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Feature Story

Best of Des Moines


You’ve seen those black-and-white certificates at businesses around town. They declare the best, the premier, the supreme — according to readers like you.

And now, it’s here: the moment you’ve been waiting for. After a record-setting 16,332 votes in 277 categories, the people have once more declared the best of local restaurants, retail, nightlife, culture, recreation, health, beauty, and everything else we couldn’t categorize.

Tradition continued in many categories, with repeat favorites like The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall as the Best Local Antique Store, Simon’s as the Best-Kept Secret On The Local Restaurant Scene and Jasper Winery as Best Local Winery.

The year 2023 also brought a few surprises. Lachele’s Fine Foods beat B-Bop’s for Best Local Burger. Fareway knocked Hy-Vee from its enduring reign as Best Local Grocery Store. And Mediacom lost its long-held spot to Metronet as Best Local Internet Provider.

No matter how the podium reads, to be recognized at all is a tremendous honor. Of the staggering number of votes this year (yes, we counted each and every one), voters chose the following businesses and people as the best of their kind. Congratulations!

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Editor’s note: The nomination process and voting to choose next year’s Best Of Des Moines winners begins in October 2023. Whether you agree or disagree with this year’s selections, be sure to save the date and cast your votes.


Best New Local Restaurant

Destination Grille

Upscale and contemporary yet comfortably casual, Destination Grille has been offering a rotating global menu since opening in the spring of 2022. Specials called “DG Features” spotlight cuisine from different regions of the world. Their impressive two-story building includes a fine dining restaurant and bar, upstairs bar, outside patio, garden-level patio, lunch takeout area and meeting and party rooms for rent. CITYVIEW’s Food Dude, Jim Duncan, deemed Destination Grille “a trailblazer, part sports bar, part steakhouse and part Vegas resort.” 2491 E. First St., Grimes, 515-355-1153;

Runners-up: Chicken Heat; Big Grove Brewery & Taproom

Best-Kept Secret On The Local Restaurant Scene


Shhh…. The secret’s out. Owner Simon Goheen took over the eatery formerly known as J. Benjamin’s, which opened its doors nearly three decades ago. It’s a small space — one bar, nine booths, a couple three-top tables and a fish aquarium — but don’t write it off just yet. There’s a reason CITYVIEW readers have voted Simon’s the Best-Kept Secret On The Local Restaurant Scene for seven years running. 5800 Franklin Ave., Des Moines, 515-255-3725;

Runners-up: Early Bird; Chicken Heat

Best Local Restaurant… Period


Iconic and cozy, with the best service around, Simon’s has once again been voted Des Moines’ Best Local Restaurant… Period. Come here to wind down after work or escape for a romantic date night. To cap off your meal, enjoy a complimentary slice of Simon’s red velvet cake. 5800 Franklin Ave., Des Moines, 515-255-3725;

Runners-up: Early Bird; Chicken Heat

Best Local Fine Dining

801 Chophouse

After a brief hiatus, 801 Chophouse returns to its spot as the Best Local Fine Dining establishment. And if you’re craving a quality cut of meat, you’re in luck: CITYVIEW readers also voted 801 Chophouse for Best Local Steakhouse. 801 Grand Ave., Suite 200, Des Moines, 515-288-6000;

Runners-up: Gastro Grub & Pub; Simon’s

Best Valley Junction Restaurant

Cooper’s on 5th

Returning for year No. 2 of Best Of Des Moines acclaim, Cooper’s offers first-rate food in an old-school atmosphere. Chow down on a sandwich or burger and sip an award-winning cocktail after a long day of shopping in the Historic Valley Junction. Lunch or dinner, bar or patio, Cooper’s on 5th is the “talk of the town.” 227 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 515-255-9895;

Runners-up: G. Mig’s 5th Street Pub; St. Kilda Collective

Best West Glen Restaurant

Anna Dolce Ristorante

It may be a relative newcomer to the West Glen area, but CITYVIEW readers already love the mouth-watering menu at Anna Dolce Ristorante. The upscale and modern Italian restaurant offers salads, pasta, pizza and classic Italian entrees that they say are “nothing short of deliziosa. We do the classics justice while offering unique menu items you will want to taste for yourself.” 5585 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 110, West Des Moines, 515-223-2302;

Runners-up: The Breakfast Club; El Fogon

Best East Village Restaurant


Be prepared to indulge when you come to Lucca. The upscale East Village eatery serves a four-course prix fixe dinner that changes weekly. Or, arrive earlier for lunch and choose between their Italian and Mediterranean-inspired menu, including made-from-scratch pasta. 420 E. Locust St., Des Moines, 515-243-1115;

Runners-up: Zombie Burger + Drink Lab; Alba

Best Prairie Trail Restaurant

District 36 Wine Bar & Grille

CITYVIEW readers have voted this Ankeny favorite as Best Prairie Trail Restaurant for all four years the category has existed. Peppercorn Steak de Burgo, Almond-Crusted Mahi Mahi, Calamari Steak Etouffée, Pretzel Rarebit Burger, Grilled Pollo Farfalle Pasta — these menu items and more are what have patrons’ tastebuds dancing. 1375 S.W. Vintage Parkway, Ankeny, 515-261-2502;

Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza; Magee’s Irish Pub & Eatery

Best Ingersoll Area Restaurant

Sakari Sushi Lounge

Freshly rolled sushi, grilled Japanese cuisine and a full bar, including sake flights — what’s not to like? Among all the fine eateries along the Ingersoll corridor, CITYVIEW readers have decided that Sakari Sushi Lounge is the best place to frequent. 2605 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-288-3381;

Runners-up: Eatery A; Noah’s Ark Restaurant

Best Beaverdale Area Restaurant


A Des Moines tradition for more than 50 years, Christopher’s is renowned for its delicious Italian-American fare, excellent service and its Thanksgiving meals donated to the public each year. It was 1963 when Joe and Red Giudicessi became owners of the restaurant, now operated by their children, Rene and Ron. 2816 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, 515-274-3694;

Runners-up: The Dam Pub; Motley School Tavern

Best Drake Area Restaurant

Drake Diner

It’s a landmark in the Drake neighborhood and the best place to find homemade comfort food and all-day breakfast. Located just south of Drake University since 1987, the “upscale retro diner” is family owned and operated. Nursing an insatiable sweet tooth? Drake Dinner serves Pumpkin Pancakes, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, Cap’n Crunch French Toast Sticks and homemade cinnamon rolls — just as a start. 1111 25th St., Des Moines, 515-277-1111;

Runners-up: Lucky Horse Beer & Burgers; Dough Co. Pizza

Best Local American Food

Lachele’s Fine Foods

It may be just under a year old, but that didn’t stop Lachele’s Fine Foods from scoring Best Local American Food — plus Best Local Burger — in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. Try their signature smash-burgers and other savory American offerings in their hip diner location along Ingersoll Avenue. 2716 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-330-6876;

Runners-up: Drake Diner; Americana

Best Local Vegetarian/Vegan Food

Lucky Lotus

Few cuisines are more conducive to a vegetarian or vegan diet than Southeast Asian fare. Lucky Lotus offers delicious options with noodles, rice, soups, vegetables and tofu from Laos, Thailand, Indonesia and more. Whether or not you’re vegan/vegetarian by choice, rest easy in the fact that plant-based diets reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 40%, according to some estimates. And if you’re a meat-lover, worry not: Lucky Lotus offers options for all dietary preferences. 2721 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-262-8488

Runners-up: Des.Fresh.Foods; Veggie Thumper

Best Local Gluten-Free Food

Louie’s Wine Dive

Ah, the premier gluten-free treat: wine. But in all seriousness, it’s true: CITYVIEW readers have decided that Louie’s Wine Dive serves the Best Local Gluten-Free Food. Gluten-free items are clearly indicated on the establishment’s menu, with offerings including Champagne Fish & Chips, Parmesan Risotto and Chicken Piccata. Several other menu items can also be modified to be gluten free. 4040 University Ave., Suite A, Des Moines, 515-777-3416;

Runners-up: Thistle’s Summit; Fresko Natural Food

Best Local Italian Food

Tumea & Sons

For a family-friendly atmosphere and the best Italian food around, according to CITYVIEW readers, Tumea & Sons is your go-to-restaurant. Weekend specials change each week. Oh, and there’s a regulation outdoor bocce ball court right outside, just as every Italian restaurant should have. 1501 S.E. First St., Des Moines, 515-282-7976;

Runners-up: The Latin King; Cosi Cucina

Best Local Mexican Food

El Fogon

El Fogon invites patrons to “enjoy a spicy kick of south-of-the-border flavor” at either of its two West Des Moines locations. Authentic Mexican menu offerings included tacos, enchiladas and fajitas — all with fresh ingredients, including tortillas made in-house. ​​¡Vamos a comer! Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Monterrey; Fiesta Mexican Restaurant

Best Local Thai Food

Thai Flavors

“Without a doubt, one of the sublime pleasures of Thailand is the food. The variety of ingredients and the different combinations of flavors make for an unforgettable national cuisine.” That’s what Thai Flavors claims, and CITYVIEW readers seem to agree, since they voted them Best Local Thai Food in the Des Moines metro. What exactly are those flavors, you might ask? There are four of them: hot and spicy (from peppers), sweet (from palm sugar), sour (from tamarind or fresh lime juice) and salty (from fish sauce, oyster sauce or oyster sauce — never salt). If hot just isn’t your thing, don’t be troubled: You can select among different spice levels, all the way down to “no spice,” upon ordering your meal. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Cool Basil; Eat Thai, Thai Eatery

Best Local Chinese Food

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

For the fifth year in a row, CITYVIEW readers have voted Shanghai Chinese Restaurant as the Best Local Chinese Food. Family owned and in business since 2002, they claim to be Waukee’s oldest Chinese (and Vietnamese) restaurant. And yes, they deliver. 33 N.E. Carefree Lane, Waukee, 515-987-3111;

Runners-up: Tsing Tsao; Cool Basil

Best Local Japanese Food

Sakari Sushi Lounge

“Sakari” is defined as: (1) summit; (2) peak; (3) prime; (4) to be at one’s best. It’s a fitting name, as Sakari Sushi Lounge has been deemed the best place to find Japanese food in the greater Des Moines area. And that’s not all: CITYVIEW readers also voted Sakari as the Best Local Sushi, Best Ingersoll Area Restaurant and runner-up Best Local First Date Spot. 2605 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-288-3381;

Runners-up: Wasabi; Akebono 515

Best Local Mediterranean Food

Fresh Mediterranean Express

Simple. Fresh. Healthy. And don’t forget: delicious. That’s Mediterranean food in a nutshell, and for the best in the Des Metro, CITYVIEW readers have chosen Waukee’s Fresh Mediterranean Express. Explore salads, kabobs, pita sandwiches, platters, rice bowls and more. 15 N.E. Carefree Lane, Waukee, 515-987-6870;

Runners-up: Gazali’s Mediterranean Grill; Olympic Flame Restaurant

Best Local Seafood

Waterfront Seafood Market

Waterfront Seafood Market has been voted Best Local Seafood for as long as we can remember. The family-owned business has been around since 1984. Their dock-to-plate process means they frequently fly in fresh quality seafood purchased directly from fishermen and brokers — never processors or wholesalers. Locations in Ankeny and West Des Moines;

Runners-up: Splash Seafood Bar & Grill; Laughing Crab

Best Local Sushi

Sakari Sushi Lounge

For the most scrumptious sushi in central Iowa, look no further than Ingersoll Avenue and Sakari Sushi Lounge — according to readers of CITYVIEW. Serving maki, nigiri, sashimi and all the specialty rolls your stomach could desire. 2605 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-288-3381;

Runners-up: Wasabi; Pho Wheels & Sushi

Best Local Steakhouse

801 Chophouse

There’s nothing quite like a Midwestern steak, and there’s no other establishment quite as excellent as 801 Chophouse, according to CITYVIEW readers who have voted it Best Local Steakhouse year after year (seven, to be exact). Enjoy an award-winning USDA steak while taking in gorgeous views of downtown Des Moines. 801 Grand Ave., Suite 200, Des Moines, 515-288-6000;

Runners-up: Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse; Texas Roadhouse 

Best Local Brunch/Breakfast

Early Bird

“Not your everyday brunch” means that Early Bird offers creative twists on big breakfast classics, like Cinny-Bobs, Churro Waffles, Cereal Killer pancakes, an A.M. Pot Pie and a tempting list of brunch cocktails. On top of Best Local Brunch/Breakfast, CITYVIEW readers also decided Early Bird has the Best Local Hangover Food, Best Local Bloody Mary, is the runner up Best-Kept Secret On The Local Restaurant Scene, runner up Best Local Restaurant… Period, and employs the metro’s Best Local Bartender. Wowza! 9250 University Ave., Suite 107, West Des Moines, 515-528-2212;

Runners-up: The Breakfast Club; Waveland Cafe

Best Local Delicatessen

Hansen’s Manhattan Deli

The Hansen family has been serving Des Moines sandwich staples from the same Ingersoll Avenue location since 1982: four decades last year. At Manhattan Deli, you’ll find hoagies, warm Italian subs, vegetarian options, hot and cold sandwiches, delectable sides and salads, homemade soups and desserts — and an important piece of Iowa history. 3705 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-274-1208;

Runners-up: Palmer’s Deli & Market; B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli

Best Local Burger

Lachele’s Fine Foods

These smashburgers kick ass (their words, not ours!). Lachele’s Fine Foods specializes in mouth-watering monstrosities of meat, cheese, veggies, buns, and just about anything else you could think to put on a burger — and then some. 2716 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-330-6876;

Runners-up: B-Bop’s; Gastro Grub & Pub

Best Local Pizza

Taste of New York Pizza

“Ain’t no party like a pizza party,” and CITYVIEW readers have decided the best source of that pizza is Taste of New York Pizza. Purchase an entire pizza pie or pizza by the slice — or try their calzones, salads, hero sandwiches, pasta dishes and rice balls. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Fong’s Pizza; Gusto Pizza Co.

Best Local Bakery

La Mie Bakery

Fresh-baked breads, sweets and other French pastries are just a few of the reasons CITYVIEW readers have voted La Mie the Best Local Bakery in the Des Moines area time and time again. They also offer pizzas, sandwiches, salads, eggs, soups, quiche and tartines. Come for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a midday snack when you’re feeling peckish — or buy a bunch to save for later. You’ll want it. 841 42nd St., Des Moines, 515-255-1625;

Runners-up: Hiland Bakery; Iowa Cookie Co.

Best Local Cupcake Shop

Molly’s Cupcakes

You can have your cake and eat it, too, in Molly’s Cupcakes’ adorable East Village location, specializing in gourmet cupcakes and other sweet treats. They offer cake and cupcake decorating classes for those sweet-lovers who’d like to tap into their creative side. 215 E. Third St., Des Moines, 515-244-0778;

Runners-up: Scratch Cupcakery; Crème Cupcake + Dessert

Best Local BBQ

Smokey D’s BBQ

Back for year No. 5 as Best Local BBQ is Smokey D’s BBQ: the winner of nearly 100 state BBQ championships and more than 1,000 local, regional and national awards, according to its website. They operate a downtown Des Moines skywalk location, but their main store is at 5055 N.W. Second Ave., Des Moines, 515-243-2747;

Runners-up: Jethro’s; Kue’d Smokehouse

Best Local French Fries


Hot potato pieces in crinkle, waffle, steak, wedge or curly form — or in this case, the classic French fry shape done very, very well. Zero trans fat, zero cholesterol and zero shortening. For yet another year, CITYVIEW readers have declared the best fries found in Des Moines are at B-Bop’s. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: What The Fries DSM; Chicken Heat

Best Local Chicken Wings


Bone-in or boneless? Buffalo or chipotle sauce? It’s your choice — and CITYVIEW readers’ choice for the Best Local Chicken Wings countless years running. Jethro’s bone-in wings are soaked in buttermilk, hardwood smoked and fried to a crispy, tender perfection. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Gerri’s; Chicken Heat

Best Local Nachos

University Library Café

CITYVIEW readers and college students alike have ensured that University Library Café has been awarded Best Local Nachos once again. If you find yourself in the Dogtown area, jump on the chance to order those famed Library Nachos: fresh flour tortillas topped with pinto beans, shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey cheese sauce, salsa, mild banana pepper rings, pico de gallo, sour cream and your choice of cheeseburger, chicken, roast beef, bacon or corned beef. Drooling, yet? 3506 University Ave., Des Moines, 515-255-0433;

Runners-up: Skip’s; The Dam Pub

Best Local Tacos

Tasty Tacos

We first introduced this category in 2015, and Tasty Tacos has won each year. There’s no way around it: The people can’t get enough of the local chain that has been family-owned and operated for half a century. Their flour tacos are a must-try: seasoned meat, lettuce and cheese stuffed into a homemade fluffy flour shell. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Tacos La Familia; MALO

Best Local Tenderloin

Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop

Here’s another restaurant that has owned its category since its inception. CITYVIEW readers have decided the best tenderloins are found at Smitty’s since 2015, but the shop has been serving Des Moines customers since 1952. Tenderloins and onion rings are made fresh and from scratch each morning. 1401 Army Post Road, Des Moines, 515-287-4742.

Runners-up: Jethro’s; Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe

Best Local Bar Food

Francie’s Bar & Grill

A southside staple and a local favorite right next to the airport, Francie’s serves a classic bar food menu that patrons can enjoy on its popular covered patio. Try the New York Steak & Peppers sandwich: lean strips of NY Steak, sweet fried peppers and melted provolone on an Italian roll. 2100 Wakonda View Drive, Des Moines, 515-285-5207;

Runners-up: Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop; University Library Café

Best Local Coffee/Coffeehouse

Smokey Row Coffee Co.

This ubiquitous coffee shop doesn’t show any plans of slowing down soon. Its original Des Moines store is located in the Sherman Hill neighborhood, but it also has several newer stores — with the same cozy vibes — in Ankeny, Urbandale, Grimes, West Des Moines, Waukee and beyond. Whether you need a study spot, a first date location or a quick caffeine fix, there’s sure to be a Smokey Row nearby. Multiple locations; 

Runners-up: Coffalo Coffee; Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure

Best Local Wine Selection at a Restaurant

Louie’s Wine Dive

It’s in the name. Louie’s Wine Dive offers the Best Local Wine Selection at a Restaurant, as per CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. Red, white, rosé or sparkling? Louie’s Wine Dive has an extensive wine list of all types and price points. Plus, you can enjoy your meal and drinks while hearing live music from local musicians. 4040 University Ave., Suite A, Des Moines, 515-777-3416;

Runners-up: Mulberry Street Tavern; Urban Cellar

Best Local Place to Chow After 2 a.m.

Fong’s Pizza

Fong’s is known for its pizza, of course, but also for its creative handmade appetizers, sandwiches, salads and gluten-friendly, vegetarian and vegan selections. They’re open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 2 a.m. on Thursdays, just late enough for you to order their famous Crab Rangoon Pizza to satisfy that middle-of-the-night hankering. Locations in Des Moines and Ankeny;

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

Best Local Hangover Food

Early Bird

Carbs, eggs and coffee are purportedly some of the best hangover remedies, so it’s a good thing they’re in no short supply at Early Bird. The majority of CITYVIEW readers would assure you: heading to Early Bird is one booze-fueled decision you won’t regret. 9250 University Ave., Suite 107, West Des Moines, 515-528-2212;

Runners-up: Mullets; B-Bop’s

Best Local First Date Spot

Black Cat Ice Cream

It’s awkward, it’s stressful, it’s nerve-wracking — but, if you go to Black Cat Ice Cream, at least it’ll be sweet. First dates are best when they’re at Black Cat, according to our loyal readers. 2511 Cottage Grove Ave., Des Moines, 515-689-7466;

Runners-up: Sakari Sushi Lounge; Louie’s Wine Dive

Best Local Restaurant Patio

Eatery A 

Is it the building’s history as a Blockbuster video store, as Barack Obama’s caucus headquarters in 2008, or simply the charming outdoor atmosphere? Whichever the reason, Eatery A is making its seventh CITYVIEW appearance as Best Local Restaurant Patio. Offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, Eatery A was also voted to have the Best Local Happy Hour — which makes the perfect combination, if you ask us. 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-8085;

Runners-up: Big Grove Brewery & Taproom; Destination Grille

Best Local Place to Get a Doughnut

Hurts Donut Company

CITYVIEW readers have favored Hurts Donut Company in this category since they opened in December 2016, and since they’re open “25 hours a day, 8 days a week,” there’s really no reason for you to skip out on Hurts. Ring donuts, long Johns, donut holes, cake donuts, Bismarks — they’re all available, and they all come in delightfully preposterous flavors. 5513 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 105, West Des Moines, 515-267-1671;

Runners-up: Donut Hut; ChuChu Donuts

Best Local Caterer

Cyd’s Catering

“Whenever people gather around the table, the food should be joyful, nourishing, and eventful,” says Chef Cyd Koehn. Fresh and locally sourced high-end food has wowed Cyd’s customers since she established her business in 1994 and has earned her title of Best Local Caterer by CITYVIEW readers for three years in a row. 515-208-2091;

Runners-up: Taste! To Go; Great Caterers of Iowa

Best Local Restaurant Supply Company

Bolton & Hay, Inc.

Bolton & Hay, Inc. is the Best Local Restaurant Supply Company, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. Established in 1920, the family-operated business provides quality equipment and products at discounted prices for many of your favorite local restaurants. 4333 Park Ave., Des Moines, 515-265-2554;

Runners-up: Hockenbergs; Iowa-Des Moines Supply

Best Local Vietnamese Food

A Dong

A Dong returns to its spot as the top Vietnamese food in the Des Moines metro. Located a stone’s throw away from Pappajohn Sculpture Park, A Dong has been serving fresh Vietnamese and other Asian cuisine since 1989. Our favorite dish? Pho: a traditional rice noodle soup with beef or chicken, fresh basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapenos and a lime wedge. 1511 High St., Des Moines, 515-284-5632;

Runners-up: Vietnam Cafe; Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

Best Local Food Truck

Pho Wheels & Sushi

One of the newer food trucks in the metro offers pho, sushi and apps on wheels. They’ll be set up and back to serving the public once the weather is warmer (around April, according to their Facebook page), but they’re still open for in-season event bookings. 515-208-7310; Facebook @ Pho Wheels & Sushi.

Runners-up: Charlotte’s Kitchen; Waffles and Whip

Best Local Chocolate/Candy Store

Chocolaterie Stam

Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory have nothing on Chocolaterie Stam. Stroopwafels, chocolate towers, boxed chocolate, Ruby chocolate, and the list goes on… Fine European chocolates and treats abound at this local chain with more than 200 years of sweet, sweet history. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Chocolate Storybook; Beaverdale Confections

Best Local Korean Food

Jenny Lee’s Korean + American Kitchen

Korean classics and street food with an American twist. Try the Bibimbap Bowl, Korean Fried Chicken or Tteokbokki Rice Cakes. When the weather’s pleasant (sounds impossible, we know), customers can reserve a Korean BBQ experience on the patio, plus enjoy wine slushies and soju cocktails. 3701 EP True Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-223-6770;

Runners-up: Sook’s Korean Kitchen; Mandarin Grill & Sushi Bar

Best Local Ice Cream or Gelato Shop

Black Cat Ice Cream

After three years of this category’s existence, Black Cat Ice Cream has ousted The Outside Scoop from its reign as Best Local Ice Cream or Gelato Shop. Congratulations to owners Alex and Angela Carter for winning the hearts and stomachs of CITYVIEW voters. Fun fact: Two years ago, Alex made an appearance on the popular Food Network reality show, “Chopped Sweets” (season 3, episode 2). 2511 Cottage Grove Ave., Des Moines, 515-689-7466;

Runners-up: Home Sweet Cone Ice Cream; The Outside Scoop


Best Local Store (Overall)

Bike World

“It was 1979 when a 21-year-old Forrest Ridgway started Bike World in the basement of Doug’s Toy World in Des Moines. Since then, cycling in Iowa has definitely grown and evolved — and Bike World, still owned by Forrest, has grown and evolved along with it.” Its four stores total nearly 50,000 square feet of bicycle products and services. Locations in West Des Moines, Urbandale, Clive and Ames;

Runners-up: Suzy’s Kitchen and Gifts; Many Hands Thrift Market

Best Local Men’s Clothing Store

Mr. B

Voted Best Local Men’s Clothing Store consecutively since 2016, Mr. B offers exceptional service and designer clothing including suiting, business casual, shoes and denim. However you’d describe your lifestyle, Mr. B offers a unique and elevated shopping experience. 1995 N.W. 86th St. Clive, 515-276-8589;

Runners-up: Backroom Clothing; Hensley’s Big and Tall Outfitters

Best Local Women’s Clothing Store


For its sustainable, ethical and vegan boutique offerings, CITYVIEW voters have elected MARNē as the best of its kind. “MARNe is a place that supports brands that give a damn,” writes owner Angela Poldberg. “We choose wisely so you have a space to shop and connect without worrying about where your goods came from.” 350 E. Locust St., Suite 101, Des Moines;

Runners-up: Empress Threads; Hinge

Best Local Thrift Shop

Many Hands Thrift Market

It’s like recycling, but even better! Whether you are hunting for a steal of a deal or donating your belongings to a greater cause, CITYVIEW readers agree: Many Hands Thrift Market is the Best Local Thrift Shop in the Des Moines area. Proceeds from the store support its nonprofit ministry, Many Hands for Haiti. Metro locations in Grimes, Clive and Des Moines;

Runners-up: DAV Thrift Store; St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Best Ankeny Store

Real Deals Ankeny

Head north of the metro for “trendy home decor and boutique pieces at irresistible prices” at Real Deals. The Foss family opened the shop in 2018 with the goal of bringing quality items to homes and closets — without breaking the bank. 315 S.W. Maple St., Ankeny, 515-410-2106;

Runners-up: Coachlight Clinic & Spa; Wrapped

Best Local Frame Shop

Tandem Brick Gallery

Tandem Brick Gallery has consistently been CITYVIEW voters’ favorite frame shop, and they’ve been doing what they do since 1977. This year, they were also voted Best Ingersoll Area Store and runner-up Best Local Gift Shop. 2722 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-1031;

Runners-up: The Great Frame Up; Terri’s Frame Shop & Art

Best Local Bridal Shop


Here comes the bride… to Schaffer’s, the favorite local bridal shop for central Iowa voters. Countless customers have found their “Say Yes to the Dress” moment after trying top styles designed by Allure Bridals, Blue by Enzoani, Blush by Hayley Paige, Calla Blanche, Eddy K, Enzoani, Maggie Sottero, Rebecca Ingram, Sottero & Midgley, Theia, W Too, Watters, Willowby by Watters and others. 5445 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-288-0356;

Runners-up: Something Blue; Bridal Boutique

Best Local Tuxedo Shop

Skeffington’s Formal Wear

For weddings, prom and other special occasions, Skeffington is the one-stop shop for formalwear rental needs. That’s just one of the reasons CITYVIEW readers voted Skeffington’s as the city’s Best Local Tuxedo Shop — for the sixth straight year. Metro locations in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny;

Runners-up: Backroom Clothing; Weddings By Design – The Tux Shop

Best Local Children’s Store

Janes – Family Shop

Mother-daughter duo Sarah and Jennifer (both their middle names are Jane) operate Des Moines’ favorite local children’s store in the East Village of Des Moines. Their curated collection of goods and goodies will delight both you and your little ones. 350 E. Locust St., Suite 102, Des Moines;

Runners-up: Once Upon a Child; The Learning Post

Best New Local Store

VZZ Vintage

Revamp your wardrobe with unique vintage finds while supporting a new, Filipina-owned business. Vanezza went full-time with VZZ in 2021 (formerly Midwest Thrifter since 2013), opening her storefront in 2022. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to pet VZZ’s shop dog, Baby J, a 12-year-old Jack Russell terrier. 340 S.W. Fifth St., Suite 123, Des Moines, 641-373-1729;

Runners-up: Copy + Paste DSM; Wrapped

Best Local Music Store

Rieman Music

Five years as the Best Local Music Store and still going strong, Rieman Music is owned by musicians, for musicians. Aside from selling musical instruments, they offer lessons, a student band instrument rent-to-own program, repairs and in-house service. This year, they celebrate 70 years in business. Congratulations! Metro locations in Des Moines, Urbandale and Ames;

Runners-up: Marv’s Record Shop; Vinyl Cup Records

Best Local New or Used Book Store

Beaverdale Books

All genres for all readers can be found at Beaverdale Books. They support and represent more than 500 local authors in a special section dedicated to Iowans, host author events, book clubs and writers groups, and partner with schools and other local businesses. 2629 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, 515-279-5400;

Runners-up: Half Price Books; Storyhouse Bookpub

Best Local Car Dealership (Domestic)

Stivers Ford Lincoln

Looking for that perfect vehicle developed right here in the United States? Then CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines voters would recommend you head to Stivers Ford Lincoln. In their words, their inventory contains “some of the sweetest rides you’ve ever seen.” 1450 E. Highway 6, Waukee, 1-800-747-2744;

Runners-up: Willis Automotive; Karl Chevrolet

Best Local Car Dealership (Foreign)

Willis Automotive

As it has every year, Willis Automotive has once again dominated the leaderboard for the best dealership for foreign auto imports. Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Land Rover, Nissan, Volvo — these are just a few of the makes found within their extensive inventory. They have domestic cars, too. 2121 100th St., Clive, 855-638-1176;

Runners-up: Toyota of Des Moines; Ramsey Subaru of Des Moines

Best Local Motorcycle Shop

Mean Machine Cycle Parts

Whether you’re looking for a full custom build or want a large selection of high-end custom accessories, CITYVIEW voters have agreed you should try Mean Machine Cycle Parts in Elkhart. Owner Robb Boggs has more than 20 years of professional experience in the design engineering industry and more than 10 years in the custom motorcycle industry. 267 N.W. Main St., Elkhart, 515-367-7336;

Runners-up: Big Barn Harley-Davidson; Struthers Brothers

Best Local Bicycle Shop

Bike World

For the best place to purchase bikes, bike accessories and bike services, cycling fanatics have elected Bike World yet again. They also have one of the Best Local Bathroom Facilities in the metro, which is always a plus. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Kyle’s Bikes; Ichi Bike

Best Local Liquor Store

Ingersoll Wine & Spirits

For its winning selection of wine, champagne and a variety of spirits, Ingersoll Wine & Spirits takes home another “W” for the Best Local Liquor Store in central Iowa. 3500 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-255-3191;

Runners-up: Central City Liquors; Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits

Best Local Wine Store


WineStyles Tasting Station empowers customers to choose wines based on taste, instead of varietal or region. Enjoy a unique retail experience through weekly tastings and special events and browse dozens of craft beers, wines, gifts, fine chocolates, artisanal cheese and other gourmet items. Locations in West Des Moines, Johnston and Ankeny;

Runners-up: Wall to Wall Wine and Spirits; Ingersoll Wine & Spirits

Best Local Grocery Store


After many years as runner-up, Fareway has knocked Hy-Vee off its pedestal as Iowa’s Best Local Grocery Store, according to Best Of poll voters. Family owned and especially known for its excellent meat market, Fareway now operates more than 130 locations in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Hy-Vee; Aldi

Best Local Jewelry Store

Josephs Jewelers

Family owned since 1871 when Solomon Joseph opened his first store in downtown Des Moines, there’s a reason CITYVIEW readers have voted Josephs Jewelers as the Best Local Jewelry Store time and again. Their staff of certified gemologists, horologists and trained jewelry designers will guide you through the process of finding the perfect ring, necklace, watch or gift. 5425 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-440-2991;

Runners-up: Prysm Body Piercing & Jewelry Gallery; Christopher’s Fine Jewelry

Best Local Antique Store

The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall

If you’re looking for the ultimate antique shopping experience, CITYVIEW voters suggest the Brass Armadillo each year. More than 450 dealers under one roof means incredible finds for customers looking for furniture, quilts, art, china, clothing, toys and more. Although the antique store first started in Iowa, they’ve grown to operate five additional locations across the United States. 701 N.E. 50th Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-0082;

Runners-up: Memory Lane Antiques; The Picker Knows Antiques & Collectibles

Best Local Art Gallery

Kunzler Studios

Kunzler Studios is a family effort that is more than a studio, gallery, retail store or education center. They call themselves a “lifestyle location” built after the motto: “Create, Innovate, Educate, Celebrate!” Congratulations to Diane, Kelly, Kendall and Mike for winning the votes of CITYVIEW readers for the fourth consecutive year. 324 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 515-279-0322;

Runners-up: Liz Lidgett Gallery + Design; Moberg Gallery

Best Local Hardware Store

O’Donnell Ace Hardware

“Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks.” (Did you sing along?) In Des Moines, Ace is also the best place to frequent for any and all hardware needs. While there are more than a dozen Ace Hardware locations in central Iowa, CITYVIEW voters have decided that Gary and Sheila O’Donnell’s operations are their favorite. Locations in Des Moines on Hickman Road, University Avenue and Beaver Avenue;

Runners-up: True Value – West Des Moines; Waukee Hardware & Rent-it Center

Best Shopping District

Historic Valley Junction

The Best Shopping District in central Iowa is “the heart and soul of West Des Moines — a delightful mix of old and new, bridging generations with unique shops, vibrant events and a walkable hometown feel.” Get lost in an adorable boutique, stock up for your next costume party, enjoy a tasty meal, take in a local theater performance, and embark on other unique adventures within Valley Junction. Along and around Fifth Street in West Des Moines, 515-222-3642;

Runners-up: Historic East Village; Jordan Creek

Best Local Flower Shop

Boesen the Florist

Bouquets, wedding florals, wreaths, “just because” flowers, table settings and other floral arrangements are the name of the game here. Des Moines’ favorite florist opened in 1923 and is currently operated by the third generation of the family, Tom Boesen. Congratulations to Tom on securing CITYVIEW readers’ votes once again — and for celebrating 100 years in business this year. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Wildflower; Carmen’s Flowers Uptown

Best Local Gift Shop


“I love pushing the envelope by selling sassy and snarky merchandise that you can’t find anywhere else. Instead of being afraid of what people might think or how they will react, I always go for it. The store is a genuine representation of me.” That’s what owner Val Veiock told us when she was recognized as one of our Business People Who Have Made A Difference in 2022. Central Iowa readers must be fans of sassy and snarky, since they’ve voted Bing’s as the Best Local Gift Shop for five years running. 213 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 515-279-3141;

Runners-up: Tandem Brick Gallery; Suzy’s Kitchen & Gifts

Best Local Place to Purchase a Musical Instrument

Rieman Music

Whether you need an instrument with frets, keys, strings, sticks, mallets — or any of the accessories that go along with them — Rieman Music is once again the clear readers’ choice for Best Local Place to Purchase a Musical Instrument. Metro locations in Des Moines, Urbandale and Ames;

Runners-up: Uptempo Music; Professional Music Center

Best Local Computer Repair Shop

Little Dog Tech

Little Dog Tech provides IT services for both businesses and the average consumer, including virus removal, network management and security, cloud backup and disaster recovery, and so much more. Founder Paul Schwegler has spent the last 15 years making IT easy for Des Moines residents and companies. 5946 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines, 515-422-1995;

Runners-up: Dymin Systems; Mobile Spot

Best Local Phone Repair Shop

Mobile Spot

The Mobile Spot has been repairing and selling devices since the original iPhone was released. They’re CITYVIEW readers’ top choice when it comes to replacing a phone screen or battery, resolving software issues or digging into the motherboard through in-house microsoldering. With more than 1,000 parts stocked, many repairs can be completed in the same day. 8421 University Blvd., Clive, 515-223-7719;

Runners-up: CPR – Cell Phone Repair; iTech Gurus

Best Local Place to Get a Costume

Theatrical Shop

It might just be one of the most colorful stores you walk into this year. One of the largest year-round costume shops in the Midwest, the Theatrical Shop in West Des Moines’ Historic Valley Junction is once again the Best Local Place to Get a Costume, according to readers like you. On top of costumes, they sell accessories, dancewear, makeup, rhinestones, fabrics and novelties. 145 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 515-274-3661;

Runners-up: Spirit Halloween; Atomic Garage

Best Local Pawn Shop

Solar Loan & Sales

Need some quick extra cash? Solar Loan & Sales will purchase your gold, jewelry, electronics and other valuables — or use them as collateral in a loan. CITYVIEW readers’ choice for Best Local Pawn Shop is the oldest of its kind in Des Moines, first opening its doors in 1962. 3311 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 888-244-7084;

Runners-up: The Pawn Store; A Quality Pawn And Jewelry

Best Local Convenience Store

Kwik Star

Is it a gas station or a grocery store? At Kwik Star, customers don’t have to choose. They have fried chicken, bananas, steak, bagged milk — even shopping carts. How convenient is that? Fun fact: Kwik Star is the same as Kwik Trip, which is not the same as QuikTrip. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Casey’s General Stores; Kum & Go

Best Local Place to Buy Cigars/Tobacco

David’s Fine Tobaccos

Purchase cigars, pipes, hookahs, specialty cigarettes and more at David’s Fine Tobaccos (operating since 1956), then enjoy a smoke in their cigar lounge featuring state-of-the-art ventilation, lockers for rent in their walk-in cigar humidor, HDTV and free Wi-Fi. 9759 University Ave., Clive, 515-278-8701;

Runners-up: Iowa Cigar Company; Leaf Brothers Cigars

Best Local E-Cigarette Shop

Central Iowa Vapors

It’s more than just a vape shop. Central Iowa Vapors offers a tested and curated collection of high-quality brands, with a “family-like” atmosphere in their stores where all are welcome — those 21 and older, that is. Smoke responsibly. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Almost Paradise Tobacco & Vapor; Route 69 Vapor

Best Local Mall

Jordan Creek Town Center

The state’s largest shopping complex boasts more than 1.3 million square feet, a 20-screen movie theatre, a lakefront boardwalk and dozens of restaurants and retailers including American Eagle, Express, Apple, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Sephora, Scheels, Barnes & Noble, Williams-Sonoma and a brand-new Von Maur. 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-440-6255;

Runners-up: Merle Hay Mall; Outlets of Des Moines

Best Valley Junction Store


Central Iowa’s Best Local Gift Shop is also the best store in Valley Junction, which CITYVIEW readers voted as the Best Shopping District. It’s undeniably, unequivocally, undoubtedly… the best. 213 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 515-279-3141;

Runners-up: Hinge; MoMere

Best West Glen Store

Josephs Jewelers

When it comes to both everyday jewelry and pieces for the most special of occasions, Josephs Jewelers provides the best products and services, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s 2023 Best Of Des Moines poll. 5425 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-440-2991;

Runners-up: WineStyles; Worn

Best East Village Store


Raygun is a downtown Des Moines favorite that offers clothing, art, office supplies, and home and kitchen items — plastered with all the off-kilter quips and inside jokes a Midwesterner could dream of. 505 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-288-1323;

Runners-up: AllSpice Culinarium; Porch Light

Best Beaverdale Area Store

Beaverdale Books

Also voted by our readers as Best Local New or Used Book Store, the Beaverdale Books staff’s deep love for literature will have you scrambling for those shelves. 2629 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, 515-279-5400;

Runners-up: Back Country; Beaverdale Confections

Best Drake Area Store

Groovy Goods Daydreams

Des Moines’ one-stop shop for hippie and metaphysical merchandise, offering hippie and bohemian clothing, tapestries, jewelry and art, a large incense selection, aura photos, tarot readings and all things tobacco. 2300 University Ave., Des Moines, 515-274-2799;

Runners-up: Ancient Ways; Zumi

Best Ingersoll Area Store

Tandem Brick Gallery

Lo, and behold! Aside from offering premier custom framing, Tandem Brick Gallery sells candles, cards, pillows, games, jewelry, toys, children’s clothing and gifts for all personalities. They’ve won the votes of CITYVIEW readers in this category since 2015. 2722 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-1031;

Runners-up: Renovation Jungle; Enchanted Mystical Boutique

Best Local Furniture Store


Homemakers has been helping central Iowans outfit their living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, home offices and outdoor living spaces since the 1970s. And, their customer-favorite treat shop now serves in-store alcohol, so you can sip while you shop. 10215 Douglas Ave., Urbandale, 515-276-2772;

Runners-up: Amish Haus Furniture; Redekers Furniture

Best Local Home Decor Store

accents + interiors

Beautiful living starts at accents + interiors, where you can find objects for the home — and fashion and gifts for the people in them. The store’s owner, Shelley Pigneri, says she “believes living a beautiful life begins with living with what you love… that your home should be a reflection of who you are and a collection of what makes you happy… that what you wear should make you feel great… that giving the perfect gift should make you feel as good as the person you give it to.” 2701 86th St., 515-276-7201;

Runners-up: Homemakers; Real Deals

Best Jordan Creek Area Store

Coachlight Clinic & Spa

Find both clinical treatments and spa treatments at Coachlight Spa, CITYVIEW readers’ choice for Best Jordan Creek Area Store — also voted Best Local Place To See Beautiful People and runner-up Best Place for Laser Hair Removal. 6420 Coachlight Drive, Suite 200, West Des Moines, 515-221-9999;

Runners-up: Scheels; Costco

Best Local Appliance Store

Warners’ Stellian

Clients can choose from top-rated refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, kitchen packages and other appliances from more than 60 major brands at Warners’ Stellian, a family-owned business since 1954. They offer the largest selection of Energy Star-rated appliances in the Midwest. Locations in West Des Moines and Ankeny;

Runners-up: Metro Appliance; Royal Flooring

Best Local Shoe Store

Brown’s Shoe Fit Co.

Brown’s has been fitting feet for more than a century, with locally owned stores offering footwear styles tailored to its community. Customers can make an in-store visit or online purchase, with free shipping and hassle-free returns. Locations in Ankeny and West Des Moines.

Runners-up: Fit To Be Tied; Fleet Feet 

Best Local Pool and Spa Store

Central Iowa Pool & Spa

If you find yourself wanting a new pool or hot tub, Central Iowa Pool & Spa will help you with the purchase, construction, installation and regular service and maintenance. They’ll also outfit your outdoor living space or game room with furniture, grills, billiard tables and more. 5360 N.E. 14th St., Des Moines, 515-263-6900;

Runners-up: Valley Pool & Hot Tubs; Hot Springs Spas

Best Local Greenhouse

Goode Greenhouses

Nursing a black thumb? Goode Greenhouses is here to help. The Goode family has been growing their business together — at the same location — since 1905, cultivating their own poinsettias, Easter lilies, bedding plants and fall mums, while also shipping in Florida-grown foliage plants. They pride themselves on providing the best-quality plants, products and personal service. 1050 N.E. 50th Ave., Des Moines, 515-262-6504;

Runners-up: Canoyer Garden Center; Piney Ridge Greenhouse

Best Local Skate Shop

Subsect Skateshop

Skater-owned and skater-run, Subsect Skateshop claims to be Des Moines’ only all-skateboard shop. It’s also the best of its kind in central Iowa, according to readers of CITYVIEW in 2023’s Best Of Des Moines poll. 309 E. Walnut St., Des Moines, 515-276-4365;

Runners-up: Slap Shot Hockey Shop; Unkl Ruckus’s Smoking Emporium & Skate Shop


Best Whiskey

Prairie Fire – Iowa Distilling Company

For the fifth year in a row, CITYVIEW readers voted this hot cinnamon-flavored whiskey by Iowa Distilling Company as the best in central Iowa. You’ll get a taste of Iowa heritage in each of the local distillery’s hand-crafted spirits made from the finest natural ingredients. 4349 Cumming Ave., Cumming, 515-981-4216;

Runners-up: Foundry Distilling Company; Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery

Best Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka

“Vodka” may originate from the Russian word for “water,” but that doesn’t mean you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Please drink vodka responsibly — but when you do, CITYVIEW readers recommend Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Runners-up: Swell Zone Vodka – Iowa Distilling Company; IngeniOZ Vodka – Dehner Distillery

Best Rum

Steel Drum Rum – Iowa Distilling Company

Made from pure Caribbean molasses sourced from the best Caribbean sugar cane, distilled at Iowa Distilling Company and aged in unused American white oak barrels for one year. Cheers! 4349 Cumming Ave., Cumming, 515-981-4216;

Runners-up: Rumcoqui; Captain Morgan

Best Local Craft Beer

Exile Brewing Company

“Beer fulfills our purpose,” says Exile Brewing’s website. “It cultivates our community of free-spirits, oddballs and outsiders. It ties us together and builds our festivities.” For local brews that make Des Moines residents proud, CITYVIEW readers have decided Exile Brewing Company has the Best Local Craft Beer. 1514 Walnut St., Des Moines, 515-883-2337;

Runners-up: Confluence Brewing Company; Lua Brewing

Best New Local Bar

Big Grove Brewery & Taproom

Open since last July, Big Grove Brewery has made quite an impression on Des Moines. They serve a “true taste of Iowa Nice and some of the best craft beer in the Midwest,” plus a full food menu. Spend some time inside or on the expansive patio, open year-round. 555 17th St., Des Moines, 515-777-2337;

Runners-up: Alleged Lee’s; Paws & Pints

Best Local Patio Bar

300 Craft & Rooftop

Spectacular skyline views. One-of-a-kind cocktails and craft beer. Dancing. Custom art. For six years (and counting), 300 Craft & Rooftop has been voted the Best Local Patio Bar in Des Moines by CITYVIEW readers. It’s easy to see why. Congratulations! 300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Des Moines, 515-288-3414;

Runners-up: Big Grove Brewery & Taproom; Mannings

Best Local Irish Pub

Sully’s Irish Pub

The oldest Irish bar in the metro is also the best, according to those who voted in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. With a bike- and dog-friendly patio, $3 Fireballs and $3 Guinness pints all day every day, you’ll be feeling the luck of the Irish in no time. 860 First St., West Des Moines, 515-255-9970;

Runners-up: Magee’s Irish Pub & Eatery; Cooney’s Tavern

Best Local Dive Bar

Carl’s Place

Nestled in the Sherman Hill neighborhood is the Best Local Dive Bar in Des Moines: Carl’s Place. Don’t let its unmarked and unassuming exterior fool you — Carl’s is a staple for downtown nightlife, regular customers and Hoyt Sherman Place concertgoers. 1620 Woodland Ave., Des Moines, 515-243-9727;

Runners-up: Toads Tavern; Mannings

Best Local Fancy-Pants Bar

Hello, Marjorie

For a full-on fancy experience and some “damn fine times,” head to Hello, Marjorie, CITYVIEW readers’ choice for Best Local Fancy-Pants Bar once more. Serving elevated cocktails like Weekend Layover, Apples to Oranges and Praline on a Dream… Yes, please! 717 Locust St., Des Moines, 515-369-2296;

Runners-up: The Winchester Public House; Good News, Darling

Best Local Hipster Spot

The Bartender’s Handshake

House cocktails, classics, wine, beer and spirit-free drink options are all reasons The Bartender’s Handshake is once again the Best Local Hipster Spot in Des Moines. Did we mention they’ve got some downright delicious snacks to munch on? 3615 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-630-3008;

Runners-up: The Winchester Public House; Up-Down Des Moines

Best Local Sports Bar

The Station on Ingersoll

The Station’s front bar is “chock-full of TVs,” where you can find all the DirecTV sports packages your heart desires: NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, MLS Direct Kick and Fox Sports Soccer Plus. The back bar, Dugan’s Hideaway, offers high-quality pub fare and a more chill area to relax. Gooooo, sports! 3124 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-381-0052;

Runners-up: Cheap Seats Sports Bar; Johnny’s Hall of Fame

Best Local Bar (Overall)


The winner for this category has remained relatively consistent — until now, with Mannings deemed Best Local Bar (Overall) in the city by CITYVIEW readers. Mannings is also runner-up for Best Local Patio Bar, Best Local Dive Bar, Best Local Dog-Friendly Bar, Best South Bar and Best Local Bartender. 2102 Indianola Ave., Des Moines, 515-259-9883

Runners-up: Iowa Distilling Company; The Winchester Public House

Best Ankeny Bar

Whiskey River

Whether you’re searching for an after-work libation (happy hour is 3-6 p.m. on weekdays), a late-night good time on the rooftop patio, or a hearty meal from a full menu of good food — Whiskey River is the best place in Ankeny, according to Best Of Des Moines voters for 2023. 1350 S.W. Vintage Parkway, Ankeny, 515-802-7250;

Runners-up: The Yankee Clipper; Good Times

Best Drake Area Bar

University Library Café

This not-so-hidden gem in the Drake neighborhood serves craft beer and creative takes on traditional bar fare — including some pretty legendary nachos that CITYVIEW readers have appointed the Best Local Nachos in the city. 3506 University Ave., Des Moines, 515-255-0433;

Runners-up: Lucky Horse Beer & Burgers; Peggy’s Tavern

Best Beaverdale Area Bar

The Dam Pub

Enjoy great food and cocktails in an eclectic 80s- and 90s-themed pub with a fabulous rooftop patio. The Dam Pub is Beaverdale’s top place to eat, drink and play — “but not necessarily in that order.” 2710 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, 515-279-4449;

Runners-up: Beaver Tap; Cooney’s Tavern

Best Downtown Bar

300 Craft & Rooftop

300 Craft & Rooftop is once more the Best Downtown Bar in Des Moines, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. They also won Best Local Patio Bar, Best Local Rooftop Bar and runner-up Best Local Moscow Mule. 300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Des Moines, 515-288-3414;

Runners-up: Hello, Marjorie; Tonic

Best West Side Bar

Shotgun Betty’s

A “kickass country bar” that CITYVIEW readers once again voted the Best West Side Bar. Their Facebook page says it best: “We crack cold ones and shoot whiskey… We turn the country up loud… and the ONLY thing we have on tap is ice-cold Crown Royal Regal Apple! YEE-YEE!” 5535 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, 515-309-0744;

Runners-up: The Winchester Public House; The Front Row

Best East Village Bar

Coa Cantina

“Des Moines’ Finest Tequila Bar” is also Des Moines’ Best East Village Bar, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines voting. 425 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-280-3097;

Runners-up: The Garden Restaurant and Show Lounge; Bellhop

Best East Bar

Toads Tavern

For the coolest bar on the east side of Des Moines, CITYVIEW readers have once again elected Toads Tavern. Their generous happy hour runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and all day Sunday. Cheers! 3002 State Ave., Des Moines, 515-264-8623;

Runners-up: Cheap Seats Sports Bar; Gerri’s

Best South Bar

Francie’s Bar & Grill

The south side’s favorite bar has been around since 1987, serving up American-style lunch and dinner offerings, plus domestic and specialty beers in a casual and welcoming environment. 2100 Wakonda View Drive, Des Moines, 515-285-5207;

Runners-up: Mannings; The Angry Goldfish Pub & Eatery

Best Local Winery

Jasper Winery

CITYVIEW readers’ favorite local winery since this category began in 2015, Jasper Winery is located just south of downtown Des Moines. They specialize in locally grown grapes and innovative wine styles and boast a modern tasting room offering samples, flights and wine by the glass. 2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines, 515-282-9463;

Runners-up: Summerset Winery; Madison County Winery

Best Local Brewery

Confluence Brewing Company

“If you savor beer as both a bold taste adventure in the present and a connection with generations past, Confluence Brewery was founded for you.” For its innovative hand-crafted beer, dog-friendly deck, beer garden and overall good times — CITYVIEW readers have once more voted Confluence Brewing Company as the Best Local Brewery in the city. 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines, 515-285-9005;

Runners-up: Lua Brewing; Exile Brewing Company

Best Local Moscow Mule

The Copper Cup

It’s in the name: The Copper Cup offers the best Moscow mule in the metro, served in an iconic copper cup. If you just can’t get enough, they also host the Copper Cup Club, where you can buy a personalized copper cup and enjoy a discount on all specialty cocktails that include mules — and more. Drink responsibly. 207 Fourth St., Des Moines, 515-554-2606;

Runners-up: 300 Craft & Rooftop; BeerStyles Taproom & Gastropub

Best Local Bloody Mary

Early Bird

“Mary Me,” says Early Bird’s menu that offers four different variations on the bloody mary, plus one served alongside a BLT sandwich. Try the Verde Maria with green onion, jalapeño and cilantro infused vodka with house Mexican-inspired green tomatillo mix, or try Chili Chili Mary house chili-infused vodka, horseradish, house bloody mary mix and spicy chili rim. 9250 University Ave., Suite 107, West Des Moines, 515-528-2212;

Runners-up: Mullets; Americana

Best Local Bar to Play Games

Up-Down Des Moines

Visitors to Des Moines’ favorite arcade bar can choose from more than 60 arcade games from the 1980s and 1990s, pinball machines, three classic Skee-Ball alleys, Nintendo and Sega console gaming, and giant Jenga and Connect Four. All games cost 25 cents, so bring your quarters. Drinks include 20 beers on tap, more bottles and cans, and retro-inspired cocktails. 500 E. Locust St., Des Moines, 515-243-4322;

Runners-up: Ricochet; Smash Park

Best Local Place To See Beautiful People

Coachlight Clinic & Spa

The winner of this category has bounced around each year, but in 2023, CITYVIEW readers suggest heading to Coachlight Clinic & Spa as the Best Local Place To See Beautiful People. 6420 Coachlight Drive, Suite 200, West Des Moines, 515-221-9999;

Runners-up: Neon Heart Salon; Surety Hotel

Best Local Happy Hour

Eatery A

Happy hour takes place every day at Eatery A (from 2-6 p.m., according to their website). With Mediterranean-inspired delicacies and a winning patio on Ingersoll Ave., Eatery A has the Best Local Happy Hour, according to CITYVIEW voters. 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-8085;

Runners-up: Toads Tavern; Coa Cantina

Best Local Bartender

Kevin Caughron at Early Bird 

Bartending isn’t an easy job, but Kevin Caughron at Early Bird does it best, say CITYVIEW readers. Whether you’re looking for a mimosa, an award-winning bloody mary or another creative brunch cocktail, you can rest easy in the hands of Best Local Bartender in central Iowa. 9250 University Ave., Suite 107, West Des Moines, 515-528-2212;

Runners-up: Bruce Huckfeldt at Shotgun Betty’s; April Melroy at Mannings

Best Local Martini Menu

The Stuffed Olive

Shaken or stirred? Either way, CITYVIEW voters head to The Stuffed Olive for its extensive menu of martinis and other drinks. If James Bond lived in Des Moines, you’d probably find him at The Stuffed Olive. 208 Third St., Des Moines, 515-243-4456;

Runners-up: The Lift; The Winchester Public House

Best Local Margarita

Coa Cantina

Sweet, salty and, of course, boozy — you can find the best margaritas in town in the heart of the East Village. CITYVIEW voters also chose Coa Cantina as Best East Village Bar, runner-up Best Local Happy Hour and runner-up Best Local Trivia Night. 425 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-280-3097;

Runners-up: El Guapo’s Tequila + Tacos; Mi Mexico

Best Local Dance Club


PLATFORM is “a fusion of music, art, and tech… a creation of soul, substance, and connection.” The first of its kind in the city, the nightclub is the place to hit the dance floor to house music, hear world-class musicians and experience cutting-edge technology — and a world of magic. 400 Walnut St., Des Moines, 515-822-2899;

Runners-up: The Garden Restaurant and Show Lounge; Denny Arthur’s

Best Local Drag Queen

Robin Graves

Congratulations once more to Robin Graves — see her at the Blazing Saddle —  the city’s Best Local Drag Queen, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll voters for 2023. Instagram @therobingraves.

Runners-up: Sharaya Diamond; Krystal Frost Cavalier

Best Local Place to Karaoke

AJ’s on East Court

Grab your glass of liquid courage, step into that spotlight and unleash your inner rockstar. Every night is karaoke night at AJ’s on East Court, our readers’ choice for the Best Local Place to Karaoke. Concert Karaoke runs 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. every evening. Their music catalog is updated monthly with the top Billboard hits riding the airwaves. 419 E. Court Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-1888;

Runners-up: Cheap Seats Sports Bar; Jeannie’s Bottle

Best Local Place for a Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

Your Private Bar

One last night of freedom before the (blissful) binds of marriage — and you get to choose how and where. Your Private Bar lets you customize service and offerings to match you and your event, from cocktails, mocktails, coffee, booze-infused desserts, charcuterie and more. 1701 25th St., West Des Moines, 515-599-1205;

Runners-up: AJ’s on East Court; The Garden Restaurant and Show Lounge

Best Local Trivia Night

Iowa Distilling Company

Do your friends call you a know-it-all? Then tell us… Which animal has the longest lifespan? What is the hardest rock on earth? What is the most uncommon blood type? And where is the best Local Trivia Night in the area? Answer: Iowa Distilling Company. 4349 Cumming Ave., Cumming, 515-981-4216;

Runners-up: Coa Cantina; The Hall

Best Local Distillery

Iowa Distilling Company

Best Whiskey, Best Rum, Best Local Trivia Night, runner-up Best Vodka, runner-up Best Local Bar (Overall), and now… Best Local Distillery. Congratulations! 4349 Cumming Ave., Cumming, 515-981-4216;

Runners-up: Foundry Distilling Company; Revelton Distilling Company

Best Local LGBTQ Hangout

The Garden Restaurant and Show Lounge

The Garden has made frequent appearances in this category, and for another year, CITYVIEW readers have voted it the Best Local LGBTQ Hangout in central Iowa. They’ve been serving the community for more than 35 years. 525 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines;

Runners-up: Blazing Saddle; AJ’s on East Court

Best Whiskey Menu

Alleged Lee’s

Des Moines’ newest speakeasy not only has a winning punny name — they’ve also got the best whiskey in the metro, according to CITYVIEW voters. Alleged Lee’s opened in the eastern half of Quinton’s Bar and Deli in the East Village in late 2021. 510 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-244-6624;

Runners-up: Bubba; The Whiskey House

Best Local Drag King

Jack Frost

Congratulations to Jack Frost, who has been voted the Best Local Drag King in Des Moines for the third year in a row! Find Jack Frost at the Garden Restaurant and Show Lounge, 525 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines;

Runners-up: Grimm Fox; Romeo Sanchez

Best Local DJ

Richie Daggers

It just isn’t a party without a good DJ. Deemed by CITYVIEW readers as the Best Local DJ, Richie Daggers brings the energy, the tunes and the fun. Located in Des Moines; Instagram @iloverichiedaggers.

Runners-up: DJ Hollywood; DJ Air

Best Local Rooftop Bar

300 Craft & Rooftop

There’s nothing like sipping (or chugging — we don’t judge) your favorite beverage while taking in panoramic views of downtown Des Moines. The expansive patio at 300 Craft & Rooftop is the best place to do that, according to this year’s Best Of Des Moines poll. 300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Des Moines, 515-288-3414;

Runners-up: The Garden Restaurant and Show Lounge; Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop

Best Local Dog-Friendly Bar

Paws & Pints

Not only is Paws & Pints dog-friendly, it’s an outright canine retreat designed just for dogs, dog-owners and dog-lovers. Enjoy a snack, cocktail, beer or cup of coffee and socialize with fellow dog people while your four-legged friends run free in more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dog park space with synthetic grass, a doggy jungle gym, yard games, walking trails and more. 6218 Willowmere Drive, Des Moines, 515-969-2275;

Runners-up: Kinship Brewing Company; Mannings

Best Local Mobile Bar Service

Your Private Bar

For weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and more, Your Private Bar is again the Best Local Mobile Bar Service in Des Moines. Host your event at their event bar location, or they can Bring the Bar to You through a virtual happy hour, drink delivery service or custom gift package. 1701 25th St., West Des Moines, 515-599-1205;

Runners-up: The Sippin’ Six; Apres Bar Co. 

Culture & Recreation

Best Local Place to Play Golf

Waveland Golf Course

The oldest municipal golf course west of the Mississippi River is also the Best Place to Play Golf in central Iowa as voted by CITYVIEW readers. Challenge yourself through 18 holes among wooded hillsides. More than 40,000 rounds of golf are played at Waveland each year. Fore! 4908 University Ave., Des Moines, 515-248-6302;

Runners-up: Jester Park Golf Course; Willow Creek Golf Course

Best Local Community to Live In


With its iconic brick houses, tree-lined streets, and an overall park-like and close-knit atmosphere, Beaverdale is the largest of the 51 recognized neighborhoods within Des Moines — and voted the Best Local Community to Live In for 2023.

Runners-up: Waukee; Ankeny

Best Local Place to Worship

Lutheran Church of HOPE

Faith is better in community. And HOPE’s community is everywhere, with branches in West Des Moines, Ankeny, Des Moines, Grimes, Waukee, Ames and other suburbs across the state and beyond. As the largest church in Iowa, it’s no wonder that our readers consistently choose Lutheran Church of HOPE as the Best Local Place to Worship. Main location at 925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-222-1520;

Runners-up: New Hope Assembly of God; Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Best Local Nonprofit

Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Thousands of pets and potential pets receive care from the ARL each year. Programs include adoption, humane education, behavior training, spay/neutering, animal cruelty intervention and more. Make a difference by getting involved through volunteer opportunities, fostering or a simple donation. 5452 N.E. 22nd St., Des Moines, 515-262-9503;

Runners-up: Hard to Love; LifeServe Blood Center

Best Local School District

Waukee Community School District

Ten elementary schools, two grades 6-7 schools, two grades 8-9 schools, two grade 10-12 high schools, two learning centers… and still counting. Waukee’s ever-growing school district has been voted best in the metro seven times since we created this category in 2015. 560 S.E. University Ave., Waukee, 515-987-5161;

Runners-up: Des Moines Public Schools; Johnston Community School District

Best Local Party/Event Transportation

515 Party Bus

Celebrating a wild bachelorette party or needing classy transportation to your wedding venue? 515 Party Bus handles both — and every special occasion in between. They offer an advanced sound system, safe and experienced drivers, and the best in “cover-free” partying (on wheels, no less). 515-650-7463;

Runners-up: Royal Rides; Majestic Limo & Coach

Best Local Place to Hold a Corporate Event/Party

Your Private Bar

Whatever vibe you’re aiming for with your event, Your Private Bar will create the perfect blend of customized services to execute your vision. As such, they are the Best Local Place to Hold a Corporate Event/Party, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. 1701 25th St., West Des Moines, 515-599-1205;

Runners-up: Holiday Inn Downtown; Surety Hotel

Best Local Place for a Wedding Reception

Holiday Inn Downtown

The aisle has been marched, the vows have been recited, the bride has been kissed — and now, it’s time to celebrate. The Best Local Place for a Wedding Reception, in the opinion of CITYVIEW voters, is the Holiday Inn Downtown. 1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines, 515-283-0151;

Runners-up: Surety Hotel; Curate

Best Local Place to Gamble

Prairie Meadows

One of the only two nonprofit casinos in the United States is located right here in Iowa. See if the odds are in your favor at Prairie Meadows with live and simulcast horse-racing, sports wagering and nonstop casino action. 1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona, 515-967-1000;

Runners-up: Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel; Lakeside Hotel & Casino 

Best Local Musician

Damon Dotson

Why travel to Nashville or Hollywood when you’ve got world-class music right here in Des Moines? CITYVIEW readers’ favorite local musician for this year (and many past years) is Damon Dotson. He’s opened for legends like BB King, Willie Nelson and The Beach Boys, and you’ll find him singing his original tunes at venues across the city. Damon also performs with a band, which coincidentally, was voted runner-up Best Local Band.

Runners-up: CeCe Stewart; James Biehn

Best Local Band

The Nadas 

With tunes they describe as “a potent mix of Stones-era ‘Country Honk,’ with a healthy dose of 90s alternative rock” and “lyrics evocative of its home state: level-headed and grounded, ambitious and soaring,” The Nadas have been doing their thing for nearly 30 years. They’ve played with Bon Jovi, America and Huey Lewis. And their 14th studio album is coming out this year — keep your ears open!

Runners-up: CeCe Stewart & The Radio Train; Damon Dotson Band

Best Local Place to Go for a Comedy Show

Funny Bone Comedy Club

Hilarity abounds at Funny Bone Comedy Club, Des Moines’ Best Local Place to Go for a Comedy Show. Comedic superstars like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres and Drew Carey launched their careers by performing to Funny Bone crowds. 560 S. Prairie View Drive, Suite 100, West Des Moines, 515-270-2100;

Runners-up: Teehee’s Comedy Club; Hoyt Sherman Place

Best Local Artist

James Navarro

Navarro is best known for his “modern impressionistic approach of the Midwestern landscape and his contemporary still-life compositions… He is inspired not only by the beauty of the natural outdoors but also finds creativity in everyday objects.” Located in Des Moines;

Runners-up: Kelly Kunzler; Rick Gray

Best Local Live Music Venue


Operating since 2012 and winning CITYVIEW’s Best Local Live Music Venue category ever since then, Wooly’s has hosted an impressive repertoire of artists. Its stage has been graced by the likes of Ice Nine Kills, Andrew McMahon, Jade Bird, The HU, Grouplove, The Struts and countless other genre-diverse acts. 504 E. Locust St., Des Moines, 515-244-0550; 

Runners-up: Noce; Hoyt Sherman Place

Best Local Theatrical Venue

Des Moines Community Playhouse

Directed, cast and produced largely by volunteers, the Playhouse is truly a community effort and rightly deserves its win as the Best Local Theatrical Venue in Des Moines. Catch the Playhouse’s latest show, “The Piano Lesson,” a co-production with the Pyramid Theatre Company, now through Feb. 19. 831 42nd St., Des Moines, 515-277-6261;

Runners-up: Des Moines Civic Center; Hoyt Sherman Place

Best Local Place to Catch a Flick

The Palms Theatres & IMAX – Waukee

Action, horror, rom-com… Whichever flick you choose to see, The Palms offers up one of the largest IMAX screens in the Midwest — and the only one in the Des Moines metro. Each theatre is outfitted with heated UltraLux Loungers, and eight Dine & Recline auditoriums allow moviegoers to enjoy a full meal from Rick’s Café Americain alongside their movie. 200 N.E. Westgate Drive, Waukee, 515-444-5006;

Runners-up: Flix Brewhouse; B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling

Best Local Museum

Des Moines Art Center

View an impressive collection of art from the 19th century to the present in both permanent and rotating exhibitions. And the best part: Admission is free. 4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-277-4405;

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

Best Local Place to Have a Kid’s Birthday Party

Let’s Slumber It

The Best Local Place to Have a Kid’s Birthday Party in 2023 is family owned, delivering “magical and unforgettable tent sleepover parties styled in a variety of themes.” Let’s Slumber It takes care of everything: delivery, set-up, styling, tear down and pick-up. They also do luxury picnics! Ankeny;

Runners-up: Spare Time Entertainment; Pump It Up

Best Local Place to Take Your Kids

Blank Park Zoo

“Iowa’s Wildest Adventure” has been woven into Des Moines history since 1963, when Mr. A.H. Blank donated $150,000 to the City of Des Moines to build a children’s zoo on a site near old Fort Des Moines. Find penguins, tigers, giraffes, sea lions and more at the Best Local Place to Take Your Kids, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines voting for 2023. 7401 S.W. Ninth St., Des Moines, 515-285-4722;

Runners-up: Science Center of Iowa; Des Moines Children’s Museum

Best Local Place to Take Visitors

John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

As usual, CITYVIEW readers have elected the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park as the Best Local Place to Take Visitors, with its more than two-dozen works of art spread across 4.4 acres in Des Moines’ Western Gateway District. Find the park at 15th and Locust in downtown Des Moines;

Runners-up: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden; Surety Hotel

Best Local Annual Event

Iowa State Fair

There’s no doubt about it. The Iowa State Fair is the biggest — and best — event of the year, with agricultural wonders, top-notch people-watching, death-defying rides, music at every corner and virtually every type of deep-fried food on a stick in existence. You’ll be one of the million visitors who flock to the fair each year. We’ll be at the Giant Slide. Iowa State Fairgrounds, near East 30th and East University Avenue in Des Moines. 515-262-3111;

Runners-up: Des Moines Arts Festival; World Food & Music Festival

Best Local Sports Team

Iowa Cubs

Our own Minor League iteration of the Chicago Cubs is the Best Local Sports Team in Des Moines — as they are each year, according to CITYVIEW readers. Play ball! One Line Drive, Des Moines, 515-243-6111;

Runners-up: Iowa Wild; Des Moines Buccaneers

Best Local Place to Go Swimming

Adventureland – Adventure Bay

Make a big splash at Adventure Bay, where you’ll find the state’s largest wave pool and longest lazy river, plus 20 slides, a swim-up bar, 6,000-square-foot swimming pool and cabana rentals. And admission to Adventureland’s amusement park? Included! 3200 Adventureland Drive, Altoona;

Runners-up: Cascade Falls Aquatic Center; Valley View Aquatic Center

Best Local Place To Bowl

Val Lanes Recreation Center

With 36 lanes, Val Lanes says it is the largest bowling center in the Des Moines area. Operating since 1957, this old-school spot has earned its designation as the Best Local Place To Bowl in central Iowa. 100 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines, 515-274-0493;

Runners-up: Spare Time Entertainment; Warrior Lanes

Best Local Indoor Sporting Event

Iowa Wild

When winter has shrouded the Great Outdoors with snow and ice, central Iowans’ favorite place for sports entertainment is an arena filled with… more ice. It’s true: There’s nothing quite like rooting for the Iowa Wild, AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. 515-564-8700;

Runners-up: Des Moines Buccaneers; Sub Spectrum BJJ Tournament

Best Local Outdoor Sporting Event

Iowa Cubs

Let’s go out to the ballgame — at Des Moines’ own Principal Park, home to the Best Local Outdoor Sporting Event around. Cheer on the Cubs under the backdrop of the downtown skyline and fireworks during Friday games. 1 Line Drive, Des Moines, 515-243-6111;

Runners-up: Drake Relays; Iowa State Football

Best Local Farmers Market

Downtown Farmers’ Market

Find farm-fresh produce. Delight in home-cooked treats and first-rate street food. Meet with family and friends. Enjoy live entertainment. The 2023 market returns to the Historic Court District in downtown Des Moines on Saturday, May 6.

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

Best Local Camping Spot

Jester Park

Campers at Jester Park can explore 1,661 acres of land along the west shore of Saylorville Lake, featuring boat ramps, a natural playscape, fishing ponds, golf, horseback riding, hiking trails, bison and elk herds, and the Jester Park Nature Center. Pitch your own tent, park your camper or rent one of the four modern cabins on the campgrounds. 12130 N.W. 128th St., Granger, 515-323-5338;

Runners-up: Cherry Glen Campground – Saylorville Lake; Cutty’s Camping Resort

Best Local Place to Have an Adult Birthday Party

Your Private Bar

Just because you’re grown up doesn’t mean you can’t have a birthday party. And according to voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023, Your Private Bar is the best place to do it. 1701 25th St., West Des Moines, 515-599-1205;

Runners-up: AJ’s on East Court; Smash Park

Best Local Travel Agency

Allied Travel

All you have to do is pack your bags. The agents at Allied Travel will do the rest, taking the stress out of planning your honeymoon, cruise, trip to Europe — you name it. 5460 Merle Hay Road, Suite H, Des Moines, 515-270-7070;

Runners-up: Creative Vacations; AAA

Best Local Wedding Venue

Surety Hotel

Location, location, location… It’s probably the biggest factor that will affect your big day (second to who’s standing next to you at the altar, of course). Look no further: Des Moines’ Best Local Wedding Venue is the Surety Hotel, with its stunning event venue options including a courtyard, ballroom and solarium. 206 Sixth Ave., Des Moines, 515-985-2066; 

Runners-up: Curate; Toast

Best Local Event Decor/Rental Company

Bella Flora

Galas. Holiday parties. Opening nights. And of course, weddings. For all manner of events and special occasions, CITYVIEW voters look to Bella Flora to meet their floral and decor rental needs. “Whether you are a bride or business, the journey with our clients is special, custom, collaborative, and we ensure it’s as stress-free as possible.” 3100 Justin Drive, Urbandale, 515-554-6964;

Runners-up: Squeak Balloon & Décor; White Willow Events

Best Local Special Events Venue (Non-Wedding)

Your Private Bar

Congratulations to Your Private Bar, making its fifth overall appearance in CITYVIEW’s 2023 Best Of Des Moines poll results and its second in the Best Local Special Events Venue (Non-Wedding) category. 1701 25th St., West Des Moines, 515-599-1205;

Runners-up: The Cozy Haven; Curate

Best Local Spot to Pop the Question

AJ’s on East Court

It may not be the most picturesque backdrop, but when the time is right and the alcohol is speaking to you, location just doesn’t matter. This popular East Village karaoke bar is the Best Local Spot to Pop the Question for 2023, according to CITYVIEW voters. 419 E. Court Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-1888;

Runners-up: John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park; Iowa State Capitol

Health & Beauty

Best Local Pharmacy


Those helpful smiles extend beyond the aisles at Hy-Vee, voted once again to be the Best Local Pharmacy in central Iowa by voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Medicap; Walgreens

Best Local Place to get LASIK Eye Surgery

Wolfe Eye Clinic

Tired of misplacing your glasses and messing with your contacts? LASIK surgery is a popular option for many of our near- and far-sighted friends. To find out if it’s for you, CITYVIEW voters think you should head to Wolfe Eye Clinic. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Des Moines Eye Surgeons; LasikPlus

Best Local Place to Kickbox

Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping

In the 22 years since Lance Farrell first offered his signature 10-week fitness session in Des Moines, more than 200,000 members have been empowered and lost a combined 4.75 million pounds of body fat (the equivalent of 386 elephants). For its extreme support, accountability, encouragement and results, CITYVIEW readers have again voted Farrell’s as the area’s Best Local Place to Kickbox. Metro locations in West Des Moines, Waukee, Urbandale, Grimes, Des Moines, Ankeny, Ames and Altoona;

Runners-up: Aptitude Fitness; Absolute Martial Arts & Fitness

Best Local Martial Arts Studio

No Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

“Do you want to learn bodyguard-grade self-defense skills and get into the best shape of your entire life?” That’s what No Coast BJJ offers with its popular classes, welcoming both beginners and those with previous martial arts experience. 2627 N.W. 86th St., Urbandale, 515-207-0318;

Runners-up: Triumph Martial Arts; Farrell’s Martial Arts

Best Local Group Fitness

The Sandlot

“Grind. Conquer. Compete.” Find a fitness program unlike any other at The Sandlot, offering a challenging workout through its unique three-tiered approach. For those who are on the fence, they offer a free “No Sweat Intro” that includes one free week of unlimited classes. 4825 EP True Parkway, West Des Moines, 719-352-1086;

Runners-up: Rooted Yoga + Fitness; Burn Boot Camp

Best Local Running Event

IMT Des Moines Marathon

Participate in a 26.2-mile race and taste a slice of history — the marathon was one of the original events at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. There are hundreds of marathons and thousands of running events to choose from globally, but the IMT Des Moines Marathon is the best one around, according to readers like you.

Runners-up: DAM to DSM; Des Moines Turkey Trot

Best Local Personal Trainer

Trenton Thielfoldt – The Sandlot

Self-motivation can be difficult. Creating a fitness plan is often confusing. That’s why personal trainers exist. And according to our 2023 Best Of Des Moines poll, Trenton Thielfoldt is the one you should go to. Aside from being the owner at The Sandlot, his qualifications include a B.A. in Corrective Exercise & Performance, specializations in performance enhancement and corrective exercise from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and Level 1 certifications with CrossFit and USA Weightlifting. 4825 EP True Parkway, West Des Moines, 719-352-1086;

Runners-up: Roy Lowery – Ruff Iron Performance; Justin Shepherd – Elite Edge Transformation Center

Best Local Orthodontist

Dr. James Stork – Stork Orthodontics

Love your smile at Stork Orthodontics. Dr. Stork and his “Dream Team” serve patients of all ages, offering metal braces, clear braces, clear aligners and other services to promote optimal oral health and confident smiles. 4090 Westown Parkway, Suite 101, West Des Moines, 515-608-8722;

Runners-up: Dr. Oliver Willham – Willham & Foster Orthodontics; Dr. Melissa Bernhardt – Bernhardt and Smith Orthodontics

Best Local Place to Work Out

The Sandlot

It’s the Best Local Place to Work Out, offers the Best Local Group Fitness and is home to the Best Local Personal Trainer in Des Moines. What are you waiting for? 4825 EP True Parkway, West Des Moines, 719-352-1086;

Runners-up: Rooted Yoga + Fitness; SISU Strength Academy

Best Local Yoga Studio/Instructor

Power Life Yoga Barre Fitness

“Find your fire,” Power Life’s website encourages. “The majority of our classes are taught in a heated or semi-heated environment. But we challenge our students to dive a little deeper than that. We hope the time spent in our studios helps students ignite a spark within that inspires them to reach for their very best lives.” Locations in Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, the East Village and downtown Des Moines;

Runners-up: Rooted Yoga + Fitness; Yoga + Co.

Best Local Maternity Care or Birthing Center

UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Maternity Center

Whatever your birth plan may look like, the best place to bring your baby into the world is at UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Maternity Center, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s 2023 Best Of Des Moines poll. Now… PUSH! Multiple locations;

Runners-up: MercyOne Des Moines Maternity and Infants’ Care; Broadlawns Medical Center Pregnancy Care

Best Local Place to Get Your Eyelashes Done

Star’s Beauty Bar

When you want your lashes to be practically perfect in every way, CITYVIEW voters recommend you seek services at Star’s Beauty Bar in the East Village, the Best Local Place to Get Your Eyelashes Done in 2023. 315 E. Fifth St., Suite 121, Des Moines, 515-419-8690;

Runners-up: La Vida Foundry; 515 Lash + Brow Lounge

Best Local Place to Get a Massage

East Village Spa

Everybody and every body is welcome at East Village Spa. Their massage menu includes Heavenly Hot Stone Massage with warm salt stones, a Targeted Therapy Massage incorporating sports and orthopedic massage techniques and Tension Headache Relief Massage focusing on the neck, shoulders and scalp. For a unique experience, try their Two Feet Deep Barefoot Massage, which is just what it sounds like: “Using overhead bars for balance, your therapist will massage with their feet for firm, evenly dispersed pressure.” Wow! 601 E. Locust St., Suite 202, Des Moines, 515-309-2904;

Runners-up: Ocean Breeze Massage; Ravensong Massage & Wellness Center

Best Local Massage Therapist

Jenny Wailes – Ocean Breeze Massage

Jenny Wailes utilizes therapeutic essential oils, a different style of bodywork and holistic approach to address tension, stress and discomfort. You’ll sit up from the massage table feeling rejuvenated with restored function, movement and wellness. Ahhh…. 2612 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, 515-999-5606; 

Runners-up: Natalie Ramirez – Serenity Couture Salon Spa; Whitney Carlson – WellHaus

Best Local Place to Get Your Nails Done

Oscar Nail Bar

For those days when your hands and feet need a little extra pampering, the Best Local Place to Get Your Nails Done is Oscar Nail Bar in the Jordan Creek area. Services include acrylic and dip powder nails and spa treatments ranging from a “milk and honey” pedicure to a black charcoal-infused detox treatment. 160 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 140, West Des Moines, 515-225-6226;

Runners-up: Serenity Couture Salon & Spa; Stiletto Nails & Lashes

Best Local Herbal/Nutritional Supplement Store

Campbell’s Nutrition

Campbell’s helps you find natural solutions to your ailments and preventative healthcare via herbs and supplements. Their knowledgeable, friendly experts and extensive inventory have earned them their repeat spot as the Best Local Herbal/Nutritional Supplement Store in the area. Locations in Des Moines and Urbandale;

Runners-up: Your CBD Store; Ekin Nutrition

Best Local Tattoo Studio

Lucky Gal Tattoo and Piercing

When it comes to permanently inscribing ink onto your person, you don’t want to take any chances. Thankfully, the voters of CITYVIEW have spoken, and they say the best place to get inked is Lucky Gal Tattoo and Piercing. Locations in Ankeny, Clive and Des Moines southside;

Runners-up: Warrior Tattoo Studio; Iron Heart Tattoo & Body Piercing

Best Local Body Piercing Shop

Mint Piercing

Quality, safety and cleanliness are the top priorities at Mint Piercing, followed by creativity and aesthetics. For bold piercings that make a statement or more delicate and simple pieces, the Best Local Body Piercing Shop in the metro is Mint Piercing. Locations in Ankeny and West Des Moines;

Runners-up: Prysm Body Piercing & Jewelry Gallery; Lucky Gal Tattoo and Piercing

Best Local Place for Cosmetic Surgery

Des Moines Plastic Surgery

At Des Moines Plastic Surgery, you’ll find the first fully accredited surgical center in Des Moines dedicated exclusively to cosmetic surgery, as well as the only quadruple board-certified plastic surgeon in the state in Dr. David Robbins. The center specializes exclusively in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast and body. 6420 Coachlight Drive, Suite 100, West Des Moines, 515-221-9999;

Runners-up: Koch & Carlisle Plastic Surgery & Spa; Heartland Plastic Surgery

Best Local Permanent Makeup Salon

Layoché Beauty

When you’re tired of breaking out the same set of makeup brushes every morning, a cosmetic tattoo might be the solution. Specializing in permanent makeup, lash lifts and tints and brow lamination, Layoché Beauty is the metro’s Best Local Permanent Makeup Salon, according to CITYVIEW’s 2023 Best Of Des Moines readers’ poll. 328 E. Sixth St., Des Moines, 515-822-6200;

Runners-up: Luczycki INK.; Pinpoint Permanent Cosmetics

Best Local Tanning Salon

Bronze515 Custom Airbrush Tanning

We live in Iowa, so yes, the sun isn’t always shining at its brightest and warmest. Luckily, tanning salons help you achieve that sun-kissed look even in the depths of winter. Bronze515 uses gluten-, paraben- and cruelty-free vegan products for a UV-free glow. For its sunless and tanning-bed alternatives, Bronze515 Custom Airbrush Tanning has been voted central Iowa’s Best Local Tanning Salon for seven years running. Located in Ames and at 3981 100th St., Urbandale, 515-218-5443;

Runners-up: Tanique Sunless Tanning & Boutique; Sun Tan City

Best Local Waxing Salon


“From backs to butts and legs to brows — there’s no part of the body we haven’t waxed!” MetroWaxx has been doing their hair-pulling thing since first opening in 2005, and according to their clients and readers of CITYVIEW, they’re the best in the business. Locations in Des Moines, Ankeny and Johnston;

Runners-up: Serenity Couture Salon Spa; PURE Salon

Best Local Place for Non-Surgical Cosmetic Treatment

Sculpted 515

Liposuction, fat tucks and injections are invasive. Instead, Sculpted 515 offers non-invasive body contouring services like ultrasonic cavitation, radio-frequency, vacuum therapy and low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Risk is minimal and recovery time unnecessary. The medical spa also does hydrafacials, mesotherapy, vitamin therapy and whole body waxing. For these reasons and more, Sculpted 515 has been named the Best Local Place for Non-Surgical Cosmetic Treatment. 2925 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-654-5585;

Runners-up: Coachlight Clinic & Spa; Lotus Skincare Studio

Best Local Spa

Sculpted 515

Oh, hello again. Sculpted 515 is the only wellness spa in Des Moines specializing in slimming, tightening and toning. They recently marked one year in business and now have two new awards to add to their celebration. Congratulations! 2925 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, 515-654-5585;

Runners-up: Coachlight Clinic & Spa; East Village Spa

Best Local Holistic Health Center

Ocean Breeze Wellness and Massage

“You won’t find a cookie cutter massage here. Every BODY is different. EVERY time.” Through massage and essential oil therapy, clients find relief from both physical discomfort and emotional stress at Ocean Breeze. Owner Jenny Wailes was also voted Best Local Massage Therapist this year. 2612 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, 515-999-5606;

Runners-up: Yost Wellness Center; Thrive Family Chiropractic

Best Local Hair Salon

PURE Salon

Experience the difference at PURE Salon, starting with a surprisingly detailed survey to ensure a perfect stylist/guest match. For those who want to look their best, CITYVIEW readers’ choice for the Best Local Hair Salon is PURE Salon. Locations in Ankeny, Indianola and Johnston;

Runners-up: La Vida Foundry; Neon Heart Salon

Best Local Health Food Store

Campbell’s Nutrition

Central Iowa’s beloved health food store started in 1937 when the Campbell family opened a local juicery and lunch counter in the midst of the Great Depression. Since then, the store has been building a healthier community through its healthy grocery options, natural body care products and herbs and supplements. Locations in Des Moines and Urbandale;

Runners-up: Natural Grocers; Gateway Market

Best Local Family Planning Services

Planned Parenthood

After too many years to count, Planned Parenthood is again the winner in the category of Best Local Family Planning Services, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll. Locations in Des Moines, Urbandale and Ames;

Runners-up: Agape Pregnancy Center; Lutheran Family Service

Best Local Chiropractor

True Roots Chiropractic

Specializing in pregnancy, pediatric and family chiropractic care, True Roots Chiropractic uses state-of-the-art technology to assess their patients’ bodies and target the source of the problem — not just the symptoms. Locations in Norwalk and Des Moines;

Runners-up: Vero Health Center; Metro Movement Chiropractic and Rehabilitation

Best Local Doctor

Dr. David Robbins – Des Moines Plastic Surgery 

Dr. Robbins says he was drawn to Des Moines by its core values that mirrored his: honesty, integrity, respect, loyalty, friendship and being down to earth. “These characteristics are very important when choosing a plastic surgeon,” says Dr. Robbins, “and they are the foundation of my practice that the people of Des Moines deserve and have come to expect.” 6420 Coachlight Drive, Suite 100, West Des Moines, 515-221-9999;

Runners-up: Dr. Michael Nicholson – The Iowa Clinic; Dr. Jay Johnson – UnityPoint Family Medicine – Ingersoll

Best Local Eye Clinic

Wolfe Eye Clinic

See your best at Wolfe Eye Clinic, specializing in cataracts, cornea disease, glaucoma, LASIK eye surgery, oculofacial plastics, pediatric eye care and retina disease. The clinic has been in medical practice since 1919, performing more LASIK surgeries in Iowa than any other provider. The answer is crystal-clear: Wolfe Eye Clinic is the best of its kind in Des Moines and Iowa. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Des Moines Eye Surgeons; Elite Eye Care

Best Local Audiologist

Diana Hanson – Iowa Ear Center

Serving as the Iowa Ear Center’s director of audiology, Diana Hanson has worked as an audiologist since 1990, specializing in working with pediatric patients for hearing aids and cochlear implants. 12499 University Ave., Suite 200, Clive, 515-418-9960;

Runners-up: Dr. Andrew Keiner – Merit Hearing; Jennifer Brown – The Iowa Clinic

Best Local Hospital

UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Congratulations to UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Medical Center on making its fifth winning appearance in the Best Local Hospital Category. Among other superlatives, the hospital opened the city’s first radiation therapy department in 1956, and in 1993, became the first central Iowa facility to house all radiation, oncology and ancillary services in one location. Also in 1956, they performed the first open-heart procedure outside of the Mayo Clinic. And this year, CITYVIEW readers also voted Methodist as the Best Local Maternity Care or Birthing Center. 1200 Pleasant St., Des Moines, 515-241-6212;

Runners-up: MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center; Broadlawns Medical Center

Best Local Physical Therapist

Core Physical Therapy

The experts at Core Physical Therapy treat more than your discomfort — they get to the core issue of the pain. Their team has expertise in craniosacral therapy and myofascial release therapy to treat both chronic and acute pain. Through hands-on assessments and personalized treatment plans, you’ll start moving and get your life back in no time. Locations in West Des Moines and Adel; 

Runners-up: Elevate Physical Therapy; Integrated Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine

Best Local Dentist Office

Fleur Dentistry

Your smile is the top priority at Fleur Dentistry, voted Best Local Dentist Office by CITYVIEW readers every year since 2017. Congratulations! 4551 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, 515-287-2493;

Runners-up: Dental Associates; The Dental Loft

Best Local Pediatrician

Dr. Brian Waggoner – Waggoner Pediatrics of Central Iowa

Back for year No. 3 as the metro’s Best Local Pediatrician, Dr. Brian Waggoner and his office are committed to providing the best care for their patients. “We believe in providing state-of-the-art care in a tried-and-true manner where you can contact Dr. Waggoner at any time, day or night.” 2555 Berkshire Parkway, Suite A, Clive, 515-987-0051;

Runners-up: Dr. Daniel Pelzer – The Iowa Clinic; Dr. Amy Petersen – Cornerstone Pediatrics and Family Allergy

Best Local Dermatologist

Dr. Erin Ducharme – Ducharme Dermatology, P.C.

Serving patients in Iowa since 2013, Dr. Ducharme aids with a variety of ailments. Services at Ducharme Dermatology include on-site Mohs surgery for skin cancers, light therapy for rashes and other skin conditions, allergy patch testing, and PRP injections for hair loss and more. 16349 Sheridan Ave., Suite 101, Clive, 515-987-0333;

Runners-up: Dr. Andrew Bean – Dermatology P.C.; Dr. Timothy Abrahamson – Greater Des Moines Dermatology, P.C.

Best Place for Laser Hair Removal

Milan Laser Hair Removal

Some people prefer to toss that pesky razor and opt for laser hair removal instead. And for those who live in Central Iowa, Milan Laser Hair Removal is the best option for the procedure, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. Locations in Ankeny and Des Moines;

Runners-up: Coachlight Clinic & Spa; Skin Body Soul Spa

Best Local Orthopedic Clinic

DMOS Orthopaedic Centers

If you’re trying to get back on track after an injury, DMOS Orthopaedic Centers has your back. They’re committed to helping their patients “get back to living” and, as such, have again been designated as the Best Local Orthopedic Clinic by our loyal Best Of Des Moines voters. Locations in Des Moines, West Des Moines and Ankeny;

Runners-up: Iowa Ortho; Capital Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Best Local Place for Cryotherapy

CryoSpa Mind & Body Wellness

Like an ice bath, but elevated. Freeze away the pain, stress and inflammation with cryotherapy, and better yet, do it with CryoSpa Mind & Body Wellness, this year’s Best Local Place for Cryotherapy. 11895 Hickman Road, Suite 600, Urbandale, 515-270-7009;

Runners-up: Hassel Family Chiropractic; KryoVitality

Best Local Mental Health Therapist

Deb Gipple – Family Legacy Counseling 

The faith-based services at Family Legacy Counseling provide compassionate professional counseling from a Christian perspective. Deb Gipple has been practicing in the areas of child/adolescent therapy for more than 25 years, with experience in public and Christian school settings, including a missionary school in Taiwan. 5415 N.W. 88th St., Suite 100, Johnston, 515-727-1338;

Runners-up: Bryan Hall – EMDR & Beyond; Amanda Hardy – The Meadowlark Clinic 

Best Local CBD Store

Your CBD Store

The votes are in, and Your CBD Store returns as the Best Local CBD Store in the Des Moines area, marketing CBD in tinctures, creams, edibles and every form imaginable. Locations in Ankeny, Valley Junction, Des Moines, Waukee and Ames;


Best Local Allergist or Immunologist

Dr. Jennifer Petts – The Iowa Clinic

Allergies can be mildly inconvenient or severely debilitating. Dr. Petts helps with the whole gamut. She says she chose to the enter field as it is close to heart because of her sons’ asthma and peanut allergy. 5950 University Ave., West Des Moines, 515-875-9450;

Runners-up: Dr. Tara Federly – Cornerstone Pediatrics and Family Allergy; Dr. Vuong Nayima – Iowa Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Best Spiritual and Alternative Healing Center

Inner Space

Find holistic healing at Des Moines’ Best Spiritual and Alternative Healing Center. Services and classes include meditation, yoga and a popular Himalayan salt lounge designed for respiratory and inflammatory relief. 1251 Keo Way, Des Moines, 515-630-0210;

Runners-up: Yost Wellness Center; Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic

Best of the Rest

Best Elected Official

Governor Kim Reynolds

Gov. Reynolds is an Iowan through and through. She grew up in Madison County and graduated from Interstate 35 Community Schools, then completed her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University while serving as Lieutenant Governor in 2016. Now, she is embarking on her second full term as the state’s first female governor — and her fifth year as the Best Elected Official in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll. Iowa State Capitol, 1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-281-5211;

Runners-up: State Auditor Rob Sand, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne

Best Local Home Painter

GLS Painting

Quantity does not trump quality for Chris Signs, owner of GLS painting. “We will not stay complacent in an industry that is constantly changing. We promise our clients the highest quality refinishing. To do this we, promise to constantly adapt to new products and new processes to stay at the cutting edge of our industry.” 515-441-1048;

Runners-up: Peterson Painting; Allure Painting

Best State University in Iowa

Iowa State University

You can root for whatever camp you want, but CITYVIEW readers have decided that Iowa State University is the best among our three state schools. Nearly 30,000 students enrolled at ISU last fall. Of those, 25,000 were undergraduate students, with the first-year class being the most culturally diverse in the school’s history. Ames, 515-294-4111;

Runners-up: University of Iowa; University of Northern Iowa

Best Private College or Private University in Iowa

Drake University

Transform student lives and strengthen communities — that’s the mission at Drake University, and one they’re doing well, as they’ve once again been voted the Best Private College or Private University in Iowa. The mid-sized school of nearly 5,000 students is recognized as one of the finest in the Midwest. 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, 1-800-44-DRAKE; 

Runners-up: Simpson College; Grand View University

Best Community College in Iowa

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC)

Offering the lowest college tuition in Iowa has nothing to do with the quality of education at DMACC: 98% of graduates find employment or choose to continue their education after their time at central Iowa’s community college of choice. Campuses in Ankeny, Boone, Carroll, Newton, Des Moines and West Des Moines with additional learning centers around the metro;

Runners-up: Kirkwood Community College; Indian Hills Community College

Best Local Doggy Daycare/Boarding

Dogwoods Lodge

Designed just for dogs, Dogwoods Lodge offers luxury overnight boarding, day camp, training programs and a grooming salon. Appearing in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll since 2015. Congratulations! 2960 S.E. Grimes Blvd., Grimes, 515-986-7387;

Runners-up: South Des Moines Veterinary Center; Paws & Pints

Best Local Employer

ARTISAN Management Group

“We are fueled by good coffee and inspired to be authentic; to be genuine. Where it’s OK to embrace change and be better than you were yesterday. To feel welcome and appreciated. We venture to create space that is unique — to offer something better, be a part of something bigger. We love our community and value our neighbors. Our destiny is of our own choosing. We do not shy away from the difficult but strive to achieve what is great.” Those are the values outlined on ARTISAN’s website, and employees at this property management company seem to agree and love where they work. 1719 Grand Ave., Suite 100, Des Moines, 515-809-5400;

Runners-up: The Approved Movers; Generation Next

Best Local Home Improvement Company

Renewal By Andersen

When your home needs a facelift, Renewal By Andersen is the way to go. Specializing in window and door replacements, their experts will hold your hand from the initial design consultation through the final installation and beyond. 517 Railroad Ave., West Des Moines, 515-274-9700;

Runners-up: Amazed Construction Services; Home Solutions of Iowa

Best Local Dog Groomer

Doggies By Dannie – Dannie Ritter

Gone are the days of wrestling your canine into the back of your car. Dannie brings her 16 years of grooming expertise straight to your driveway — plus, she’s the best in the biz, as CITYVIEW voters have declared. 515-577-4339;

Runners-up: Ankeny PetSmart – Casey Pribyl; Stylin’ Paws Salon

Best Local Moving Company

The Approved Movers

It’s nerve-wracking to trust the entirety of your worldly goods to a complete stranger. Luckily, our readers have a suggestion: The Approved Movers. They guarantee the best moving experience you’ve ever had and ensure they garner 100% approval from their clients before concluding a move. 515-339-0139;

Runners-up: Adamantine Spine Moving; Two Men and a Truck

Best Local Credit Union

Veridian Credit Union

Voted the best of its kind each year in our annual readers’ poll, it’s no surprise: Veridian is the Best Local Credit Union in Des Moines for 2023. The not-for-profit financial cooperative has held a philosophy of “people helping people” since its founding as John Deere Employees Credit Union in Waterloo in 1934. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: GreenState Credit Union; Community Choice Credit Union

Best Local Bank

Bankers Trust

They’ve been voted Best Local Bank each year since 2017 — Bankers Trust is the Best Local Bank in central Iowa once again. Multiple branches, with corporate headquarters in Des Moines;

Runners-up: Fidelity Bank; Iowa State Bank

Best Local Internet Provider


Knocking Mediacom off its long-held seat, Metronet is the Best Local Internet Provider, say CITYVIEW readers. Fun fact: Metronet connected its first Des Moines customers to 100% fiber optic internet last fall. For those who favor face-to-face interactions over a phone call, Metronet has a storefront location at 1311 Buckeye Ave., Suite A, Ames. 855-595-1006;

Runners-up: Mi-Fiber; Mediacom

Best Local Auto Shop

Honest Wrenches Automotive Repair

Premium air for your tires? A refill of blinker fluid? As absurd as some may sound, car repair scams to overcharge customers are out there. In an effort to shatter that stereotype, owners Travis Troy and Josh Mullins founded Honest Wrenches on trust and putting the customer first, every time. Locations in Des Moines and West Des Moines;

Runners-up: Shade Tree Auto; FinishLine Auto Works

Best TV Station for News

KCCI Channel 8

For news good or bad, KCCI Channel 8 is the best way to hear about it in real time, according to CITYVIEW voters who have voted it Best TV Station for News for as long as we can remember.

Runners-up: WHO TV Channel 13; WOI Channel 5

Best TV Station for Sports

WHO TV Channel 13

It doesn’t matter what team you root for. When you need your sports fix, Keith Murphy and the sports team at WHO TV Channel 13 have you covered.

Runners-up: KCCI Channel 8; WOI Channel 5

Best TV Station for Weather

KCCI Channel 8

When the weather is wreaking havoc outside, rest assured you can get the latest updates on your TV screen via KCCI Channel 8. They’ll tell you about the nice days, too.

Runners-up: WHO TV Channel 13; WOI Channel 5

Best Local TV Anchor

Erin Kiernan – WHO TV Channel 13

She’s done it all. After studying broadcast journalism at Drake University and working part-time at Channel 13, Erin Kiernan worked as a reporter and photographer for WOI-TV. In 1998, she started at KCCI, where she anchored the weekend news before returning to Channel 13 in 2005. Congratulations!

Runners-up: Stacey Horst – KCCI-TV Channel 8; Eric Hanson – KCCI-TV Channel 8

Best Local Sports Commentator or Columnist

Keith Murphy – WHO TV Channel 13

You can find central Iowa’s favorite sports commentator anchoring the Channel 13 News at 6 and 10 p.m., writing on his blog, Murphy’s Law (, or alongside Andy Fales in their popular sports-based show, SoundOFF, live on Sundays at 10:35 p.m.

Runners-up: Scott Reister – KCCI-TV Channel 8; John Sears – WHO TV Channel 13

Best Meteorologist

Ed Wilson – WHO TV Channel 13

It’s no secret: Ed Wilson is the Best Meteorologist in Des Moines, and he has been for many years during his 35-year tenure with WHO-TV. Whether there’s a tornado, snowstorm or derecho — you know where to go.

Runners-up: Jason Sydejko – KCCI Channel 8; Jeriann Ritter – WHO TV Channel 13

Best Radio Voice That Turns You On

Heather Lee – Lazer 103.3

CITYVIEW voters have spoken, and the Best Radio Voice That Turns You On comes from the lips of Lazer 103.3’s Heather Lee. Heather & Wickett join listeners during their morning commute on weekdays from 6-10 a.m.

Runners-up: Preston Daniels – KFMG; Chad Taylor – KJJY 

Best Radio Station

Lazer 103.3

Playing “Everything That Rocks,” Lazer 103.3 has ousted KFMG 98.9 FM from its long-standing status as the Best Radio Station in Des Moines, as decided by voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023.

Runners-up: KFMG 98.9 FM; Iowa Public Radio 

Best Radio Personality

Jeff Angelo – WHO Radio 

The results of this category have jumped around in recent years, but for 2023, former State Senator Jeff Angelo is the Best Radio Personality in Des Moines. You can catch up on Iowa news during “Need To Know with Jeff Angelo,” live from 9-11 a.m. on Newsradio 1040 or any time at

Runners-up: Mike Wickett – Lazer 103.3; Gary Monte – KFMG 98.9 FM

Best Local Real Estate Agent

Bob Eisenlauer – Eisenlauer Team

Hunting for your forever home? Looking to sell your starter home? Whatever your end goal, the Best Local Real Estate Agent to get you there is Bob Eisenlauer and the Eisenlauer Team. Locations in Windsor Heights and Pleasant Hill, 515-979-2883;

Runners-up: Tim Scheib – Scheib Real Estate; Greg Steward – Steward Real Estate

Best Local Automotive Salesperson

John Smith Jr. – Bob Brown Chevrolet

John Smith Jr. at Bob Brown Chevrolet is the Best Local Automotive Salesperson in central Iowa, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. 3600 111th St., Urbandale, 515-257-7296;

Runners-up: Ron Floyd – Bob Brown GMC Buick; Dan Carpenter – DeYarman Ford Indianola

Best Local Photographer

Tracy Marie Photography

“At the end of the day, all that’s left is the photos.” Congratulations to Tracy Marie Photography on her third year as CITYVIEW’s Best Local Photographer, specializing in couples, family and senior sessions. 515-240-3648; 

Runners-up: Kara Hoegh – Inspirations by Kara; Ryan Whitten – Reel Vision Media

Best Local Financial Planner

Loren Merkle – Merkle Retirement Planning

Most people shy away from talking about money, but not Loren Merkle. His team of financial planning professionals help prepare their clients for retirement, whatever they may want it to look like. 1860 S.E. Princeton Drive, Grimes, 515-278-1006;

Runners-up: Jeff Baker – Expedition Wealth Management; Justin Bjerke – Edward Jones

Best Local Insurance Agent

Aaron Peterson – AKP Health Insurance

A good insurance agent will help you make as informed of a decision as possible about a topic that confuses many people. Aaron Peterson does that best, according to voters in CITYVIEW’s annual Best Of Des Moines poll. 974 73rd St., ​West Des Moines, 515-490-4286;

Runners-up: Ryan McCready – Expedition Insurance Services; Matt Reed – Country Financial

Best Local Mortgage Company

Midwest Family Lending

Dedicated to making the Midwest a great place to call “home” for more than 25 years. Voted Best Local Mortgage Company from 2017-2019, 2021 and now 2023, we extend a warm congratulations once again to Midwest Family Lending. 2753 99th St., Urbandale, 515-252-7107;

Runners-up: Key Mortgage Group; Fidelity Bank

Best Local Vet Clinic

South Des Moines Veterinary Center

The extensive list of services provided at South Des Moines Veterinary Center include pet wellness exams, sick pet visits, canine and feline dental care, internal medicine consults, soft tissue surgery, pet nutrition consultation, doggy day care, pet boarding, pet grooming and end-of-life care. If your furry friend is in the market for any of the above, look no further than the Best Local Vet Clinic in Des Moines. 6301 S.W. Ninth St., Des Moines, 515-285-5523;

Runners-up: Oaks Veterinary Clinic; University West Pet Clinic

Best Local Home Builder

Black Birch Homes 

Home is where the heart is — but you need to build it first. CITYVIEW voters have chosen Black Birch Homes as the Best Local Home Builder in the area. They’ll design it, too! Polk City, 515-418-1332;

Runners-up: Dynasty Homes; Destiny Homes

Best Local Landscaper

Freedom Outdoor Services

Who wants to haul rocks and pull up sod while exposed to the elements? Not us! To achieve the landscaping of your dreams without any of the work, our readers suggest you employ Tyler’s outdoor expertise at Freedom Outdoor Services, the Best Local Landscaper in the metro. Ankeny, 515-782-3969; Facebook @ Freedom Outdoor Services.

Runners-up: Ted Lare Creative Landscape Design + Build; Plant Life Designs

Best Local Chamber of Commerce

Urbandale Chamber of Commerce

The local chamber of commerce is the heartbeat of its business community. And of all the cities in the metro, Urbandale has the best chamber of them all, as decided by voters in CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll. 2830 100th St., Suite 110, Urbandale, 515-331-6855;

Runners-up: Grimes Chamber & Economic Development; West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

Best Local Customer Service (Overall)

Modern Heating and Air 

With thousands upon thousands of entities doing business in the Des Moines metro, winning Best Local Customer Service (Overall) is no small feat. Congratulations to Modern Heating and Air, “where care meets air.” 675 N.E. 45th Place, Des Moines, 515-635-5525;

Runners-up: Merkle Retirement Planning; Prysm Body Piercing and Jewelry Gallery

Best Local Law Firm

Baer Law Office

When a law office is voted Best Local Law Firm for eight years in a row, you probably want to start paying attention. Baer Law Office practices in the areas of personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death claims, divorce and family law, business law and nursing home claims. 838 Fifth Ave., Des Moines, 515-279-2000; 

Runners-up: Wasker, Dorr, Wimmer & Marcouiller, P.C.; Henrichsen Law Office

Best Local Daycare

Generation Next

Voted Best Local Daycare since we opened the category in 2015, Generation Next focuses on the development of each individual child. CITYVIEW readers also voted Generation Next as Best Local Preschool in 2020, 2021 and 2023. Locations in Johnston, Urbandale, Ankeny, West Des Moines and Bondurant;

Runners-up: Cadence Academy; Step Ahead Childcare & Preschool

Best Local Marketing Agency

Nexus 6

Dave Makin founded Nexus 6 “to make marketing a little more human again.” Their quirkily creative services will be adjusted to your comfort level and span branding, graphic design, websites, video and social media. 1603 22nd St., West Des Moines, 515-303-0103;

Runners-up: Hatch; TwoTone Creative

Best Local Apartment Complex

The Village @ Gray’s Lake

The residents of The Village @ Gray’s Lake love where they live. This marks their third year as Best Local Apartment Complex in our Best Of Des Moines poll. 2270 Bell Ave., Des Moines, 515-452-7484;

Runners-up: The Vibe @ 8035; The Parker @ Seventh 

Best Local HVAC Company

Modern Heating and Air

The HVAC experts at Modern Heating and Air are “savvy about comfy,” according to their website. They also work at the business offering the best customer service in the area, according to our readers. 675 N.E. 45th Place, Des Moines, 515-635-5525;

Runners-up: Best Heating, Cooling & Electric, Inc.; Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling

Best Local Senior Living Community

Scottish Rite Park

Live your twilight years to the utmost in the historical Woodland Heights area. Panoramic views of Des Moines, activities and amenities galore, skilled caretakers and much more make Scottish Rite Park the Best Local Senior Living Community in the area. 2909 Woodland Ave., Des Moines, 515-274-4614;

Runners-up: Edencrest of Green Meadows; Edgewater

Best Local Place for Tax Preparation

The Vroman Group

“We prefer to take a proactive vs. reactive approach to tax services. By keeping current on new tax laws and legislation, we are in a position to identify key tax planning opportunities that minimize both your current and future tax liabilities. We provide our individual and business clients with the taxation expertise and knowledge that they deserve throughout the year.” All that to say, when you need your taxes done, The Vroman Group is the best place to do it. 6601 Westown Parkway, Suite 250, West Des Moines, 515-278-4531;

Runners-up: Gray Financial Solutions, Inc.; Ann M. Hartz CPA and Associates

Best Local Bathroom Facility

Shade Tree Auto

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But if you happen to be at Shade Tree Auto when you gotta go, you’ll get the best go of your life at the Best Local Bathroom Facility around, according to CITYVIEW readers. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Bike World; Prysm Body Piercing and Jewelry Gallery 

Best Local Hotel

Surety Hotel

A stunning Beaux-Arts gem from 1913, Surety Hotel is CITYVIEW’s Best Local Hotel for 2023. Readers also voted it as the area’s Best Local Wedding Venue, runner-up Best Local Place to Hold a Corporate Event/Party, runner-up Best Local Place for a Wedding Reception and runner-up Best Local Place to Take Visitors. 206 Sixth Ave., Des Moines, 515-985-2066; 

Runners-up: Holiday Inn Downtown; Des Lux Hotel

Best Local Plumber

H & H Plumbing

Drip… Drip… When you’re drowning in your sorrows and that leak from your pipes, H & H Plumbing will come to your rescue. They service toilets, dishwashers, tubs and showers, bathroom and kitchen remodels, sewer lines, gas lines, sump pumps, pipes, water heaters — and they’re the Best Local Plumber in the city. 32411 170th St., Granger, 515-277-5755;

Runners-up: Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical; Herr Plumbing

Best Local Electrician

ARC Electric

They’ve got the power… to fix your power. And they’re the Best Local Electrician in the Des Moines area, say CITYVIEW readers. Ladies and gents: Arc Electric! 3430 S.E. Destination Drive, Suite 300, Grimes, 515-721-6258;

Runners-up: Custom Electrical Services; Baker Electric

Best Local Flooring Company

Royal Flooring

Royal Flooring does cabinets, countertops, appliances and window treatments, but they do flooring better then anyone else, according to CITYVIEW voters. You’ll be floored by their work! 11801 Hickman Ave., Urbandale, 515-957-9738;

Runners-up: The Floor Doctors; Louie’s Floor Covering

Best Local Roofing Company

Right Roofing, Siding and Windows

Things are looking up. Right Roofing, Siding and Windows has been serving central Iowa for more than 25 years, and they’re the Best Local Roofing Company you’ll find, say our readers. 3250 99th St., Urbandale, 515-305-3113;

Runners-up: Walter Roofing + Solar; Guardian Roofing 

Best Local Contractor

Home Solutions of Iowa

DIY home projects are all the rage these days, but sometimes, it’s nice to sit back, relax and let someone else do the work. And the best someone for the job, according to our poll results for the last four years, is Home Solutions of Iowa. 16180 S.E. Laurel St., Waukee, 515-999-2896;

Runners-up: HomeWorx Remodeling; ServiceMaster by Rice

Best Local Interior Designer

Nita Upchurch – The Redefined Home

“Nita blends her extensive art and design background with quantum Feng Shui to redefine the possibilities for your living spaces.” Redefine your home or office with the metro’s Best Local Interior Designer, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of poll. West Des Moines, 515-292-8154;

Runners-up: Lynsy Anderson – Royal Flooring, Jessica Rae – Alt Design Studio

Best Local Pest Control Company

Pro-Staff Termite & Pest Control of Iowa

Bedbugs and termites and bats — oh my! When your space is infested with creepy crawly creatures, Pro-Staff Termite & Pest Control of Iowa is here to save the day. They can also pest-proof your house before anything happens to prevent disaster from striking. 3601 Douglas Ave., Des Moines, 515-279-7378;

Runners-up: The Bug Man; Preferred Pest Control

Best Local Cleaning Company

The Queen of Clean

Returning for its fifth consecutive year as CITYVIEW poll’s Best Local Cleaning Company, The Queen of Clean will leave your home and office sparkling — whether you’re moving in or out, picking up the post-construction pieces, or just need a reset. 4949 Pleasant St., Suite 101, West Des Moines, 515-528-8723;

Runners-up: The Approved Cleaners; Krystal Clean Services

Best Local Co-Working Space


“Find your productive happy place” at Gravitate, CITYVIEW voters’ choice for Best Local Co-Working Space since 2019. Find speedy Wi-Fi, free coffee, meeting rooms and an inspiring atmosphere at Gravitate locations in downtown Des Moines, the East Village, Windsor Heights and across Iowa. 515-207-8105;

Runners-up: Blue Bean; Collaborate DSM

Best Local Preschool

Generation Next

The early years are crucial in the development of your little ones, but they’ll be in good hands at Generation Next, voted by CITYVIEW readers as Best Local Preschool. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Holy Trinity Catholic Church and School; Science Center of Iowa Preschool

Best Local Swim School


“Veni natavi vici.” Latin for: “I came, I swam, I conquered.” Natavi’s 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility is the perfect place to get comfortable in the water. The school prioritizes safety and comfort so its students can just keep swimming… just keep swimming… 275 S.W. Brookside Drive, Grimes, 515-300-3282;

Runners-up: Goldfish Swim School; Foss Swim School

Best Local Home Inspection Company

Imperial Home Inspection Services

When you’re making what is probably the largest purchase of your life, you need a home inspection company that won’t miss a thing. For the Best Local Home Inspection Company in central Iowa, CITYVIEW readers say, look to Imperial Home Inspection Services. 515-218-5674;

Runners-up: Spotlight Home Inspection Services; Keystone Home Inspections

Best Local Foundation Repair Company

B.A.M.! Basements & Masons

Attention to detail. Keen project management. No hidden costs. These traits and more are what set B.A.M.! Basements & Masons apart from the crowd. They’re once again the Best Local Foundation Repair Company in the city, as decided by Best Of Des Moines voters. 5327 N.W. Second St., Des Moines, 515-400-4141;

Runners-up: Midwest Foundation Repair; American Perfection Basement Waterproofing

Best Local Auto Glass Repair

Safelite AutoGlass

Another pesky pebble collides with your windshield. You find yourself — and your vehicle — in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime hailstorm. A tree branch falls at an inopportune time and place. Whatever the circumstances that lead you to Safelite AutoGlass, you can take comfort in knowing they’re the Best Local Auto Glass Repair around, according to CITYVIEW’s Best Of Des Moines poll for 2023. Multiple locations;

Runners-up: Glass Doctor of Des Moines; Scott’s Auto Glass ♦

Summer Stir - July 2024