17 ways to brunch in Des Moines
Behind the scenes at a popular Des Moines restaurant, and a chat with the chef.
Brunch — that heavenly juxtaposition of breakfast and lunch — makes an easy way to get the weekend started without worrying about whether to have eggs or a sandwich. Both can be found on these 17 brunch menus in Des Moines.
Brunch started as a way to get the morning started before a hunt in Europe in the late 1800s and later made its way to the United States as the “varsity meal” that hungover college students ate, according to Farha Ternikar, a sociologist who wrote “Brunch: A History.” During Prohibition, the rich liked their day drinking, so Ternikar says they paired mimosas and bloody Marys with bacon, sausage and eggs. By the 1950s, brunch became a meal the ladies who lunch indulged in, according to the Washington Post.
Brunch, the way it’s served now, came about in the 1980s when hotels started offering the lazy meal buffet style. Now brunch comes in all forms with an array of dishes, from standard breakfast fare to tacos, served on the menu or in a buffet line. Those bloody Marys and mimosas remain the staple cocktails of a standard brunch, and in Des Moines, you can make your own or go for a gussied up version composed by a bartender.
INTERACTIVE: Take a tour of four amazing brunches in Des Moines
Here, a look at 17 ways to brunch in Des Moines.
644 18th St.; 515-244-1353
Tony Lemmo converted Café di Scala into Aposto at the beginning of February, and that new venture brings a curated menu for brunch once a month. Make reservations online for the brunch every first Sunday of the month. Try the Scala egg scramble, a divine mix of caramelized onions, roasted peppers, spinach, cremini mushrooms and creamed leeks with roasted herb potatoes on the side, or the biscuits and gravy served on a ciabatta from South Union Bread. The $25 prix fixe meal comes with dessert, and the sweet tooth gets a knockout punch from the flourless torte with a caramel almond brittle for the crust. The banana pastry cream with strawberries and an Italian pizelle is a lighter option.
1430 Locust. St.; 515-421-4500
For brunch, expect to dine on lemon and ricotta pancakes, a bacon and banana waffle, breakfast pasta with bacon and a fried egg or one of three breakfast pizzas. Head to the bloody Mary bar for $10 and choose your vodka, gin or tequila and then your mix and garnishes. Pick up brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
200 10th St., 515-257-4744
Head to the Southern-tinged Bubba every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a biscuit Benedict with creamy collard greens and shaved ham, chicken fried steak and eggs, Texas breakfast tacos stuffed with sausage and scrambled eggs, and chicken and waffles. No brunch at Bubba is complete without beignets.
904 First St., Redfield; 515-833-2927
It’s worth the drive to Redfield to dine at Harvey’s Diner & Pub in Redfield for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. A smoked turkey hash with sweet potatoes and a fried egg, smothered boneless pork chop with home fries and onion gravy and brisket Benedict are enough to entice anyone.
721 E. First St., Grimes; 515-986-1900
For $14.99, The Radish serves a brunch on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find eggs, bacon, sausage, rolls, fruit, breakfast pizza, prime rib casserole, pan-fried chicken and made-to-order omelets. Mimosas and bloody Marys make the brunch more festive.
1802 N. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny; 515-963-9632
Head to Ankeny’s massive The Fletcher from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays for a buffet of carved meats, fresh fruit, peel-and-eat shrimp, smoked salmon, pastries, pasta dishes, made-to-order omelets, custom pancakes and French toast.
1312 Locust St.; 515-283-1312
If thoughts of wandering around seven (yes, seven) stations to collect your brunch items sounds daunting, then by all means stay away from the Bombshell Brunch at Americana every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There will be more room for the diners who clamor to this busy brunch. Start with the bloody Mary and mimosa bar, where signs recommend recipes for the perfect libation. Spicy Cheetos, little smokies and pork rinds are just some of the condiments that can fill your glass. Forget made-to-order omelets. Instead step up to order a grilled cheese sandwich that uses Baker Boy Texas toast and mayonnaise as the secret ingredient. Then grab a plate and head to the kitchen to find the line for the hot breakfast and lunch items such as chorizo stratta, cheesy hash browns, smoked brisket hash, chicken and spinach crepes and cinnamon doughnuts. You can’t be full yet because you need to make a brunch taco from the curated menu or the mashed potato bar. The DeBurgo mashed potato recipe was spot on.
4040 University Ave.; 515-777-3416
Head to Louie’s Wine Dive for brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Order up dishes such as the mac daddy omelet with mac and cheese, prosciutto and marinated tomatoes or drunk French toast with a spiced pecan whipped cream. No trip to a wine bar is complete without bubbles for brunch, so make it a classic mimosa, a “Lou”mosa with grape juice or even a hibiscus concoction for $5 for the glass or $9 for a carafe if you buy an entree.
2815 Beaver Ave.; 515-255-5787
Order an omelet Lorraine with bacon, shallots and Gruyere cheese or branch out with a salmon and avocado omelet for a California feel. Go very French with the crepe Bayonne with its smoked ham, Gruyère, béchamel sauce and basil. Every entrée order lands two a la carte items, so pick the peach cobbler coffee cake, heavenly sour cream potato cake or Holdeman Farm capon sausage. Le Jardin only has a beer and wine license, so they get clever with the cocktails with the Le Jardin blackberry-mint spritzer with white Bordeaux or the New York Avenue spritzer with Parallele 45 rose. Go for a touch or France with Le Jardin’s brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
210 10th St.; 515-288-0268
Head to French-influenced Django on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the brunch menu that includes Le Grand Méchant with house-made sausage, Niman Ranch ham, bacon, fried egg and Cheddar cheese on a buttermilk biscuit; Nutella-stuffed crépes with strawberries and vanilla whipped cream; or mushroom crépes that combine spinach, Swiss chard and goat cheese roasted with red pepper cream sauce and petite greens. Django doesn’t have a cork fee, so bring your own bubbles and order a carafe of orange juice to make your own mimosas.
407 E. Fifth St.; 515-556-0571
Head to Tacopocalype on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Brunchpocalypse with dishes such as the biscuits and gravy experience with poblano potatoes, two fried or scrambled eggs and curtido, a fermented cabbage relish; the ICBINBB, also known as the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Breakfast Burrito, with those poblano potatoes, bacon chorizo, scrambled eggs and chihuahua cheese rolled into a large flour tortilla and smothered in gravy with house ground breakfast sausage; or the breakfast banh mi with Korean beef, kimchi, sriracha aioli and a fried egg on a crusty French roll. No liquor license at Tacopocalypse means you can bring your own beverages as long as you can open them and pour them in your own glasses.
2837 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-244-0790
Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on new American fare at Star Bar. Recommended? Shrimp and cheese grits with two eggs or a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and either ham or sausage on a biscuit with breakfast potatoes. Pair them up with the restaurant’s martinis such as the Hot Blooded with Absolut pepper vodka and bloody Mary mix and celery.
900 Mulberry St.; 515-244-5000
Head to Mexican brunch buffet at Malo on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $16.99 with all-you-can-eat tacos, made-to-order burritos and omelets, chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy and more. Do order the Malo Mary with a smoky bacon-rimmed glass.
1003 Locust St.; 515-248-1780
Order off the brunch menu at Centro every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for dishes such as a spinach frittata with a menagerie of cheeses including ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella; a Centro breakfast pizza topped with scrambled eggs, Graziano Italian sausage, green pepper, mushrooms, red onion and cheese sauce; a rich stuffed French toast topped with fresh strawberries and whipped vanilla mascarpone cheese; or a crab cake Benedict layered with Niman Ranch ham, a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. The buffet here features a bloody Mary bar with its 24 compartments of toppings. Shove house-made mozzarella, pepperoni, three types of olives, bacon, cocktail onions, pickled vegetables, green beans, Brussels sprouts, balsamic marinated mushrooms and artichokes in your pint glass with vodka, and then pour one of three mixes over the top for $7. You can go back for more condiments (and mix) all you want.
2932 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-282-8085
Consider the brunch at Eatery A as the place the ladies who lunch frequent every Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Composed dishes such as a Belgian waffle with salted honey semifreddo, shrimp and creamy polenta, a hanger steak hash with poached eggs and lemon ricotta pancakes make up the menu here. Do try the savory Croque Madame bread pudding for a decadent way to start off the day. Try the sweet and tart Saint of Morning with St. Germain, champagne and rosemary simple sugar or the Peace of Mind with rye whiskey, chamomile honey, Lillet and lemon.
3100 Forest Ave.; 515-279-3300
Who knew that barbecue and brunch would go hand in hand? Jethro’s throws down its version every Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Go insane with Spike’s breakfast nachos replete with waffle fries, scrambled eggs and barbecued meat of your choice, or try the Des Moines hash with bacon, sausage and ham melted with cheddar cheese. There’s even an entire section of the menu dedicated to toppings for hash browns.
3506 University Ave.; 515-255-0433
More of a hangout for college students, this hidden treasure serves up smothered potatoes topped with ham, onions, peppers, chili, cheese and two eggs as well as corned beef hash topped with eggs. Head to the Library every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. You’ll have to wash down those eggs with one of the 40 beers on tap.