar

Carl’s Place

It’s five years of wins for this popular Des Moines dive. The readers love it as a place for unwinding after work and gathering for late-night fun. It’s small but intimate, and the regulars are practically family. 1620 Woodland Ave., Des Moines. 515-243-9727

Runners-up: Star Bar; Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop (Ingersoll); Saints Pub & Patio (Beaverdale)

 

Best North Bar

Highland Park Country Club

Between its holiday events and sports viewing parties, Highland Park Country Club satisfies all crowds from the afternoon into late night. The voters appreciate its fun, laid-back atmosphere. 518 Euclid Ave., Des Moines. 515-245-9229; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Highland-park-country-club/121882787847303

Runners-up: The Derry’s Lounge; Yankee Clipper

 

 

Best East Bar

Toad’s Tavern

The loyal following of Toad’s Tavern will keep it as the Best East Bar once again. With one of the longest happy hours around and a pool league not to be beat, the voters know just where to go when they visit the east side. 3002 State Ave., Des Moines. 515-264-8623; www.toadstavern.net

Runners-up: Up-Down; The Blazing Saddle

 

Best South Bar

Francie’s Bar & Grill

This long-battled title has been awarded to Francie’s for the fifth consecutive year, as our readers can’t get enough of the family-style atmosphere and delicious food. From lunch into the early morning hours, Francie’s aims to please. 2100 Wakonda View Drive, Des Moines. 515-285-5207; www.facebook.com/pages/Francies-Bar-and-Grill/170467119650602

Runners-up: Kung Fu Tap & Taco; Manning’s

 

Best Winery

Jasper Winery

For wine enthusiasts and live music lovers alike, Jasper Winery makes for some of the best summer evenings to be had in Des Moines. Drawing in large crowds to its lawn parties, Jasper is known to bring great local talent and delicious foods to complement its many flavors of wine. 2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines. 515-282-9463; http://jasperwinery.com

Runners-up: Summerset Winery; Penoach Vineyard & Winery (Adel)

 

Best Brewery

Confluence Brewing Company

Once again, Confluence remains the readers’ favorite for local craft beer. With a variety of seasonal flavors, the classic Des Moines IPA and so many others, the voters appreciate the work these brewers put into developing unique beers. 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines. 515-285-9005; http://confluencebrewing.com

Runners-up: Exile Brewing Company; 515 Brewing Company

 

Best Beer Selection

el Bait Shop

How could the voters choose anything other than the bar with more than 100 beers on tap? From the outside, it may not look like much to the unassuming eye, but el Bait Shop is a longstanding favorite to the metro’s residents. Now if they could just get some news coverage… 200 S.W. Second St., Des Moines. 515-284-1970; http://elbaitshop.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; The Keg Stand

 

Best Place to Get Drunk for Cheap

The Blazing Saddle

We might start calling this one “The Blazing Saddle Award” for as many times as it has won the title. The bartenders haven’t slowed their heavy pours here, and the happy hour specials keep going strong, just like the drinks. 416 E. Fifth St., Des Moines. 515-246-1299; www.theblazingsaddle.com

Runners-up: Carl’s Place; Sully’s Irish Pub

 

Best Place for Cold Beer

Twin Peaks

If the beer at Twin Peaks was any colder, it would be frozen. Which is exactly how the people of Des Moines like their brews, and they know exactly where to go to get it. It’s the second consecutive win for Twin Peaks. 4570 University Ave., West Des Moines. 515-528-8294; www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; el Bait Shop

 

Best Place for the Strongest Drink

The Blazing Saddle

It makes sense, right? You can’t get drunk for cheap if you don’t have the strongest drinks, and Blazing Saddle has been appreciated for both attributes for several years. 416 E. Fifth St., Des Moines. 515-246-1299; www.theblazingsaddle.com

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; Sully’s Irish Pub

 

Best Bar to Play Games

Up-Down

There are several bars that offer games and gaming specials to their patrons, but none that compare to Up-Down and its more than 80 vintage games. From Nintendo and Pinball to skee ball and Jenga, it’s all here, and it’s all fun. 500 E. Locust St., Des Moines. 515-243-4322; http://updowndsm.com

Runners-up: Barcadium; The Keg Stand

 

Best Place to Hook Up

The Garden Nightclub

After Le Boi Bar’s recent closing, the window opened up for a new bar to take over as Best Place to Hook Up in Des Moines. And here to take its place is The Garden, also known as the readers’ favorite dance club and the spot for meeting new people.

Runners-up: The Exchange; Joker’s

 

Best Place to See Beautiful People

The Exchange

Edging out the popular Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop, the Exchange is now the place to go to see good-looking crowds. For a night out at this bar, everyone is donning their best duds and taking extra time in front of the mirror to look their best — and it shows. 216 Court Ave., Des Moines, Third floor. 515-421-4389; http://exchangedsm.com

Runners-up: Crossfit 8035; Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics

 

Best Happy Hour

Eatery A

A new venue steals the show for Best Happy Hour this year. Eatery A offers half-price wines and pizzas during its happy hour, which runs every day from open to 6 p.m. That’s plenty of time to get pleasantly stuffed at an affordable rate. 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-8085; www.eateryadsm.com

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; Sully’s Irish Pub

 

Best Bartender

Joe Wells – The Exchange

From last year’s runner-up to this year’s winner, Joe Wells is recognized by the readers for his pouring skills behind the bar at The Exchange. His good looks and friendly service probably didn’t hurt, either. 216 Court Ave., Des Moines, Third floor. 515-421-4389; http://exchangedsm.com

Runners-up: Matt Ferguson – 34’s Sports Grill; Brett Burke – The Garden

 

Best Martini Menu

The Stuffed Olive

A book of menus dedicated to different concoctions of flavors and top-shelf liquors comprises the martini menu at The Stuffed Olive, making sure the building holds the name of Best Martini Menu — regardless of the name of the bar. 208 Third St., Des Moines. 515-243-4456; http://thestuffedolive.com/dsm/

Runners-up: The Lift; Lime Lounge

 

Best Margarita

Dos Rios Cantina & Tequila Lounge

Dos Rios has been voted the place to get the Best Margarita for too many years to count, and it’s really no surprise. With 100 different tequilas at hand, our readers know those margaritas are always good. 316 Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-2995; www.dosriosrestaurant.com

Runners-up: Mi Mexico Restaurant; Malo

 

Best Moscow Mule

Court Avenue Brewing Co.

For this ginger beer-infused cocktail, why not pick a brewery to shake it up? The Court Avenue-brewed beer makes for the best mule around, according to Cityview readers. And the classic mule Friday night special from 4 p.m. to close makes it an even better deal. 309 Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-2739; www.courtavebrew.com

Runners-up: The Copper Cup; Cumming Tap

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout

The Blazing Saddle

Another repeat winner, Blazing Saddle has been around for more than 30 years and continues to be a voter favorite. The drinks and prices are a big plus, but the people are the real deal breaker when it comes to a good bar, and for the gay/lesbian crowd, it’s right here. 416 E. Fifth St., Des Moines. 515-246-1299; www.theblazingsaddle.com

Runners-up: The Garden Nightclub; Buddy’s Corral

 

Best Indoor Live Music Venue

Wooly’s

The live music scene in Des Moines is an impressive one, and Wooly’s adds to it by hosting shows nearly every night of the week. Both local and national names grace the stage at Wooly’s for many all-ages shows and some over-21 acts. 504 E. Locust St., Des Moines. 515-244-0550; www.woolysdm.com

Runners-up: The Gas Lamp; Vaudeville Mews

 

Best Outdoor Live Music Venue

Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater

This is a new category this year, but not a surprising win. Simon Estes features popular acts all summer long, and the backdrop of the Des Moines River is a stunning one as it turns from daylight to dusk. www.dmgov.org/Departments/Parks/Pages/SimonEstes.aspx

Runners-up: Jasper Winery; Summerset Winery

 

Best Place for a Comedy Show

The Funny Bone Comedy Club

Bringing in talented acts such as Marlon Wayans and Dave Coulier, the voters say the Funny Bone is the best place to go when you’re looking for a good laugh. 500 S. Prairie View Drive, Suite 100, West Des Moines. 515-270-2100; www.funnybonedm.com

Runners-up: The Last Laugh Comedy Theater; The Temple for Performing Arts

 

Best Dance Club

The Garden Nightclub

If dancing is your preferred method of exercise, just head over to The Garden and shake it like Zumba. The voters choose this nightclub as the best place to get your groove on every year for a reason. 112 S.E. Fourth St., Des Moines. www.grdn.com

Runners-up: Joker’s; Miss Kitty’s Nightclub

 

Best Artist

Marina Van Leeuwen

For those who don’t recognize this name, it’s because Marina Van Leeuwen has never cared much about exhibiting her work. She paints in watercolor, acrylics and pastels, and she has only two exhibits in the area and two in South Africa, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts. For her, painting is about enjoying the creative process. Now that she’s settled in Ames, she does portraits for commissions. www.marinavanleeuwen.com

Runners-up: Alex Carter; Van Holmgren

 

 

Best Strip Club

The Lumberyard Gentlemen’s Club

A consistent winner with Cityview readers, The Lumberyard offers weekly specials, a cheap admission and, of course, the best dancers in town. 1504 N.E. 54th Ave., Des Moines. 515-265-1019; www.iwantwood.com

Runners-up: Beach Girls; The Outer Limits

 

Best Drag Queen

Tyona Diamond – The Garden Nightclub

Since 2012, Tyona Diamond has been Des Moines’ resident drag queen according the readers of Cityview. Diamond’s fans are numerous, and for good reason. People look forward to her performances each night to see how she’ll top the last one. 112 S.E. Fourth St., Des Moines. www.grdn.com

Runners-up: Jupiter Phuckit; Kata Klysmic

 

Best Band

The Nadas

Des Moines’ resident rock band managed to steal the title from Bonne Finken for the Best Band award this year. After 20 years of rotating members and producing 10 albums, The Nadas have grown a loyal fan base in the metro. http://thenadas.com

Runners-up: Dead Horse Trauma; Brother Trucker

 

Best Musician

Justin Hashman

The voters have chosen a new act for this year’s Best Musician award. As the guitarist and a vocalist for the local band Street Thieves, Justin Hashman has made a his mark on the local music scene and its listeners.

Runners-up: James Biehn; Bonne Finken

 

Best Place to Gamble

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino

The various forms of gambling available at Prairie Meadows make it a consistent winner in the Best Place to Gamble category according to the Des Moines voters. It offers slots, tables, live races and other entertainment to draw in a lively crowd night after night. 1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona. 800-325-9015; www.prairiemeadows.com

Runners-up: Lakeside Casino; Meskwaki

 

Best Place to do Karaoke

AJ’s on East Court

With its recent addition of Monday night karaoke, AJ’s is one of the few places in the metro to offer karaoke every night of the week. That’s right: Every. Single. Night. They’ve also added a new lyrics monitor, so prepare to belt out your favorite hits all night, every night. 419 E. Court Ave., Des Moines. 515-282-1888; www.facebook.com/ajsoneastcourt

Runners-up: Jeannie’s Bottle; Cattoor’s on Grand

 

Best Place for a Wedding Reception

Holiday Inn Downtown

This favorite hotel offers a budget planner and a wedding checklist to guide the bride and groom through their big day. The Holiday Inn promises an unforgettable wedding, and with a central location near the Court District, the readers think it’s a great venue, too. 1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines. 515-283-0151; www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/des-moines/dsmdw/hoteldetail

Runners-up: Temple for Performing Arts; Sticks

 

Best Place to Hold a Corporate Event/Party

Holiday Inn Downtown

For the best work party location, the readers voted for this classy hotel and its helpful staff. The Holiday Inn can accompany large groups and smaller parties, and the downtown location is the perfect spot for those after-hours cocktails. 1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines. 515-283-0151; www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/des-moines/dsmdw/hoteldetail

Runners-up: The World Food Prize; Pinot’s Palette

 

Best Place for a Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

The Stuffed Olive

The soon-to-be-married residents of Des Moines prefer a more sophisticated place for their last single shindigs. They’ve named The Stuffed Olive the first winner in this new category, no doubt for its gourmet food and top-notch martinis. 208 Third St., Des Moines. 515-243-4456; http://thestuffedolive.com/dsm/

Runners-up: Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar; The Garden Nightclub

 

Best Event Décor Company

Bella Flora Event Design

Bella Flora Event Design was voted the Best Event Décor Company for its elegant decorations and expert planning.

Bella Flora Event Design was voted the Best Event Décor Company for its elegant decorations and expert planning.

When it comes to hosting an event, no matter the size or reason, planning and coordinating the venue’s design can be extremely stressful. That’s where Bella Flora Event Design comes into play. It’s the best way to transform a regular event hall into a stunning attraction, according to the voters. 3100 Justin Drive, Suite A, Urbandale. 515-554-6964; www.bellafloraeventdesign.com

Runners-up: Plum Event + Design; White Willow Events

 

Best Place to Ring in the New Year

Des Moines Social Club

With so many exciting venues in the metro, it’s hard to choose the best place for a New Year’s party. Well, maybe not that hard for our readers, who have chose the Des Moines Social Club as the Best Place to Ring in the New Year for the second year in a row. 900 Mulberry St., Des Moines. 515-369-3672; http://desmoinessocialclub.org

Runners-up: The Exchange; Embassy Suites; The Garden Nightclub

 

Best Car Show

Good Guys Heartland Nationals

For 23 years, the Good Guys Heartland National has been gracing the Iowa State Fairgrounds with stunning cars, from classics and customs to hot rods and trucks. And for the third consecutive year, the readers say it’s the best car show around. www.good-guys.com

Runners-up: Nick’s Bar & Grill; 515 Get Down Car Show

 

Best Party/Event Transportation

Absolute Transportation

The readers have chosen Absolute Transportation for all their party transportation needs each year this category has been offered in these awards. Whether your group is searching for a wild party bus or an afternoon trolley, Absolute will keep the steering steady while you keep the drinks flowing. 800-712-8518; www.dsm-limo.com

Runners-up: Majestic Limousine Service; Luxxor Limousines; NPI Limo Services

 

Best Paint & Sip Art Studio

Glazed Expressions

What would a girls’ night be without wine and crafts? The paint and sip art studio brings two of our favorite concepts together, and the readers say their favorite studio is — no surprise — Glazed Expressions. 8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive. 515-224-4700; www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Wine & Canvas; Pinot’s Palette

 

Best Place to Call for a Sober Ride Home

Uber

An upset in this category might be controversial to some folks, as Uber now holds the title of our readers’ favorite taxi service. Uber first came to Des Moines in the fall of 2014, but not without its share of skeptics. That didn’t change the minds of the voters, though, who like the app-based service and it’s often cheaper cab fare. www.uber.com

Runners-up: Drivers on Call; DSM Sober Drivers

 

Best Bail Bondsman

Kenny’s Bail Bonds

For those times when you or a friend or family member has been caught in a bit of trouble, our readers recognize Kenny’s as the best bail bonds company in the metro. With more than 17 years of experience, Kenny Nulph has a reputation for helping his clients quickly and professionally. 3937 48th St., Des Moines. 515-707-5000; www.kennysbailbonds.com

Runners-up: Lederman Bail Bonds; All Iowa Bail Bonds

 

Sports and Recreation

 

Best Places to Play Golf

Waveland Golf Course

The Waveland Golf Course is 114 years old this year and stays a Des Moines favorite because of its wooded hillsides, traditional layout, length, beautiful surroundings and greenery. The venue holds two different golf tournaments: the WGA (Waveland Golf Association, men’s golf) which runs the summer men’s league and hosts service projects and events, and the WWGA (Waveland Women’s Golf Association) who play April through August on Wednesdays, and players can choose to play nine or 18 holes. 4908 University Ave. 515-248-6302; www.golfwaveland.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Golf and Country Club; Veenker Memorial Golf Course

 

Best Yoga Instructor

Mathew Koder

For the third year in a row, Mathew Koder has held his title of the best yoga instructor. His one-on-one teaching style and apparent love for the growth of the mind and relaxation of the body has won the hearts of Des Moines yoga lovers yet again. He assesses his student’s physical abilities and then builds a routine for them based on their strengths. He also writes a blog that he shares with site visitors, and gives an insight to what it’s like to be a teacher and what it truly means to be strong. The 10th Street Lofts, Unit 101. 515-779-9192; www.mathewkoderyoga.com

Runners-up: Jennifer Hardcastle; Brittney Fairholm

 

Best Massage Therapist

Justin Behanish, LMT – East Village Spa

Justin Behanish has been with East Village Spa since 2007 and has been voted best massage therapist for the second year in a row. Did he snag another win because of his good looks or because his active lifestyle makes him a good fit for knowing the right pressure points for people who are stressed and sore? Probably a combination of the two. When he’s not supporting his active clients, he’s playing hockey or practicing Brazilian martial arts. Check out his profile on the East Village Spa’s website. 601 E. Locust St., Suite 202; Des Moines. 515-309-2904; www.evdayspa.com/home.html

Runners-up: Robert Crane–Salon TEC; Silla Blades–Blades Massage

 

Best Sports Team

Iowa Cubs

Load up with some peanuts and Cracker Jack’s, Des Moines, because the Iowa Cubs steal home with their best sports team win. As a part of the Pacific Coast League and with their major affiliation with the Chicago Cubs, they have big shoes to fill. Last season their overall record was 74-70. Let’s see if they can keep up the good work this year starting with the season home opener on April 17 at 7:08 p.m. www.iowacubs.com

Runners-up: Iowa Wild; Iowa Barnstormers

 

Best Bike Trail

High Trestle Trail

This 25-mile long trail runs through five cities (Woodward, Madrid, Slater, Sheldahl and Ankeny) and through four counties (Polk, Story, Boone and Dallas). It travels across the Des Moines River valley on a half-mile, 13-story-high bridge and is built on the former Union Pacific Railroad. It’s become so popular that citizens are asked to obtain a permit two weeks in advance before holding an event on the trail. High Trestle Trail is featured in American Trails magazine. 515-465-3577; www.inhf.org/trails/high-trestle

Runners-up: Raccoon River Valley Trail; Great Western Trail

 

Best Place to Work Out

Waukee Family YMCA

It makes sense that the Y took the win for the best place to work out, considering they serve more than 50,000 members throughout central Iowa. The YMCA prides itself on not being a part of the community, but creating the community and pulling everyone together for health, fitness, charities and events. They welcome any and all members, and their main goal is to make a difference in the community. 210 N. Warrior Lane, Waukee. 515-987-9969; www.dmymca.org/en/locations/waukee_family_ymca/

Runners-up: Wellmark YMCA; Life Time Athletic Des Moines

 

Best Place to Kickbox

Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping

Farrell’s fitness program is based on a 45-minute, six days a week for 10 weeks workout plan. In these 10 weeks, trainees experience cardiovascular training to burn fat, strength training to build muscle, a nutrition plan for healthy eating and instructors and coaches for encouragement. Farrell’s strives to create a supportive environment, but also runs on the three values developed by Lance Farrell: discipline, self-control and respect. The people who work there want to help their gym goers transform their lives. www.extremebodyshaping.com

Runners-up: KoSama Group Fitness Redefinition; RoundKick Gym Martial Arts & Fitness

 

Best Place to Go Swimming

YMCA

The YMCA has been offering organized swimming and lessons for 110 years and was the first to offer group swimming lessons back in 1907. Swim lesson guidelines and online registration is offered to customers with and without a membership to their local YMCA. You can check out the pool schedule online for your closest YMCA swim times. www.dmymca.org

Runners-up: Life Time Aathletic; Adventure Bay Family Waterpark

 

Best Place to Bowl

Plaza Lanes Family Sports Complex

Tired of spending time at Chuck E. Cheese’s with screaming kids? Take them bowling instead at Plaza Lanes, and celebrate birthday parties where the adults and children can both have a great time. Carrying friends out of the bar before they cause a scene gets stressful, and does anyone ever remember what street they parked the car on? Save the trouble and take the group out midnight bowling where Plaza Lanes has laser lights, fog machines and great music. Don’t forget to grab drinks and dinner at Trophy’s Bar & Grill right next door. 2701 Douglas Ave., Des Moines. 515-255-1111; http://plazalanesdm.com

Runners-up: Val Lanes Recreation Center; Air Lanes

 

Best Place to Miniature Golf

West Grand Golf

Everyone loves miniature golfing. Tap the ball once, it doesn’t go anywhere. Tap the ball again, it doesn’t go anywhere. Tap it the third time and it goes half way across the course into a random pond. But, hey, at least at West Grand Golf they have pretty bridges, natural surroundings, gardens and waterfalls. So when you realize how difficult playing miniature golf can be, just take a look around at the scenery West Grand Golf offers. Reclaiming their title this year, West Grand Golf makes it a point to accommodate their guests in every way possible, including a practice putting green for the above frustrations. 6450 Raccoon River Drive, West Des Moines. 515-225-7076; www.westgrandgolf.com

Runners-up: Blank Golf Course; Toad Valley Golf Course

 

Best Indoor Sporting Event

Iowa Barnstormers

Playing in the heart of downtown Des Moines at Wells Fargo Arena, the Iowa Barnstormers are looking to better their 2014 record of six losses and 12 wins. This season, they welcome back DeJay “Superman” Lester, who proved to be a big addition to the team last year. Coaches and fans are excited about the new season and the changes and additions that have been made. Head Coach Joe Brannen seems to be upbeat and positive about the season that starts this week. The first game of the season is on Feb. 28 starting at 7:05 p.m. www.theiowabarnstormers.com

Runners-up: Iowa Wild, Des Moines Buccaneers

 

Best Outdoor Sporting Event

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs has been one of Des Moines’ favorite teams for years now, winning best outdoor sporting event yet again. The Cubs have set records, won several titles, and have even had a previous manager, Ryne Sandberg, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. www.iowacubs.com

Runners-up: Drake Relays; Des Moines Menace

 

Best Place to Watch a Sporting Event

Iowa Cubs Principal Park

Baseball lovers rejoice at Principal Park. With a great view of the Iowa State Capitol and the heart of downtown Des Moines, it’s hard not to fall in love with America’s favorite game. Just root for the home team, and if they don’t win it’s a shame, but when they do win, fans can hang around and enjoy the beauty that Principal Park offers its loyal fans. 1 Line Dr., Des Moines. 515-243-6111; www.iowacubs.com

Runners-up: Iowa Events Center–Wells Fargo Arena; Des Moines Buccaneer Arena

 

Best Running Event

Dam to Dam

2015 celebrates the 36th year of the annual Dam to Dam race. Runners can choose between a half-marathon, 20-kilometer run or a five-kilometer run. The Dam to Dam also offers youth runs. The 2015 Iowa Distance Classic will be held on Saturday, May 30. Registration begins mid-March. Results and winners of last year’s race are up on the website and available for everyone to see the overall winners and the top age division winners. www.damtodam.com

Runners-up: IMT Des Moines Marathon; Drake Relays

 

Best Obstacle Running Event

Titan MOB

This annual race is designed to test a runner’s strength, endurance and ability to overcome obstacles…literally. Runners experience everything except what they would do in a typical 10K or 5K race. It’s a muddy, crazy, fun mess, and runners celebrate with a beer at the end. That’s actually what MOB stands for: Mud, Obstacles, Beer. Titan MOB serves as a joy for people both to participate and observe safely from the sidelines. http://titan-mob.com

Runners-up: Living History Farms Race; Warrior Dash

 

Best Farmers Market

Des Moines Farmers Market

The fresh produce, homemade goods and handmade crafts make the Des Moines Farmers Market a local favorite. Cityview readers voted it both Best Farmers Market and Best Place to Take Your Parents.

The fresh produce, homemade goods and handmade crafts make the Des Moines Farmers Market a local favorite. Cityview readers voted it both Best Farmers Market and Best Place to Take Your Parents.

The farmers market is the best place to take a friend or significant other on a morning outing with some coffee, or to try new things and new foods to fall in love with and bring home. And don’t forget the great food that the farmers market always has to offer. Check their site for times and dates for the spring market. http://desmoinesfarmersmarket.com

Runners-up: Valley Junction Farmers Market/Music in the Junction; Beaverdale Farmers Market

 

Best Personal Trainer

Rodney Filer

It’s no question why Rodney Filer won this race; he’s played in the NFL, he’s played in several area football leagues and is currently the fullback for the Iowa Barnstormers. He is also “half the heartbeat” of Gigi’s Pilates Studio, according to its website. Rodney also serves as a motivational speaker and coach for the Iowa Lightning football team. He is the co-founder and vice president of the Empower to Play Foundation and is also working to bring nutrition and activities to Des Moines’ at-risk youth. Wait — is this award for Best Personal Trainer or Best Person? 1312 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-279-0242; www.gigispilatesstudio.com

Runners-up: Jen Brambel; Dado Kantarevic

 

Best Camping Spot

Lewis A. Jester Park Campground

Jester Park may be the best place to camp for several reasons. Maybe it’s because there are endless features and activities, like boating, golfing, hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing and so many more. Or because it’s in a secluded area with beautiful scenery. Or maybe it’s because of the bison and elk herds that greet you at the end of the park drive. Whatever the reason, Jester Park Campground takes the cake for this race.11407 N.W. Jester Park Drive, Granger. www.mycountyparks.com/county/polk/park/Jester-Lewis-A-Park

Runners-up: Cherry Glen Campground; Yellow Banks Park

 

 

Best of the Rest

 

Best Elected Official

Gov. Terry Branstad

Governor Branstad has been in office since 2011, and before that he was the president of Des Moines University. As governor, his goals were to make 200,000 new jobs for Iowans, create a 15 percent reduction in the cost of government through the use of more efficient technology, create a 25 percent increase in family incomes, and develop some of the best schools in the nation through first-rate teachers and more critical teaching methods. Most recently, in the Condition of the State address, Brandstad has expressed taking action in terms of creating high-speed Internet and funding for revitalizing Iowa’s roads and bridges. https://governor.iowa.gov

Runners-up: Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie; Sen. Matt McCoy

 

Best TV Station for News

KCCI News 8

KCCI wins for best channel for news for their extensive scope of reports, as well as their breadth of topics. From local news, entertainment, politics, health, travel plus many more, it’s hard not to vote for one of the biggest news organizations in Iowa. You can download their app to your mobile phone for the fastest news updates, as well as an alarm clock that plays a song or sound to wake you up, and then takes you to the news first thing in the morning. Talk about an easy way to stay up to date. www.kcci.com/news

Runners-up: WHO; WOI

 

Best TV Station for Sports

WHO

From reporting on high school sports to special segments like “What’s Bugging Andy” and “Murphy’s Law,” WHO TV takes the win for best sports station. Whether biking, fishing, basketball or football — WHO covers it all. They even feature a workout move of the week on their website and have recently published workout trends for 2015 that predict what direction health and fitness will go this year. Here we go, group fitness! http://whotv.com/category/sports/

Runners-up: KCCI; ESPN

 

Best TV Station for Weather

KCCI

KCCI has the local weather scrolling across your television screen about every five minutes, offers notifications to be sent to users’ cell phones about school and event closings, and interactive radar and alerts are always available and up to date on KCCI’s website. KCCI also offers a breaking news and weather app, a storm team 8 KCCI weather app, and a tornadoes app, because everyone knows that we check our phones before we flip on the television. www.kcci.com/weather

Runners-up: WHO; WOI

 

Best TV Anchor

Kevin Cooney – KCCI

Kevin Cooney joined KCCI while he was still in high school. He started with sports reporting and moved his way up to a news anchor, where he has been doing newscasts for the last 32 years. Cooney has interviewed President George H. Bush, President Bill Clinton, and Sen. Joni Ernst among many others. Cooney has covered stories such as presidential inaugurations, and he’s interviewed American hostages upon their return home. He has received the Jack Shelley Award from the IBNA and the James Schwartz Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism from Iowa State University.

Runners-up: Elizabeth Klinge – KCCI; Dan Winters – WHO

 

Best-Looking Male Media Personality

Eric Hanson – KCCI

Maybe this makes us a bit superficial, but doesn’t it make watching the news a whole lot better when it’s a handsome, smiling face telling you the day’s current events? The voters say Eric Hanson is the best-looking man on TV this year, and we can’t say they were wrong with that pick.

Runners-up: Dan Winters – WHO; Andy Fales – WHO

 

Best-Looking Female Media Personality

Elizabeth Klinge – KCCI

Most people don’t really like waking up in the wee hours of the morning to start their day. Thank goodness we have Elizabeth Klinge right there with us — at least, on the TV while we’re getting our coffee ready — to help us through the morning. Her perfect hair and bright smile on the 4 a.m. news make us all wonder why mornings are so hard for us when she already looks like that.

Runners-up: Erin Kiernan – WHO; Jackie Schmillen – KCWI

 

Best Self-Righteous Media Hog

Ed Wilson – WHO

It’s safe to say that Ed Wilson has done a lot in his career, and he started when he was very young. In fact, he has covered so many different storms it would likely exceed the length of this section of the column. Here’s what’s important: during the flood of 1993, Wilson stayed on the air for 30 hours, he has covered almost all of the major storms Iowa has endured over the course of his career, and he’s an only child. What’s being an only child have to do with it? It means he’s used to the attention.

Runners-up: Steve Deace; Andy Fales – WHO

 

Best Sports Commentator or Columnist

Keith Murphy – WHO

Aside from winning numerous awards for his sportscasting, hosting SoundOFF, and, according to WHO, helping to change the expectations for sports reporting, Keith Murphy has also had neck, shoulder, knee and nose surgery. This is relevant because all four of his surgeries were from sports-related incidents, which makes him an expert at sports injuries, too. In other words, he da man!

Runners-up: Andy Garman – KCCI; Andy Fales – WHO

 

Best News Commentator or Columnist

Rekha Basu – The Des Moines Register

It’s no surprise that Rekha Basu stole the show for this category for the second time. She has won countless awards, including Des Moines Business Record’s Women of Influence and the Iowa Farmers Union media award. She’s been writing for The Des Moines Register since 1991 and reports on subjects such as human rights and racial justice. With so many accomplishments, it’s hard not to vote for Basu. Don’t miss her commentary about local politics on Wednesdays called “Rekha’s Voice. “

Runners-up: Andy Fales – WHO; Kevin Cooney – KCCI

 

Best Meteorologist

Kurtis Gertz – KCCI

Kurtis Gertz means business when it comes to weather. He’s worked at five stations (including KCCI) to report the weather and has been with KCCI for about 16 years. Working construction in Wisconsin led Gertz to be interested in reporting the weather, which he followed up with a degree from Florida State University. Other than the weather, Gertz likes to travel, watch movies and spend time with his wife on their Harley. At least his head isn’t in the clouds while he’s reporting. He seems pretty down to Earth (puns definitely intended).

Runners-up: Ed Wilson – WHO; Jason Parkin – KCWI Great Day

 

Best Talk Radio Show

Murph & Andy – KXNO 1460

These two goofballs talk sports every weekday from 2-4 p.m. What’s sports talk without challenging opinions, snarky comments and competitive conversation? Basically nothing, but these two hit all the trademarks of an interesting and entertaining radio show.

Runners-up: Big Ken & Colleen – Star 102.5; Van & Bonnie in the Morning – WHO 1040

 

Best Radio Voice that Turns You On

Brian Holtz – KMFG 99.1

Could it be his deep voice that makes him the readers’ favorite? Or the fact that he runs the show from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. — and we all know nothing good ever happens after midnight? Maybe it’s because he is also in a band, and people always have a thing for musicians? For whatever the reason, Brian Holtz claims the win in the sexy voice category, and our readers are very, well, excited about Holtz and his captivating voice. He’s on air every weeknight, and if you want to get more than the voice, catch his band playing at venues around the metro. 1000 Walnut St., Suite 1107, Des Moines. 515-244-4146; www.kfmg991.org

Runners-up: Clutch – KGGO 95; Max Schaeffer – KIOA 93.3

 

Best Radio Station

KFMG 99.1

KFMG is one of the few locally owned radio stations left in the area, and it thrives on the community’s input. It’s run by the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation, which is a nonprofit, and works daily to inform Des Moines residents of the activities, events and charities happening daily. Their music is a mixture of jazz, soul, rock and roll and alternative. Radio shows run basically all day, every day, so you won’t miss a minute. 1000 Walnut St., Suite 1107, Des Moines. 515-244-4146; www.kfmg991.org

Runners-up: WOI – Iowa Public Radio; WHO 1040

 

Best Radio Personality

Ron Sorenson – KFMG 99.1

“Sorenson was progressive before progressive was cool,” says KFMG’s website, and it seems that they are correct in their assessment of station general manager Ron Sorenson. Not only does he manage the station, he is also the president of the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation, which owns and operates KFMG. Sorenson lives a busy life running one company and managing another, but he still finds time to golf, enjoy his music collection and run the Ron Sorenson Show at 99.1. Catch him live weekdays in the afternoon. 1000 Walnut St., Suite 1107, Des Moines. 515-244-4146; www.kfmg991.org

Runners-up: Maxwell & Pam–KIOA 93.3; Big Ken & Colleen–Star 102.5

 

Best Library

Des Moines Public Library – Central

Books, magazines, film, periodicals, sheet music, media, movies…the options to rent and view at the Central library seem endless. With free parking and a prime location near the Pappajohn Sculpture Park downtown, it’s guaranteed to be a fun trip. The library even has a pickup window open Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. Our readers love the peaceful and quiet atmosphere both in and around the library. 1000 Grand Ave., Des Moines. 515-283-4152; http://dmpl.org

Runners-up: Des Moines Public Library–Franklin Ave.; Urbandale Public Library

 

Best Nonprofit

Animal Rescue League

We could brag about the Animal Rescue League for hours — and so could our readers. It’s the biggest nonprofit animal shelter in Iowa and relies solely on donations to run the shelter. The ARL website offers notices for lost and found pets, animal advice, and they host a slew of events, including Zumba classes. The voters love the mission of ARL, but they also love the happiness it brings to pets and owners alike. www.arl-iowa.org

Runners-up: Hope Ministries; AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport

 

Best Place to Worship

Lutheran Church of HOPE

Hope has worked hard to get where it is today. It has an extensive list of different ministries catered to each age group and religious maturity and a full calendar of events just about every month. Readers love the community at Hope, but also the convenience, because their sermons are posted online in a podcast or video form for those who can’t attend church. 925 Jordan Creek Parkway., West Des Moines. 515-222-1520; www.hopewdm.org

Runners-up: Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; Westminster Presbyterian Church

 

Best Realtor

Bob Eisenlauer

Taking the title of Best Realtor for the third time is former Des Moines Sexiest People nominee Bob Eisenlauer. He’s accomplished a lot in his 11 years in real estate, and our readers appreciate him for it. He has received more than six awards for his outstanding performance and is very active in the family business. See this man for all your new-home needs — you won’t regret it. 525-979-2883; www.eisenlauerteam.com

Runners-up: Tim Scheib; Tina Johnson and Steve O’Meara

 

Best Automotive Salesperson

Tim Gilman – Billion Auto

When it comes to buying a car, you want to work with someone you trust. Our readers say Tim Gilman is that someone. He works with his customers to find the perfect cars at the best prices. www.billionauto.com

Runners-up: Steve Johnson – Toyota; Jeff Nelmark – Stivers

 

Best College

Drake University

It doesn’t have to be the biggest campus to be the best college, as proved by the voters’ choice to name Drake University the Best College. With countless opportunities for student involvement, Drake works hard to keep the Des Moines area happy and upbeat. 2507 University Ave., Des Moines. 800-44-DRAKE; www.drake.edu

Runners-up: DMACC; Grand View University

 

Best Place for Continuing Your Education

DMACC

DMACC prides itself on being the best place to start your college career, offering 12 special programs for students with specific needs to succeed in college education. If you’ve left school and have decided to go back, you can take advantage of the transfer program. They offer courses for people who speak English as their second language and schooling for people who were in the military. DMACC is the No. 1 transfer institution in Iowa, and it produces the most undergraduates in the state. Visit the website and use their college planning timeline to plan the rest of your schooling. 1100 Seventh St., Des Moines. 515-244-4226; www.dmacc.edu

Runners-up: Drake University; Kaplan University

 

Best Photographer

Creative Backing Real Estate Photography

Creative Backing is a company that assists realtors in selling their homes with stunning photography and videography. Winning the photography title at only two years old, this company creates a story for each home through its photos, giving each home life and energy. Our readers like Creative Backing because they strive to be the creative backbone of every real estate company and to offer them countless support services for their companies to succeed. www.creativebacking.com

Runners-up: Kerri Photography; Tim Vorland Photography

 

Best Police Officer

Natalie Heinemann

It’s clear that Natalie Heinemann has a passion for serving her community and country. Prior to serving five years on the Des Moines police force as a senior officer, she worked as a surveillance guard and spent seven years of her life serving the United States Army.

Runners-up: Mark McKinney; Elliot Ness

 

Best Financial Planner

Tony Niedart – Principal Financial Group

Tony Niedert is among the slew of individuals at Principal that strive to help customers put their finances in order and develop the best strategy to achieving their financial goals. Niedert has presumably been voted the best because of his stellar work with his clients and their overall happiness with him as their financial advisor. It takes a sincere person to have so many people trust you with their money. 6701 Westown Parkway, Suite 200, West Des Moines. 515-246-4048; www.principal.com

Runners-up: Dennis Markway; Jenny Smith

 

Best Insurance Agent

Ben Buenzow – State Farm

He may not be Jake from State Farm and clad in khakis, but Ben Buenzow knows how to take care of his clients just as well. After working with State Farm for about 11 years, our readers trust Buenzow and his credibility as an insurance agent.

Runners-up: Doug Hoyng – Hoyng Insurance Group; Mike Adamson

 

Best Family Planning Services

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has been known for years for helping people protect themselves and stay up to date on their health quickly and discreetly. They offer services like STD testing, birth control and the morning-after pill. They even have people to chat with on their website if you have a question or concern. They have convenient locations all over the metro and offer affordable health insurance choices. www.plannedparenthood.org

Runners-up: Vitae Family Care; Agape Pregnancy Center

 

Best Chiropractor

Dr. Braxton Pulley

His accomplishments are too many to name here, so it’s no surprise the voters named Dr. Braxton Pulley as the Best Chiropractor serving Des Moines. He opened Pulley Chiropractic Health Center to serve clients in the metro. The office will soon change its name to East Village Chiropractic, but don’t let that stop you from making an appointment with the best chiropractor around. 300 E. Locust St., Des Moines

515-288-8085; www.drpulley.com

Runners-up: Dr. Quentin Huston; Dr. Vince Hassel

 

Best Doctor

Lori A. Steinmann, NP

Having a health practitioner who is upbeat and excited about his or her job always eases the tension when seeing a doctor, and Lori Steinmann does her best to do those things for her patients. She speaks both English and Spanish so she can accommodate more people. 1221 Center St., Suite 15, Des Moines. 515-243-2888

Runners-up: Dr. Brian Waggoner, MD; Dr. Ed Steinmann, DO

 

Best Eye Clinic

Wolfe Eye Clinic

Our eyes are very sensitive and require special care, and the physicians at Wolfe Eye Clinic have been trusted with this care for more than 90 years. Their website offers tips on how to protect your eyes from the summer sun, an eye care blog and information on eye diseases. 6200 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines. 515-223-8685; www.wolfeeyeclinic.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Eye Surgeons; Vision Clinic Optometric Services – Beaverdale

 

Best Place to Get Lasik Eye Surgery

Wolfe Eye Clinic

Where else would you get Lasik eye surgery than the place voted Best Eye Clinic? Wolfe Eye Clinic offers extensive information on this surgery on their website, from a general description to a procedural breakdown — they even offer videos on how the process works so patients can ease their fears before stepping into the chair. Wolfe has been performing Lasik surgeries for more than 30 years, executing the highest number of surgeries in the state, so they’ve got the experience. 6200 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines. 515-223-8685; www.wolfeeyeclinic.com

Runners-up: Associated Opthalmologists; Des Moines Eye Surgeons

 

Best Hospital

Iowa Methodist Medical Center

There a many reasons our readers likely chose Iowa Methodist Medical Center for Best Hospital this year. It’s known in the Midwest for its spectacular cancer care, it’s one of only two Level 1 trauma centers in the state, it has one of the largest rehabilitation centers in central Iowa, it offers excellent maternity care, and it’s a valued teaching hospital. 1200 Pleasant St., Des Moines. 515-241-6212; www.unitypoint.org/desmoines/iowa-methodist-medical-center

Runners-up: Mercy Medical Center; UnityPoint Health Center

 

Best Vet Clinic

Oaks Veterinary Clinic

Studies show that almost half of all American households own a pet. We adore our three sassy cats with human-like personalities, or the dog whose tail wags uncontrollably when we walk through the door. So when it comes to health care for pets, we want the best care for them. Oaks Veterinary Clinic offers the help needed for our beloved furry friends, and the readers enjoy the personal care and treatment they deliver. 2030 27th St., Des Moines. 515-279-3654

Runners-up: Starch Pet Hospital; University West Pet Clinic

 

Best Physical Therapist

West Des Moines Physical Therapy

Physical injuries don’t just happen within the “convenient” business hours of 8 to 5, and the physical therapists at West Des Moines Physical Therapy realize that. That’s why they offer extended access to their facilities with flexible hours, so patients can schedule an appointment whenever they need one. Our readers also like the one-on-one care provided and the extensive list of service, which even includes a home care program. 3701 EP True Parkway, West Des Moines. 515-224-6761; www.westdesmoinesphysicaltherapy.com

Runners-up: Accelerated Rehabilitation Center; Integrated Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine PLLC

 

Best Home Builder

Meadowbrook Builders LLC

Cliff and Matt McClure know what it takes to build a good home. The two of them have a combined experience of more than 50 years in the fields of building and real estate. They have 15 development communities in central Iowa, offering the most in Ankeny and Urbandale. Our readers love their quality work and timeliness when completing each project. http://meadowbrookbuildersllc.com

Runners-up: Superior Contractors LLC; Dreamscape Homebuilders

 

Best Landscaper

Frontline Lawn & Landscapes

Frontline is a full-service landscape company that serves businesses as well as residential homes. Owner Joe Morton has had his business for 10 years now, and before that, he worked for two other major landscaping companies. That being said, Morton knows his way around a flower garden and a stone patio, and our readers acknowledge that. 8308 N.E. University Ave., Pleasant Hill. 515-778-3969; www.frontlinelawns.com

Runners-up: Kaldenberg PBS Landscaping and Lawncare; Des Moines Landscapes L.C.

 

Best Chamber of Commerce

Urbandale

The Urbandale Chamber of Commerce has more than 700 businesses and 18,000 representatives in its coalition. Those are impressive numbers, but what really sealed the deal for our voters is how it serves, protects and promotes each one of those members and businesses. 2830 100th St., Suite110, Urbandale. 515-331-6855; http://uniquelyurbandale.com

Runners-up: West Des Moines; Ankeny

 

Best Customer Service

East Village Chiropractic

For more than 10 years, East Village Chiropractic (formerly known as Pulley Chiropractic) has been serving the Des Moines community, and our readers want to recognize that service. Doctors at East Village strive to care not only for a person’s physical well-being, but also their spirit and mind. They offer a long list of services, and they do it with a smile, which goes a long way with our readers. 300 E. Locust St., Des Moines. 515-288-8058; http://drpulley.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Zounds Hearing Aids

 

Best Dentist Office

Grove & Platt Dental Associates

Most people hate going to the dentist. Between the gritty toothpaste and the floss hitting your gums, it’s not always a refreshing experience. But what if you could get a warm neck wrap and paraffin for your hands to make the visit more enjoyable? Well, at Grove & Platt Dental Associates, PLC you can have these spa-like amenities, while the dentists take care of that smile of yours. Healthy teeth and a relaxed body make for a happy patient — and a Best Of award.
www.gpdentalassociates.com 

 

Runners-up: Fleur Dentistry LLP DDS; Weston Dental

 

Best Law Firm

Jennifer Meyer Law

Jennifer Meyer has definitely earned her place in the world of law. In addition to receiving a college degree from University of Northern Iowa and graduating from Drake Law School, Meyer worked for two other law firms before creating her own. Now Meyer practices family, criminal and juvenile law. 121 N.E. 18th St., Suite B, Ankeny. 515-352-4747; www.jennifermeyerlaw.com

Runners-up: Brick Gentry, PC; Baer Law Office

 

Best Pediatrician

Brian Waggoner

Dr. Brian Waggoner has been working with kids for about 26 years, and he currently works with four other hospitals for the care of children. Dr. Waggoner graduated from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine about 12 years ago and has been working with medicine ever since. 2301 Beaver Ave., Des Moines. 515-255-3181; www.dsmpeds.com

Runners-up: William Salow; Sara Schutte

 

Best Daycare

Generation Next Child Development Center

Generation Next strives to teach children how to work properly and adequately in a group and with other individuals. They want children to be independent and, at the same time, have the ability to be productive members of a team or group. They provide creative arts, outside play time, a cafeteria and special events, which is a big winner for both kids and their parents. www.generationnextia.com

Runners-up: Apple Tree Children’s Center; Childserve

 

Best Marketing Agency

Flynn Wright

Working with places like Mediacom and LifeServe, Flynn Wright promises to give companies’ advertising its “swagger back.” People love the vibrant colors and unique ideas Flynn Wright uses to boost companies that might be in an advertising, marketing or public relations slump. 1408 Locust St., Des Moines. 515-243-2845; www.flynnwright.com

Runners-up: Akili Design & Marketing; Happy Medium

 

Best Community to Live In

Ankeny

With attractive new additions to the housing community on the way, Ankeny is home to 44,000 Iowans and still growing. It is full of restaurants, clubs and organizations for everyone to enjoy, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city that families can relax. Ankeny’s convenient location to Des Moines and other surrounding suburbs make it a happy place for residents young and old. www.ankenyiowa.gov

Runners-up: Beaverdale; West Des Moines

 

Best School District

Ankeny

Is this a surprise considering the previous award? Ankeny is home to 10elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schoolsand Des Moines Area Community College. With an education system ranked among the highest in Iowa, a National Blue Ribbon School and a high school ranked nationally by Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report, parents across the metro might be looking to enroll their kids. www.ankenyschools.org .

Runners-up: Waukee; Des Moines

CV

 

 

 

 

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