These are my picks for the best brunch spots in town. I’ve lived in Des Moines for most of my life and take an infinite amount of pride in my home city. Aside from bragging about sharing a birth place with Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame, I also find plenty of time to brag about the food — starting with:
The Gateway Market and Cafe
Location: 2002 Woodland Avenue, on the corner of MLK
Situated in the historic Sherman Hill district, the Gateway was one of the very first new grocers to open in order to serve downtown in many years. The attached cafe boasts a bistro menu, and is the only place in town that I know of where you can get authentic Japanese style ramen! The atmosphere is lively but cozy, especially if you like to stay warm on a winter day by the fire. There is an eclectic feeling to their menu so that you could have something different every day of the week. The Philly cheese steak omelet is particularly scrumptious, and the coffee they brew is to die for.
The Ritual Cafe
Location: Downtown Des Moines on 13th street between Grand and Locust
Just a few blocks over from the visually stunning Des Moines library, The Ritual Cafe was one of the first places of its kind that I discovered growing up. The tables are lovely, some of them containing beautifully painted tarot cards under shellack. They offer a delicious vegan and vegetarian menu ranging from skillfully crafted paninis to hemp nut cookies that are the most divine chocolatey thing I’ve ever tasted. One of the owners, Denise, brews up some of the best Chai in town– and by far the best Mexican hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
Location: Downtown Des Moines, 512 E. Grand Ave
In view of the gorgeous Des Moines capitol building, Miyabi 9 is a lot of local foodies’ best kept secret. Sushi may not be what you think of when you hear the word “brunch” but a lot of Iowans are redefining the term because they just can’t stay away! Chef Mike Miyabi owns several other very successful restaurants around the country, and I have to say we are lucky to have his talent here in Des Moines! The setting is romantic, with lovely artifacts from his homeland displayed proudly on the walls and in the windows. The sushi is crafted so artfully that I haven’t had it’s like since I visited Tokyo itself back in ’07. He also serves up several dishes that are considered Japanese comfort food like tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), which are a great diversion for those who find sushi just isn’t their thing.
There you have it; next time you’re looking for a new and different brunch spot, be sure to drop by and give these places a try. If you’re anything like me, they’ll keep you coming back for more again and again.