This new pizza joint is bringing the taste of the Quad Cities to Des Moines
The dark malt in the thin, hand-tossed crust makes it light and crispy and gives it a sweet, nutty flavor. The thick layer of melted cheese locks the toppings into a savory blanket over the boldly-spiced sauce. And then it's cut with giant, razor-sharp shears into its signature strips that give diners a choice of a slice that's heavy on the toppings, heavy on the crust, or one that's just right. Yes. Quad Cities recipe pizza has finally come to Des Moines.
The dark malt in the thin, hand-tossed crust makes it light and crispy and gives it a sweet, nutty flavor. The thick layer of melted cheese locks the toppings into a savory blanket over the boldly-spiced sauce — and those toppings include a special kind of pork sausage infused with pungent fennel.
And then it's cut with giant, razor-sharp shears into its signature strips that give diners a choice of a slice that's heavy on the toppings, heavy on the crust, or one that's just right.
Yes. Quad Cities recipe pizza has finally come to Des Moines.
Hometown Pizza in West Des Moines opened its doors two weeks ago. It's the concept of husband-and-wife team, John and Katy Holman, and Katy's father, Brad Dopler, with roots in both the West Des Moines and Quad Cities areas. They chose the Grand Avenue location based on its family-oriented location by Hy-Vee and just two streets over from where John Holman grew up.
For ten years, Dopler cut his teeth in the pizza industry in the Quad Cities creating pies for Slugger's in Silvis, Illinois. Then he spent 30 years as a truck driver, saving every penny and retiring last year. This restaurant is his dream come true.
"I think I was 8 when he brought home our first pizza," Katy Holman said. "Our slogan is 'OMG, best pizza ever!' And that's because when I had my first slice, that's what I said."
The three of them recently moved to Des Moines with the birth of the Holmans' daughter and brought the unique pizza style that originated on the Iowa-Illinois border with them.
Quad Cities-style pizza is its own regional variation, and around 25 pizza restaurants in the Quad Cities area specialize in the pies. But pizza restaurants cannot use the phrase 'The Original Quad City Style Pizza' because Harris Pizza — a Quad Cities pizza joint that's been in operation for 50 years — currently holds the trademark to the title.
The dough and sauce are made fresh daily in this dine-in or carry-out pizza joint (delivery is available through Food Dudes). And the sausage is Dopler's own recipe, but based with Brewer pork sausage that is 93 percent fat-free. Hometown infuses the sausage with its combination of spices.
About 13 specialty pies that can be ordered size small (12-inch, cut into 10 strips) or large (16-inch, cut into 14 strips) are listed on the debut pizza menu, and Hometown already has instant favorites with customers, such as the Meat Lovers pie — layered with sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, bacon bits and mozzarella cheese.
The Buffalo Chicken Ranch pizza is another instant bestseller, made with chicken breast, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, mozzarella cheese and cheddar. Of course, guests can pick their own topping combinations for their own custom pies, too.
Another homage to the Quad Cities is Hometown's version of a taco pizza — the only pizza on theirs that is cut into traditional wedges rather than strips. Hometown uses taco-flavored sausage, mozzarella, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and seasoned taco chips in its recipe.
Flatbreads like the BBQ Chicken and Spicy Chicken and Spinach make an appearance, along with eight kinds of handmade calzones. An appetizer option to share is the Hometown Pizza Bread, baked with garlic butter and sprinkled with Romano and mozzarella cheeses and served with warm pizza sauce for dipping.
If you're not in the mood for pizza, choose from eight oven-baked rotini dishes, like Chicken Alfredo with white sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese or Garden pasta with sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and mozzarella. All pasta dishes are served with garlic bread.
Look for a lunch buffet to make an appearance in the months ahead.
Location: 1960 Grand Ave., Suite 1, West Des Moines
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Contact: (515) 223-8696; Facebook
Prices: Small pizzas (12-inch, cut into 10 strips), $12-$15, large pizzas (16-inch, cut into 14 strips), $21.50-$27.50, baked pastas, $8-$9, salads, $6-$8.25, calzones, $10-$12, pizza bread, $9-$14, flatbreads, $9, children's menu, $4.95.