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Belly Up To...

Quinton’s, an East Village landmark


Jake McCoy and Alex Strait, both of West Des Moines, find themselves a comfy, semi-private table for two for a midweek beer and conversation.

Jake McCoy and Alex Strait, both of West Des Moines, find themselves a comfy, semi-private table for two for a midweek beer and conversation.

Des Moines’ East Village is home to a plethora of diverse taverns, restaurants and groovy little mom-and-pop shops. It could arguably be dubbed central Iowa’s hippest place to eat, shop, hang out and carouse, with its late night concerts, pre-parties, after-parties, random block parties that are planned and hosted by cooperating local entrepreneurs and other more major annual events and festivals.

But the East Village of 100 years ago beat with a far different pulse. Most of the old buildings lining Locust and Grand and the intersecting streets east of the river were industrial or factory-types of business.

“This used to be a transmission shop. The whole floor is unlevel and slopes to the street,” laughed Quinton’s owner Tony Marcovich.

The history is just another characteristic of Quinton’s that adds to the charm. The popular bar/restaurant arrived to the East Village hub location about three years ago, Marcovich said, after three other locations proved to be a hit elsewhere in the state. The first Quinton’s was in Iowa City and showed the place had staying power among the college crowds, as the owners Marcovich, Jack Carlson and Brian Rorris all attended the University of Iowa prior to their entrepreneurship, making Q’s the East Village’s only true Hawkeye bar.

An added sister spot in neighboring Coralville was quick to prove it had just as much appeal among a slightly older demographic.

Sioux City welcomed a third location, and Des Moines was not far behind, each standing as further proof to the three managing owners and the public that the Quinton’s offerings are enough to satisfy a vast demographic — from a college town where the competition for bars and restaurants is staunch, to a progressive neighborhood of young professionals and families in the East Village.

Known best for its sandwich selection, loaded baked potato and bread-bowl soups, and famous for its 23-ounce “big girl beers,” the Quinton’s staples are a safe bet regardless of the location. But, Marcovich admits, the Des Moines Q’s has a vibe all its own.

“That’s my foosball table from home,” he said. “I love foosball, and it’s free.”

The bar also offers darts and a few arcade games peppered in among tables and booths, but for the most part, Quinton’s is a place for good food, libations and friendly conversation. It’s a midday meeting spot or a happy-hour routine among locals. Along with the foosball table at the front door — a rarity around Des Moines — Quinton’s rock-and-roll vibe was its strongest appeal upon my first visit. Blown-up black-and-white photos of Albert Einstein and Johnny Cash are fun conversation pieces, as patrons graze the walls to pick out other American legends in the décor like Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley… I swear Muddy Waters just winked at me — must be one too many of the Moscow Mules. What do they put in that homemade ginger beer, anyway? CV


Quinton’s Bar and Deli
506 E. Grand Ave.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
HAPPY HOUR: 3-7 p.m. daily
KITCHEN: 11 a.m.-12 a.m. daily
ENTERTAINMENT: Trivia every Wednesday at 8 p.m.


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