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Cover Story

2013 Best of Des Moines- BEST OF THE REST


As the old adage goes, any job worth doing is worth doing right. Whether you’re flipping burgers at a local bar and grill, parading a catwalk dressed in drag, balancing the budget of a multi-million dollar corporation or running the state government, we believe you should take pride in your work. When you do, it shows, and it is rewarded in community trust, an increase in business and eventually, more money in the old bank account.

Cityview’s Best Of Des Moines contest is an example of such rewards in motion. It’s the people — the client, the customer, the consumer — who appreciate a local person, product or service enough to get out and vote for it as their favorite, as Des Moines’ best above all others. Earning the appreciation, respect and recognition of the public is its own reward, one that is priceless.

In the spirit of true merit and appreciation, we bring you another edition of our Best Of Des Moines — our readers’ choices for all things dining, drinking, shopping and more. “Congratulations” doesn’t quite say enough, but “thank you” is a start.








Best Local Day Trip

Amana Colonies

Whether by highway, Interstate, back roads or gravel, our readers’ voted the Amana Colonies as the best Iowa day trip worth the tank of gas. Step back in time to visit seven quiet German Pietist villages of friendly folks making nationally-acclaimed cheese, homemade wines and craft beer from a local brewery, plus quaint restaurants serving up home-cooked meals with an old-fashioned flare. It’s a time-travel road trip guaranteed to leave everyone in the car with lifelong memories.

Runners-up: Ledges State Park; Iowa City


Best Farmer’s Market

Downtown Des Moines

Iowa is historically known for hosting fabulous farmers’ markets, but our readers say none quite compare to the one put on by the Downtown Community Alliance. Stretching across the Historic Court Avenue District on Saturdays, the traditional farmers’ market runs from May through October on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon. It became so popular that the Alliance decided to include a lunch-hour market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Western Gateway, one of our readers’ favorite midday breaks from work. Another is being organized for winter months in Capitol Square.

Runners-up: Valley Junction; Beaverdale


Best Elected Official

Terry Branstad

The title is back in the hands of the governor. Whether it’s his stance on reducing the cost of government or creating new jobs for Iowans, Cityview readers agree, Terry Branstad is their man. Education reform is a top priority for Branstad and his team during the 2012 session, and he believes Iowa’s children deserve the opportunity to compete for careers on the global market. So do we, and apparently so do our readers.

Runners-up: Des Moines Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie; Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggens


Best TV Station for News

KCCI Channel 8

In the morning, at noon or late in the evening, the KCCI news team has all the information our readers need to stay in tune with updates around the state. This multiple Edward R. Murrow and Cityview Best Of Des Moines winner continues its commitment to excellence by serving Iowans the news and features they need to hear.

Runners-up: WHO Channel 13; WOI Channel 5


Best TV Station for Sports

WHO Channel 13

When it comes to sports coverage, no one does it better than Keith Murphy and the team at WHO. Whether it’s high school or professional, mainstream or obscure, opinion-based or just for fun, they’ve got the inside look that voters agree not only informs but also entertains. Cityview readers have once again made it clear: WHO does sports the way they want sports done.

Runners-up: KCCI Channel 8; ESPN


Best TV Station for Weather

KCCI Channel 8

Whether rain, snow, sleet, hail, sunny, gusty, breezy or clear weather, no one gives it to the Cityview readers better then the KCCI meteorologists. The Super Doppler 8 isn’t just a cool name, but our readers have confidence in the accuracy of its forecast predictions. When choosing between sandals or shoes, sun block or raincoats, Cityview readers check with KCCI first.

Runners-up: WHO Channel 13; WOI Channel 5


Best Local TV Anchor

Kevin Cooney (KCCI Channel 8)

The NBA has Jordan. Sit-coms have Seinfeld. Central Iowa TV news has Kevin. For the 12th consecutive year, Kevin Cooney has been Cityview readers go-to for broadcast journalism. Is it the hair? The sincere look in his eyes? The suits, perhaps?

Runners-up: Erin Kiernan; Dan Winters


Best Looking Male Media Personality

Dan Winters (WHO Channel 13)

With big shoes to fill as John Bachman’s successor co-anchoring the evening news, Dan Winters has been quick to win our readers over. It may be his kind smile or his reassuring eyes, but Dan’s the man with the looks to back up his award-winning talents.

Runners-up: Derek “Stunt Rocker” Mahr; Ryan Kolder


Best Looking Female Media Personality

Erin Kiernan (WHO TV

Channel 13)

Don’t let Erin Kiernan’s classic beauty and charming sense of humor fool you into thinking she’s just a pretty face. This fetching woman can deliver hard news that can enlighten your perspective and have you hanging on her every word. Beauty and brains.

Runners-up: Stacey Horst; Katie Ward


Conservative talk radio host Steve Deace was voted as Des Moines Best Self-Righteous Media Hog. Photo special to Cityview

Conservative talk radio host Steve Deace was voted as Des Moines Best Self-Righteous Media Hog. Photo special to Cityview

Best Self-Righteous Media Hog

Steve Deace

In the minds of Cityview readers, there is no one more deserving of the media hog award than Steve Deace. The conservative talk radio host has more opinions than ideas and is itching to tell you all about them. Regardless of your personal thoughts on the man, our readers agree he does draw an audience.

Runners-up: Ed Wilson; Bob Vander-Platts


Best Local Sports Commentator or Columnist

Keith Murphy (WHO TV Channel 13)

Appropriately enough, our readers have voted that, just as no one gives you sports like WHO-TV, no one is better prepared and experienced to tell you about the local sports scene than Keith Murphy. Whether he’s on TV or on the radio, Murph is the guy readers want to listen to for colorful commentary and informed opinions.

Runners-up: Derek “Stunt Rocker” Mahr; Andy Garman


The Des Moines Register’s Rekah Basu was voted Best Local News Commentator or Columnist. Photo special to Cityview

The Des Moines Register’s Rekah Basu was voted Best Local News Commentator or Columnist. Photo special to Cityview

Best Local News Commentator or Columnist

Rekha Basu (The Des Moines Register)

Love her? Hate her? You don’t have to agree with her opinions to appreciate her conviction. Even Cityview readers love mulling over the thoughts posed by Rekha Basu in her op-eds. Whether she’s covering stories seldom told, the rights of women or national politics, Basu does well to present her points with personality.

Runners-up: Andy Fales; Kyle Munson


Best Meteorologist

Ed Wilson (WHO TV Channel 13)

Metereologists are modern day fortune-tellers. A tough job, no doubt. Not too tough for longtime go-to weather watcher, Ed Wilson. Once again Cityview’s readers cannot get enough of Ed and his weather forecasts. His commitment to central Iowa has been proven time and again, as he does anything he can to accurately inform the people about the weather.

Runners-up: John McLaughlin; Jeriann Ritter


Best Local Talk Radio Show

Murph and Andy (KXNO)

Looks like this year people want to hear more about sports than the morning drive-time radio. Murph and Andy have always been among the Cityview readership’s favorites, and this year they’re on top. Their clever banter on all things sports — nationally and locally — combined with their on-air experience make them our readers’ choice for local talk shows.

Runners-up: Big Ken and Colleen; Jan Michelson


FM 95 KGGO’s Clutch was voted “Best Radio Voice That Turns You On.” Courtesy of Moonwell Photography

FM 95 KGGO’s Clutch was voted “Best Radio Voice That Turns You On.” Courtesy of Moonwell Photography

Best Radio Voice that Turns You On

Clutch (95 KGGO)

Gotta love a guy who can talk rock with a voice that’s as authentic and cool as fresh vinyl. Our readers have made it known that Clutch has the voice they want to hear on the ride home, and they picked this radio personality from 95 KGGO as top dog for the second consecutive year, proving readers opt for a man’s gravel over a woman’s coo.

Runners-up: Jillian Sonksen; Simon Conway


Best Radio Station

KFMG 99.1

Cityview readers have a soft spot for the little guy, and that’s why they can’t get enough of KFMG 99.1. From Public Service Announcements to short- and long-form discussion programs, KFMG seeks to inform, illuminate, educate and inspire the people of Des Moines. And with music from legends like Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles and Stevie Ray Vaughan, is there really a reason to ever change your dial?

Runners-up: WHO; Lazer


Best Radio Personality

Ron Sorenson

In a different time, he might have been known as a hipster. But one thing is for certain, Ron Sorenson puts the “pro” in progressive. Now the general manager of KFMG-LP, Sorenson got his start helping 1960s Des Moinesians find their groove. He maintains the tradition today, further shaping the mold of Des Moines music taste, and he is the favorite among Best Of voters as a local radio personality.

Runners-up: Clutch; Max Schaeffer


Best Library

Franklin Public Library

There is no wrong decision when picking a favorite library, but for the Cityview readers, the Franklin Public Library stands out beyond the rest. Perhaps it’s the recently-upgraded facilities and convenient location. Maybe it’s the friendly and intelligent staff, or the book-signings and touts of local authors. Or just maybe it’s simply the incredible selection of books that can open up a whole new world of imagination.

5000 Franklin Ave.

Runners-up: Des Moines Central Library; Urbandale Public Library


Best Nonprofit

Animal Rescue League

Some might credit the seductive Sarah McLachlan commercials — those puppy dog eyes can penetrate the soul — but our readers have once again selected the Animal Rescue League as their choice non-profit because of its ongoing commitment to animals. The ARL never shuts its door to an orphaned pet or to the hope of finding it a better life.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Children’s Cancer Connection; The Pet Project Midwest


Best Place to Worship

Lutheran Church of Hope

Coming together to worship is an important part of many peoples’ lives. The neighborly folks of Greater Des Moines believe, when it comes to praising the Lord, the Lutheran Church of Hope is the best place to pray. It’s one of the metro’s biggest churches and continues to grow in membership every week.

925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 222-1520,

Runners-up: Plymouth Church; Valley Church


Best Realtor

Seth Walker (ReMax)

The realty game is tricky, but our readers agree Seth Walker is the best person for the job. It doesn’t matter if clients are trying to find a new home or selling an old one, Walker’s 10-plus years of experience proves he can help them achieve their dreams without losing a fortune.


Runners-up: Scott Wendl; Jamie Marrow


Best Automotive Salesperson

Mitch Dunn (Willis Auto Campus)

Buying a car is a big but exciting decision. So why not take the advice of Cityview readers? Talk to Mitch Dunn at Willis Auto Campus. They say he’s the guy to help customers get the wheels they’re looking for at the price they want, sans the stress. Voters know with the first handshake that they’re in good hands. That’s why he’s the recipient of this award two years running. Or driving.

Runners-up: Jeff Nelmark (Stivers); Ken Scarpino (Willis)


Best Tweeter

Jeremy Bingamen (@iowaradioguy)

The importance of Sour Jesus. The timelessness of rocket launchers. Whether race or age has more to do with enjoying a Genesis song. These are just a few of the important topics Jeremy Bingamen ponders with his Twitter followers, which includes more than 2,500 names and counting. It’s no wonder our readers can’t get enough of his observational anecdotes and consider him the best tweeter to follow.

Runners-up: Ron Haugen (@ronhaugen); Chuck Grassley (@chuckgrassley)


Best Facebook Fan Page

Animal Rescue League

There’s no better way to lose hours of your life than clicking your way through adorable pet pictures on the ARL Facebook page. Cityview readers can’t resist those pitiful and precious furry little faces, especially when they’re dressed in cute costumes. But be warned, it is tough to say no to a pooch dressed as a princess or the Easter bunny.

Runners-up: Kees Camp Pole Fitness; Derby Dames


Voted best local website, is good for finding a new four-legged or feathered friend or reading a heartwarming tale of human compassion.

Voted best local website, is good for finding a new four-legged or feathered friend or reading a heartwarming tale of human compassion.

Best Local Website

Animal Rescue League

One peek at the Animal Rescue League website, and a user is sure to become a new pet owner. That’s why Cityview readers voted the ARL website as the best. Good for finding a new four-legged or feathered friend or reading a heartwarming tale of human compassion, the ARL website entertains, inspires and informs.

Runners-up: Des Moines Derby Dames; Mid Iowa Rollers


Best Do-Gooder

Animal Rescue League

What’s faster than a pouncing puppy, more powerful than a fully-clawed feline and able to prolong the lives of countless abandoned pets? It’s the Animal Rescue League, our readers’ favorite local hero. Its powers of finding healthy and happy homes for thousands of creatures continues only by relentless passion and compassion for the animals of central Iowa.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Taylor-Made; Rhonda Harvey


Best Home Party

The Pampered Chef

The Pampered Chef claims to be committed to providing expert cooking tips and creating simple recipes that enhance mealtime experience. Cityview readers believe in that claim, voting The Pampered Chef as best way to strike at the hunger of home party participants.

Runners-up: Scentsy; 31


Best Local College

Drake University

Cityview readers voted Drake University as their favorite local college. The combination of having resources and benefits of a larger university with intimate class sizes that help form relationships with professors and peers has voters smitten. Of course, the illustrious Drake Relays likely wins over a few votes, too. Go Bulldogs!

2507 University Ave., 271-2011,

Runners-up: Des Moines Area Community College; Grandview University


Best Place for Continuing Your Education

Des Moines Area Community College

For our readers who still aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up, or who want to continue their education but can’t decide which profession to enter, they can count on Des Moines Area Community College to keep their brains challenged. From recent high school graduates just getting their footing to those returning to a classroom after many years ready to make a change, our readers say DMACC’s small classes, satellite campuses and talented teaching staff afford the best opportunities without racking up debt.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Drake University; AIB College


Best Local Photographer

Tim Vorland Photography

A good photograph captures the moment while a great photograph captures a memory. When folks in Des Moines need to get a professional perspective, they turn to Tim Vorland Photography to freeze-frame those moments in time. Whether it’s a wedding, family photos or prom, Cityview readers know that, with Tim Vorland Photography, they’re getting exactly what they want — photographs truly worth a thousand words.

Runners-up: (tie) Ben Easter; Sarah Ripperger (Dixie Lane); Brandon Gedler (Gedler Photography)


Best Chiropractor

Braxton Pulley (Pulley Chiropractic Health Center)

Got a bad back that’s keeping you out of work? Cityview readers recommend Braxton Pulley in the East Village. His nearly 10 years of work in chiropractic medicine and his unique style of combining chiropractic with other soft tissue styles has helped create an overall biomechanical approach to patients’ healing. There’s nothing like a good rub down, and Braxton Pulley has been voted as best hands for the job.

300 E. Locust St., Suite 140, 288-8050,

Runners-up: Kirk Wehrspan; Kevin Miller


Best Family Planning Services

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Despite the politics, our readers say Planned Parenthood can be counted on to insure the uninsured, keep sex safe and prevent unwanted pregnancies. PPH has served women and men of all ages in Iowa and neighboring states since the mid-1930s. Today, it’s grown to house 28 medical centers and Education and Resource Centers throughout the Midwest.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Venus Family Planning; Vitae Family Care


Best Doctor

Ed Steinmann

Dr. Ed Steinmann’s patients love him and his family-run clinic which is operated primarily by him and his wife. But Cityview readers aren’t the only people who put their trust in this 64-year-old family practice physician. Based on eight Healthgrades Patient Satisfaction surveys, 94 percent of his patients would recommend him. He’s earned the best doctor title because he’s “genuinely interested in (his) patients,” according to consumer reviews.

1221 Center St., 243-2888

Runners-up: Jeffrey DeFrancisco; Scott Honsey


Best Eye Doctor

Bradley Hammer (Des Moines Eye Surgeons)

Bradley Hammer is a certified ophthalmologist. That means he performs a lot of eye surgeries, such as LASIK and cataract operations. When it comes to sensitive procedures such as a laser to the eyeball, the amount of trust that’s required is on another level. In his 28 years of experience, Dr. Hammer has managed to gain that elusive trust of our Best Of voters who honored him as the best eye doctor in town.

Multiple locations, 225-3546

Runners-up: George B. Clavenna; Joel Westrum


Best Hospital

Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Home of the Blank Children’s Hospital and the John Stoddard Cancer Center, Methodist Medical Center serves thousands of Iowans daily, employs more than 4,000 people and has 370 staffed beds. Whether it’s an emergency visit to the operating room, the birth of a child, physical rehabilitation or life-saving cancer treatments, our readers have put their faith in Methodist for more than 112 years, voting it as the best hospital in Des Moines.

1200 Pleasant St., 263-5612,

Runners-up: Mercy Medical Center; Lutheran Hospital


Best Veterinarian

Starch Pet Hospital

Based on all the Best Of awards the Animal Rescue League received, we know Cityview readers love their animals, and the majority of voters say Starch Pet Hospital is the place to trust for the best pet health care services. Whether a pet needs bathed or groomed, a good teeth brushing or something more serious like therapy, meds or treatments, our readers say Starch is the best.

2222 University Ave., 283-1576

Runners-up: Oaks Vet Clinic; Broderick Animal Clinic  


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