Des Moines has been built, torn down, built again, flooded, revamped and remodeled. Here are a few of the ones we miss the most. All addresses are the former locations none of these restaurants are around anymore.
1. Younkers Tea room – The Younkers Tea Room held a aura of elegance in downtown Des Moines. A 2015 fire destroyed most of Younkers building. The register did a great article on the Younkers tea room. I have provided a link here.
2. Bishops restaurants – Bishops closed in 1995. I never got the opportunity to dine there but I heard about Bishops from the book The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson and also from some long time Des Moines residents. In the book, he tells how he and his friend used to bring a fly into the restaurant, then drop it in the food so they could eat for free. Bishops at its peak had 38 locations throughout the Midwest.
3. Babes restaurant – Babes was in Des Moines for over fifty years, and was “the swankiest nightclub in Des Moines.” Babes gained popularity during world war two mainly with servicemen stationed here. The original Babes closed in 1991.
4. Donut King – 220 Grand Ave West Des Moines. Although we haven’t missed it for long, it is missed. Donut Kings Donuts were not cookie cutter, small, mass produced identically shaped doughnuts. They were HUGE, and delicious. I think we are all hoping they can find another location.
5. Jimmy’s American Cafe – 1238 th Street West Des Moines. Jimmy’s was a happening place when it was open. I think the Jordan Creek development and the new competition was its undoing. I hear the fried chicken was excellent.
6. Porky’s Diner- 4444 Douglas Ave Des Moines. Porkys was much loved as a car enthusiast hangout, and a stop while cruising around on a Friday or a Saturday night. Porky’s was founded in 1982 and closed in 2009.
7. Nacho Mamas – 216 Court Ave Des Moines. Nacho Mama’s besides being a great pun, was a casual option for court ave. It closed suddenly in 2003.
8. Raccoon River Brewery – This brewpub was a relaxed place to hang out downtown. They had good beer and decent food. The thing I liked most was the large open venue with dark woodwork throughout giving a decadent feel. The register did a story on the closing. Here is a link.
9. Mondos – I actually worked here for about a year and a half. At the time that I worked there it was the third largest restaurant in the state of Iowa. Mondos featured applewood rotisserie chicken, and an excellent array of steaks with french style cream sauces. Mondos also had a full bakery and hand made their pastas.
10. Buca Di Beppo – I was always impressed by Buca di Beppo. The served their food family style and every ones eyes seemed to bulge when the server would bring a huge heaping bowl of pasta with meatballs. My favorite was the Spaghetti with Meatballs, also the sauteed green beans were excellent. If you need to get your Buca fix on there are locations in the twin cities.
Honorable Mention: The Knox Cafe
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