I love Blondies for so many reasons: their stylists are hip, yet still super friendly; the service is divine and most importantly, they do an excellent job! Talented owners, Monica & Kristen, have done a great job creating a modern, inviting environment and hiring talented employees!
If you're craving diner food & diner atmosphere then the Drake Diner is the way to go. We recommend their milkshakes, Bloody Mary's, Club sandwich and Maytag Burger. (The Maytag Burger was enjoyed by Yo Yo Ma during his '05 visit with the Des Moines Symphony!) Service is sometimes questionable, but who really cares when you're at a campus spot? Family friendly and great for breakfast or lunch, this is another great Drake Neighborhood mainstay.
I love the location and atmosphere at Star Bar. It's a great place to meet after work for drinks or hit later at night. Unfortunately, the food isn't exactly consistent or that great. I've had overly salted burgers and salads (ew!) but also decent paninis and fries. And we definitely haven't been impressed with their brunch.
So for a safe bet, meet friends here when you're not hungry for fun atmosphere & drinks, and steer clear of the food!
Lucca opened a couple of years ago with the rebirth of the East Village and has quickly risen to the top of great restaurants in Des Moines. With their prixe fixe course you chose a first (primi) and second (secondi) course, which is enough to fill you up, but try to save room for a cheese course to round off your evening.
Lucca has the BEST scallops in town, hands down. We've also enjoyed their egg dishes in the primi course and their beef is always decadent. The menu changes seasonally, but is consistently delicious.
The atmosphere is great for an East Village spot and reminds me of a place in DC's Adams Morgan district.
I've only been to Baby Boomers for breakfast, but my guess is they do breakfast just as well as they do lunch. I'm pretty picky with my eggs benedict and theirs are absolutely excellent. The atmosphere is cute (not too much like a cheesy diner) and the service is outstanding. I hear they make a mean meatloaf and they always have cookies!
Whether you went to Drake or not, everyone can appreciate good bar food and the Library Cafe has got it. With possibly the best cheeseburgers and nachos in town, this spot just west of Drake's campus is great for lunch or dinner. The college kids don't start piling in until later at night, so you won't feel super-old, but if you're concerned about that, just order your food to go! The wings are also fabulous and another bonus is that the beer is at campus-cheap prices! A win for everyone!
Victor's is not only a great place to catch the game, but also a place to get some pretty darn good bar food too. They have excellent cheeseburgers, terrific nachos and some delicious buffalo fries. I also think their wings are outstanding and they even offer some without bones! Now that the place is smoke-free, it's even more enjoyable.
Traveler's Inn is a perfect spot for anyone wanting some classic, down-home favorites. The service is always excellent and the owners are fabulous. While all meals here are great, I have to stop here for breakfast. Whether it's the skillets, eggs benedict or omelets, there's something here for everyone! A trip to Alexandria just isn't complete without a stop at Trav's!
Taco Villa is a perfect spot for those wanting something a step-up from Taco Bell, but not a full meal like at the sit-down Mexican restaurants. I have to stop here every time I'm in Topeka. Their sauce is unique and delicious their tacos hit the spot. Their queso dip is the real draw here and try to save room for their doughy, delicious chocolate chip cookies!
This restaurant is excellent and a hard-to-come-by non-chain restaurant on the Wanamaker strip. They have an excellent happy hour deal and a wonderful brunch. I absolutely love their sweet tamale corn cakes! Great atmosphere too!