A pizza slice 'as big as your face' for lunch in Des Moines? Yes, please.
The Harris Poll conducted a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults about their favorite foods. Pizza came in first for the second time in a row. 10Best Editors, USA TODAY 10Best
Quick. Affordable. Larger than life?
Papa Keno’s, the Drake University neighborhood's newest pizza shop, promises online to dish slices “as big as your face” to ‘za craving Iowans. And it delivers.
Opening earlier this year at 2330 University Ave., the space formerly occupied by Planet Sub, Papa Keno’s serves sandwiches, pizzas, salads and desserts for the crowd looking for a quick bite in a welcoming dining room.
For this week’s Hot Spot, the Register visited the sports-friendly pizza chain for a bite of lunch. A slice of what we saw …
The special: Papa Keno’s offers counter service in a seat-yourself dining room that features corner booths, a bar (topped with repurposed Knapp Center floor) and community high-top seating. Customers self-serve fountain drinks (Pepsi products) after order at the counter and taking a number.
For lunch, the restaurant offers an affordable and filling special: $6.99 for a pizza slice (as big as your head, remember?), two breadsticks or a salad and a drink. That special runs until 3 p.m., when the price increases to $9.95. Ordering a slice of pepperoni pizza with sticks, my meal was out in about eight minutes.
Co-workers driving you mad with holiday cheer? Sneak out and grab a quick lunch to go or stay and and watch football highlights on one of the room’s flat-screen televisions.
The slice: Yes, the pizza meets the “big as your face” promise — and then some. The crust offers a nice, bitter crunch juxtaposed to a sweet red sauce and heavy layer of cheese. It’s so big that Papa Keno’s staff serves it cut into miniature slices that are easily enjoyed.
Sure, it takes away a bit of the “fold it and stuff in your face” New York slice experience, but the cuts make the slice easier to tackle without making a mess (another bonus for the lunch crowd).
For next time: Papa Keno’s offers a quick, tasty lunch spot for pizza lovers, but that’s not all. Full pizzas come in 18-inch or 26-inch offerings, which means a return group trip is necessary in the future.
Plus, the menu offers sandwiches such as an Italian or club, too, for the person in your group who doesn’t want pizza (there’s always one, right?). The bar pours Iowa beers such as Toppling Goliath or Exile on tap, teaming pints with trivia on Wednesday nights — providing more than one excuse to head back to Papa Keno’s soon.
If you go …
Where: 2330 University Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.