Eclectic shops and good dining sit side-by-side in the East Village, just west of the Iowa State Capitol and east of the Des Moines River. This update includes some of the newer restaurants in the neighborhood.
Alba opened under Jason Simon more than a decade ago with globally influenced cuisine served in a modern and eclectic space with accents of reclaimed wood. Seasonal menus define the restaurant, and ask for a seat in front of the kitchen to watch the chefs conjure up their dishes. The cocktail program and house burger are must-tries.
Location: 524 E. Sixth St., Des Moines
Hours: Daily from 4 p.m. to close. Happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. in the bar and on the patio.
The Breakfast Club
In February 2021, The Breakfast Club opened its doors for the bright and early crowd. The restaurant serves more than 40 brunch items with spiced-up classics such as monster cookie pancakes and a boba yogurt parfait with fried bananas. There are ample vegan and vegetarian options and an extensive brunch cocktail menu. In warmer months, diners can brunch on the restaurant’s adjacent patio.
Location: 212 E. Third St. Suite B, Des Moines
Hours: Daily from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Owner Tanya Suarez channeled her Cuban heritage to create dishes she grew up making and eating. Feast on ceviche, of course, Cuban sandwiches, ropa vieja, arroz con picadillo and bistec de palomilla. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. Sip on mojitos, smashes, mules, Cuban-inspired cocktails and martinis. Or just enjoy a simple Cuba Libre (rum and cola with lime).
Location: 223 E. Walnut St., Des Moines
Hours: Open Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; closed Sunday.
Clyde’s Fine Diner
At the helm of the modern Clyde’s Fine Diner is owner and chef Chris Hoffman, a Chicago transplant who is transforming simple classics into something new. The menu gives a fine dining touch to diner fare with dishes such as steak frites — house fries buried in creamed spinach, pickled mushrooms and hanger steak — and the CB & J — a grown-up PB & J made with cashew butter, smoked apple jam and raclette on house-made whole grain bread. Be sure to try the seasonal soft serve, which often comes in funky flavors like Lucky Charms cereal.
Location: 111 E. Grand Ave. Suite 111, Des Moines
Hours: Open Tuesday through Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.
Chef and co-owner Suman Hoque opened his Iowa-focused restaurant in the East Village more than nine years ago. The constantly changing menu adapts as ingredients come in season so those bright, fresh flavors shine through. Look for dishes such as local grass-fed steak, salmon en papillote, lamb shank, and a vegetarian dish that can become vegan upon request.
Location: 303 E. Fifth St., Des Moines
Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
The Iowa Taproom
This ode to Iowa beers features 120 brews on tap in a beer hall setting replete with a bar top from the 1880s salvaged from a bar in Jewell, reclaimed barn wood, historic signs, grain bins, machinery parts, salvaged furniture and more. Customers can swill beer with Iowa ham balls, fried cheese balls, or wings swaddled in one of nine sauces. Other options include a barbecue meatloaf, breaded pork tenderloin, and burgers, burgers, burgers.
Location: 215 E. Third St., #100, Des Moines
Hours: Open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest in 2009 Steve Logsdon serves his elevated four-course prix fixe that changes weekly at Lucca. A pasta course and mains such as salmon, eggplant, scallops or a New York strip steak anchor the menu. During lunch, spiced chicken sandwiches, light salads and ricotta and spinach rigatoni lead the way.
Location: 420 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.
Osaka, Japan-native Mike Miyabi stepped down from his role as owner of Miyabi 9, but the restaurant still serves Japanese favorites for Des Moines patrons. Diners can try udon noodles, katsu, teriyaki favorites, and yakitori dishes, but the main draw here is the sushi and sashimi.
Location: 512 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner, and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner.
Nosh Cafe & Eatery
This frozen yogurt shop and fast-casual eatery offers healthy bowls, smoothies, bagels and toasts, along with quick grab-and-go items. Frozen yogurt sold by the ounce in cups comes topped with more than 70 different kinds of nuts, candies, sauces, fruits and cupcake crumbs called Molly’s Middles from Molly’s Cupcakes. Or order a shake with a healthy boost of superfoods. Frozen custards and sorbets are also available.
Location: 424 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Olympic Flame Restaurant
For more than 30 years, this East Village eatery served a big fat Greek menu of gyros, flaming saganaki, crispy spanikopita, dolmathes, and pasticcio. Diners should save room for baklava. Belly dancers can sometimes be seen weaving their way through the dining room.
Location: 514 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Contact: 515-243-4361; Facebook
This restaurant in East Village serves Lebanese fare in a vibrant, cozy space. Mediterranean dishes here include hummus, baba ganoush, gyros, falafel and shawarma. Try the kibbeh plate — a baked patty made with ground sirloin, bulghar, onion and Lebanese spices with laban (yogurt), hummus and pita; or grape leaves stuffed with rice, garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomato, parley and onion.
Location: 313 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 8 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Contact: 515-288-3151; Facebook
Plain Talk Books & Coffee
For the more literary-minded, Plain Talk offers organic coffee and locally sourced food made with produce from Raccoon Forks Farms in Redfield, as well as new and used books, records, and local art. Customers can order from the prologue (drinks), chapter one (breakfast) or chapter two (sandwiches).
Location: 602 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Open Sunday and Monday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Contact: 515-243-0815; Facebook
Railroad Bill’s Dining Car
This quirky little spot offers breakfast and lunch dishes such as biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, burgers and sandwiches. After filling up at Railroad Bill’s, take a spin around the attached antique store. A full line of classic sodas are available, and there’s a sizable kids’ menu to boot.
Location: 621 Des Moines St., Des Moines
Hours: Open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
Contact: 515-243-0247; Facebook
Zombie Burger + Drink Lab
Gaining national attention for its wildly popular burgers with zombie references, Zombie Burger offers a wide selection of ingredients for burger personalization. Customers can choose a specialty such as the Dawn of the Dead with bacon, egg, American cheese, red onion and mayo or the vegetarian Mushroom Apocalypse with a breaded mushroom cheese croquette, and order a cocktail or a thick, rich milkshake with a basket of chili cheese fries.
Location: 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.