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Labor of love


If you’re in the Jordan Creek area looking for a place to grab a bite or knock back a great drink, look no further than Draught House 50.

Sister store of the Draught House 50 on 50th Street, the Mills Civic store is also related to other local draught houses and the late Bang Bang Mongolian Grill, which occupied the building before the new Draught House.

Draught House 50 opened recently in the former location of Bang Bang Mongolian Grill.

Draught House 50 opened recently in the former location of Bang Bang Mongolian Grill.

The management of the establishment has put its own blood, sweat and tears into the bar, pouring concrete, installing bricks and sanding the reclaimed Iowa barn wood ceiling and walls.

Kendall Owen, Draught House 50’s operations manager, calls it “a true labor of love.” They’ve barely been open for two weeks, but Owen says they’ve been busy already.

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The labor force in West Des Moines fills the bar on the weekdays, and the local shopping will bring patrons for Saturday and Sunday breakfast. Draught House 50 serves a full breakfast menu from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., as well as a Bloody Mary bar and freshly squeezed mimosas.

Draught House has 50 beers on tap, both domestic and imported, as well as a number of bottled brews. Sixteen of the taps are Iowa craft beers, and it also features Iowa-made liquors for its mixed drinks.

“The locally made ones are outselling the domestics; it’s fantastic,” said Owen.

In terms of the bar’s food, Draught House 50 is proud of its menu, to say the least. The chefs use only locally produced beef and bread, both of which are sourced from packers in Des Moines. All burgers are handmade to order and topped with an unbelievable variety of veggies and fixings.

Customers can try anything from the Classic Cheeseburger (for those friends who don’t want to stray from the classics) to the Jalapeno Popper Burger (a bar favorite), made with freshly sliced jalapenos, cream cheese, apple-wood smoked barbecue sauce and brown sugar caramelized onions.

While the staff at Draught House 50 calls the menu the bar’s highlight, that’s not giving the atmosphere enough credit. Call it modern vintage.

The space is outstanding. The varnished concrete floors are one-of-a-kind, and the distressed wood make the place look classic and dynamic. The leather stools and benches have an antique look, while the heavy, wooden high-top tables relax the personality of the room, balancing a casual yet high-class ambiance.

The main dining room seats 250 people (that’s more than three times the seating of the 50th Street location), and there is a private dining room available for birthday parties, draft parties or any other event for 12-30 people.

Let’s not forget about the most unique thing Draught House 50 has to offer, though.

The seven bay windows that surround the main dining area — while offering an amount of natural daylight that is usually lacking in bars — actually serve a second purpose. In the style of garage doors, they open up to turn the bar into one large, covered patio. There’s nothing like cracking a beer and feeling real sunshine and a summer breeze on your face. And as Owen says, “There’s not a bad seat in the house.” CV

Draught House 50
Mon. – Sun. 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.)
6240 Mills Civic Parkway,
West Des Moines

Bri Levandowski is a senior in journalism at Iowa State University. She is writing as part of an internship with Cityview.

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