Sunday, December 5, 2021

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Urban Cellar


The dining room at West Des Moines’ Urban Cellar offers a relaxed suburban setting.

If you’re looking to experience a relaxed vibe in the heart of West Des Moines, visit the Urban Cellar.

With tall dark wood and tan colors, the Urban Cellar is a warm and inviting place to unwind and enjoy a great meal with wine and cocktails.

The Urban Cellar: Wine Bar, Grille & Market opened in April of 2018 in the former Legends at 640 S. 50th St., a strip mall conveniently located off I-35.

The place consists of both a market and restaurant. The market side offers selected wines, spices, dry pastas, cheese, charcuterie and other specialty market items to go. It also includes a bakery. Pam Jondle’s job is both baker and server, as she bakes cookies, bars, pies and even gluten-free items. The cinnamon rolls with thick cream cheese frosting are one tasty example.

Wines are reasonably priced, and patrons can buy a bottle to go or select a bottle for the server to open with a meal next door. Kyle Foote selects wines. Prior to the pandemic, they offered wine tastings several days a week. Some wine tasting events have slowly returned.

Guests can host private wine tasting parties in the adjacent private party room, which holds 24 people.

The large bar in back of the dining room used to be mega-sized, and the new owners downsized it. Although sporting events are still on TVs, the noise is muted for easier conversations.

Weekdays include social hour with $4 house wines, $3 domestic beers and $5 martinis. Select appetizers including the Margherita pizza and meatballs are $7 each.

Special nights include a wine bottle paired with two entries for $50. The rest of the menu is moderately priced, starting at $13. Burgers, salmon, signature pastas, steak de Burgo and artisan pizzas — their specialty thanks to the perfect crust — round out the menu. Brunch is served on Saturdays, and the place is closed Sundays and Mondays.

The Urban Cellar is owned by Dave and Jean Thompson, who also own the Urban Grill in Urbandale and District 36 Wine Bar & Grill in Ankeny. The restaurants used to be part of Nick’s Bar and Grill and Skip’s — which were members of the same extended family.

According to general manager Andrew Thompson, their old-fashioned drinks are made with hand-selected barrels of Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey. His dad, Dave, and some friends get together to sample barrels, selecting the best for bar consumption.

When the pandemic hit, they added in carry out and offered patio seating. Now that the patio is closing, more patrons are venturing inside.

“We’ve done an entire sanitation of the place with servers masked,” says Andrew. “With our high booths and spacious dining room, it’s easy to accommodate patrons inside. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends returning.” ♦

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