Updated on March 28, 2019:
Just like any big city, whether you like it or not, Des Moines has a hipster food scene. Hipsters are drawn to artisanal provisions and locally harvested produce. The best part about all of that is Des Moines is able to feed the need of those “food requirements”.
If you don’t know of any hipster restaurants, then save this list. Here are 11 hipster food joints in Des Moines.
1. Mars Cafe
To quote Ed from Yelp, “if you’re a coffee hipster snob, you will enjoy the coffee.”
That pretty much sums the place up.
Located in the Drake University neighborhood off of University Ave, Mars Cafe has been the go to source for amazing coffee and cafe food since 2005. Amazing coffee couldn’t be made with our superb baristas and delicious coffee. They exclusively use, and sell, Kickapoo Coffee, a Fair Trade artisan roaster located in Wisconsin.
2. Zombie Burger
Zombie Burger is so foodster and so hipster. There is nothing like this anywhere in the world. Heck, someone tried to recreate the idea in Australia! One of my most favorite things that Zombie Burger does is their #ZBoftheweek. I basically freak out every time I see one. They’re creative and out of this world delicious. One of my favorite burgers is the George Romero’s Pittsburgher. The Dead Corps might come in second.
What it serves: Bashed burgers.
Location: 300 E. Grand Avenue
3. Juniper Moon
As one Google review puts it, Juniper moon is “truly the bees knees!!!!” On a more serious note though, Juniper Moon is a place full of swanky vibes, low lighting via industrial light fixtures and delicious cocktails. There is a phone booth in the corner by the bar which gives you a direct line to Gusto Pizza (next door) to order your favorite pizza. They will then deliver it over to you while you sit back in a comfy patio chair or sit inside at one of their numerous high-tops or tables. Some of their notable cocktails are:
The Juniper Moon: Junipero gin mixed with creme de violette and lemon juice, with a orange wheel for decoration.
Moon Mule: Ciroc Peach Vodka, Amaretto and Barritts Ginger Beer (this drink is highly chug-able, but savor it!)
What it serves: crafty, delicious cocktails in a downtown setting.
Location: 2005 Ingersoll Ave
Be sure to check out the other photos of the Juniper Moon on Instagram.
4. Smokey Row
Smokey Row coffee shop and restaurant is where the college kids of Des Moines hang out – and the hipsters. It’s a good place to do homework, catch up with friend or even go on a date. You can find the beanies on the heads – guilty – of people sipping espresso and, what I think is one of the best Americano’s in town. There is free wifi, lots of seating and awesome strung lights around the coffee shop.
What Smokey Row serves: coffee, desserts and has a soda fountain.
Where: 1910 Cottage Grove Ave
5. Fong’s Pizza
Fong’s is a really unique pizza place in Des Moines. It has some pretty fongstastic options to choose from. If you haven’t had their Crab Rangoon Pizza then you’re so missing out and need to get out there ASAP. They have really awesome cocktails and if you get too deep in their crazy drinks you can always have another slice of pizza later in the night. Check out their Twitter/Facebook for specials and daily slices.
What Fong’s Serves: Very creative Pizza’s.
Where: 223 4th St
Americana is classy hipster. It’s home to one of my favorites – the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. They also keep it classy and hip with Mad Men watching parties. Their Facebook used to have a lot of fun old-school pictures to add to the hipster level but it’s more focused on food images now. Be sure to check out their Bombshell Brunch on Sundays.
What Americana serves: Craft cocktails, american fare.
Where: 1312 Locust Street
7. La Mie
At La Mie you can find a great selection of pastries and artisan breads. Joe and Christina Logsdon are the owners are they have definitely captured a great atmosphere and they feed off of the vibe of their customers. If you want to go in for breakfast, make sure you get there early. I’ve been there before and shared a table with random guests. But hey, Des Moines is home to the friendliest people. 😉
A photo posted by Nick Lucs (@nicklucs) on
What La Mie serves: Breakfast, lunch, pastries and artisan breads.
Where: 841 42nd St.
RōCA, short for Restaurant on Court Avenue, is owned by Aaron Holt. He was taught by the best chef in Iowa – his mother. He has taken what he learned and brought it to an unique places called RōCA. Low lighting and a vibrant atmosphere make up this restaurant and is a great spot to hang out before or after a Civic Center event. Craft cocktails and small plates are their specialty. Try out the Smoking Gun: Bulleit Bourbon, Maple Syrup, Angostura Bitters, Wood chip Smoke. The only thing better than bourbon and a cigar!
A photo posted by Nick Lucs (@nicklucs) on
What RōCA serves: Craft cocktails, small plates.
Where: 208 Court Ave
HoQ, besides New World Cafe, might be one of the most hipster restaurants in Des Moines due to the fact that 90% of their ingredients come from local farms – which fits the ‘stereotype’ of Hipsters enjoying natural, local foods. HoQ has been mentioned several times by name-worthy publications. For instance, they can be found in Travel+Leisure’s list of The Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant In Event State post.
What it serves: Rotating menu showcasing the finest of Iowa ingredients.
Where: 303 E. 5th Street
10. St. Kilda
As one Google reviewer, Farfum, puts it, “Want some Aussie inspiration? Then this is the place to go. St Kilda has a cool-hip atmosphere with exceptionally great service. The food presentation is also spot on and everything tastes fresh. I appreciate the large plates and gluten-free options. There are free street parking available which is a plus for downtown. Definitely recommend this place to locals and DSM visitors. Cheers!”
Where: 300 SW 5th St, Des Moines, IA 50309
11. The Hall DSM
There really isn’t anything like it town. It’s a large beer hall with an outstanding beer selection, a unique selection of daily food trucks and a fun place to meet up with friends and family. They have an app that you can download to view the food trucks that are there that day and see the food trucks’ menus. You can also order directly from the app so you can stop by and pick food up to go, or eat it at The Hall.
Where: 111 S 11th St, West Des Moines, IA 50265
Previous mentions that are no longer in business:
You can’t just eat any old donut. It’s gotta be a Djonut. The donuts are baked, not fried and are made in small batches but made with big flavors and ideas. Djonuts is headed by Joe Formaro. Yep. Father and son made the list. 😉 What
Djnout serves: Creative donuts.
Where: 900 Mulberry St
New World Cafe
New World Cafe is headed by Adam Senecaut and Madeline Krantz. They both have really interesting backgrounds ranging from political and animal rights activist in the Des Moines area to creating satisfying, nourishing vegan dishes – which is what New World Cafe is all about. They have a rotating menu that really tries to break the initial thought of what vegan food is. In reality, vegan provides a little something for everyone. They have a really unique business model too in which New World Cafe is ran by volunteers. A portion of their staff on a daily basis is made up of volunteers. If you want to volunteer you can find information on that here.
What it serves: Vegan. The rotating menu can be viewed on their site.
Location: 223 E Walnut
What other restaurants would you add to this list? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below!
Photo by Staffage via: kaboompics.com