This city's culinary scene is doing some amazing things. With James Beard Award nominees, award-winning barbecue, and a fantastic farmers' market, this Iowa city's culinary creators keep climbing to new heights.


The first half of 2018 has been busy on the Des Moines dining scene, with at least 17 new restaurants opening.

From Puerto Rican food to barbecue and pizza to sushi, use this list to help find a new restaurant near you.

Interested in Iowa food news? Follow @briantaylorcarlson on Facebook, @BriinDSM on Twitter and @briindsm on Instagram.

1884 Coffee Company

Located in a 70-year-old brick building that's also home to Reclaimed Rails Brewing Co., 1884 Coffee Company is named for the year Bondurant was founded. Sip on freshly-brewed espresso and nitro cold brew while nibbling on cake pops, scones and muffins. There are plenty of dairy-free options available for your coffee enjoyment.

Location: 101 Main St. S.E., Bondurant

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Contact: (515) 494-7013Facebook

More: Bondurant building lives double life: Coffee by day, craft beer by night

Billy Vee’s Italian Restaurant

At the end of 2017, Billy Vee's moved from Panora to Valley Junction, bringing its made-from-scratch Italian specialties to the metro. Enjoy appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza and pasta specialties like Pasta con Polpetti — tender meatballs in a slow-simmered ragú. 

Location: 304 5th St., West Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 9:30 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays

Contact: (515) 255-2000; Facebook

More: Billy Vee's Italian restaurant has moved to Valley Junction from Panora

Copper Kitchen

This new family restaurant in Pleasant Hill has plenty of variety on its menu. Enjoy breakfast items all day like omelets, skillets, pancakes, French toast and waffles. Dinners range from burgers and sandwiches to pasta and seafood dishes to "All American" dinners like beef liver with bacon and onions or country fried steak.

Location: 1225 Copper Creek Drive, Pleasant Hill

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 214-1855Facebook

More: Pleasant Hill's new restaurant fills old Okoboji Grill space

Gastro Grub & Pub

For food truck fare on steroids, try this new gastropub in Waukee. The buttermilk fried chicken sandwich is a popular item, along with Deburgo poutine. Ingredients rotate depending on what's in season locally. Be sure to save room for the "coffee and doughnuts" — an espresso pot de crème with chantilly cream and hazelnut praline served alongside cinnamon-sugar doughnuts.

Location: 1378 East Hickman Road, Waukee

Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays

Contact: (515) 300-2460;; Facebook

More: New gastropub in Waukee is dream come true for woman with life-threatening illness

Hana Ramen Sushi

This new sushi and ramen house located across from Jordan Creek Town Center serves modern Japanese cuisine in an equally modern atmosphere. Try a lunch combo with your choice of two or three rolls from a lengthy list of options served with miso soup or ginger salad. Happy hours are Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with plenty of food and drink specials.

Location: 7450 Bridgewood Blvd., #205, West Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 222-9998;; Facebook

Restaurant Review: Hana brings rich, soulful ramen to the metro

Happy Burrito

A build-your-own concept, diners choose the wrapping and then the filling. Each order comes with crispy tortilla chips and a trio of mild to spicy salsas.

Location: 525 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.; closed Sundays

More: Mexican restaurant with build-your-own burritos opens in East Village

The Hills Bar & Grill 

The Hills Bar & Grill is a new neighborhood restaurant with a casual, family-friendly vibe and happy hour specials.

Location: 4830 Maple Drive, Pleasant Hill

Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays

Contact: (515) 214-2347Facebook

Lola’s Fine Kitchen

For a blend of Filipino and Pakistani foods, bring your appetites to Lola's in Ankeny for a taste of family recipes passed down through several generations of the Shah family. At this fast-casual restaurant, you pick the bowl: pancit (stir-fried mung bean noodles with vegetables) biriyani, dried fruit and warm spices, jasmine rice, toasted garlic cauliflower and quinoa "rice," or low-carb cabbage noodle pancit. Then you add the toppings, sauces and flavorings you want.

Location: 1615 S.W. Main St., Ste. 106, Ankeny

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays

Contact: (515) 289-9302;; Facebook

More: This new Prairie Trail restaurant is bringing Filipino and Pakistani food to Ankeny

Mama Mia’s

Steps away from Principal Park, this new pizzeria serves up New York-style slices and whole pies, sandwiches and stromboli. Fast-casual for lunch, table service is provided for dinner. Try the house specialty — Mama's Stuffed Meatballs, filled with mozzarella cheese, breaded and deep-fried, served with red sauce for dipping.

Location: 550 S.W. 9th St., Ste. 4108, Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 303-2366Facebook

More: This new downtown Des Moines pizza joint is putting Steak de Burgo on a pie

Ninja Hibachi Express and Sushi

For Japanese food in Clive, try this cozy little spot. Whether you like sushi, tempura or non-seafood items, this place has something for all Japanese food lovers. Splurge on one of 20 specialty rolls or go for some fresh, simple sashimi. A full line of appetizers, soups and salads are available to create your own small plate buffet.

Location: 15950 Hickman Road., Clive

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 987-5833;; Facebook

El Patron Mexican Restaurant

This Mexican restaurant is serving up plenty of traditional Mexican specialties like Fajitas Durango-style — an assortment of chicken, shrimp, steak and chorizo with a cheese quesadilla on top. Look for daily food and margarita specials.

Location: 1511 S. Union St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 am.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 305-9436Facebook

Puerto Rico Restaurant

Tucked away in a little shopping mall in Windsor Heights is a taste of the island of Puerto Rico where you can feast on empanadas, mofongos (meat-filled deep-fried plantain balls served with dipping sauce) and arroz con gandules y pollo (a chicken and rice dish with pigeon peas). But be sure to save room for tembleque, a jiggly coconut dessert pudding. 

Location: 6611 University Ave., Ste. 101, Windsor Heights

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays

Contact: (787) 432-3045; Facebook

More: New Puerto Rican restaurant to open in Windsor Heights in former space of The Last Stand

Railroad Bill’s Dining Car

New to the East Village dining scene, this quirky little spot offers breakfast and lunch dishes like 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: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday

Contact: (515) 243-0247; Facebook

Taste of Texas in Iowa

Ankeny's newest barbecue joint offers juicy hickory-smoked meats cooked in an open fire pit smoker and served in a Texas-themed atmosphere. Beef brisket is available in platters and sandwiches, along with pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs and two kinds of sausage. Try the jalapeño sausage that's shipped to the restaurant from San Antonio. Burnt ends are an additional $2.

Location: 711 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays

Contact: (515) 964-1740; tasteoftexasiniowa.comFacebook

More: First look: This new Ankeny restaurant is bringing Texas barbecue to the metro

Truman’s KC Pizza Tavern

Get the Royal treatment at Truman's with its hand-tossed pizza, sandwiches and appetizers like the cheese balls — hand-breaded pepper jack cheese bites. A limited breakfast menu is available on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Monday through Friday, daily specials are featured for $7.99 including clam chowder and chicken and dumplings.

Location: 400 S.E. 6th St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Contact: (515) 214-2759; trumanstavern.comFacebook

More: Royal welcome awaits at Kansas City-themed sports bar in downtown Des Moines

Wisco Grub & Pub

For Wisconsin sports aficionados, this is the place for you. Shareable appetizers like chicken wings with mild, medium or hot Wisco buffalo sauce make the menu, along with a long list of entrees. Fill your belly with a Belly Buster Burger — a grilled half-pound burger made from ground beef and pork belly topped with your choice of cheese, lettuce and tomato. Add a fried egg for $1 more.

Location: 3015 Merle Hay Road., #1A, Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 528-8069Facebook

More: Wisco Grub and Pub: A new sanctuary for Badger State natives


Woody’s Smoke Shack

Woody's Smoke Shack is back with all of the same award-winning smoked meats and sides people have come to expect from this little barbecue spot near Drake. 

Location: 2511 Cottage Grove Ave., Des Moines

  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays
  • Contact: (515) 277-0005;

More: Woody's Smoke Shack reopens with a new owner, same barbecue offerings

Donut King

Loyal fans and customers can enjoy all of the same doughnuts that Lou King offered for more than 40 years at the old West Des Moines location, including honey-dipped (glazed), chocolate-frosted, toasted coconut, long johns, pecan and chocolate rolls, and powdered and sprinkled doughnuts.

  • Locations: 3304 E. University Ave., Des Moines and 3802 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
  • Hours: University Avenue — Tuesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.; closed Mondays. Ingersoll Avenue/Bauder's – Tuesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays
  • Contact: University Avenue, (515) 274-9892; Ingersoll Avenue/Bauder's, (515) 255-1124;  Facebook

More: Return of the king: Donut King doughnuts available at 2 Des Moines locations

New Locations

1908 Draught House

The new location for 1908 Draught House in West Des Moines serves plenty of pub fare like chicken wings and onion strings. Fill up with pizzas, burgers and sandwiches like the Knock-U-Out chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese, pickled jalapeños, bufffalo sauce and spicy mayo on Texas toast. 

  • Location: 196 50th St., West Des Moines
  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Contact: (515) 224-4114;; Facebook

The Grumpy Goat Tavern

The newest locations of The Grumpy Goat Tavern in Ankeny and downtown Des Moines feature outdoor dining areas and a menu with something for everyone including pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and steak dinners.

  • Locations: 810 E. First St., Ankeny and 1303 Walnut St., Des Moines
  • Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Contact: Ankeny — (515) 512-2100, Facebook. Des Moines – (515) 410-2107;

Gusto Pizza

Gusto's newest location opened recently in Clocktower Square. Choose your own toppings or order a signature pizza with names as unique as the toppings. 

  • Location: 2800 University Ave., West Des Moines
  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Contact: (515) 225-1881; gustopizzaco.comFacebook

More: Gusto Pizza to open fourth Des Moines area store

    Maria’s Mexican

    The newest Maria's location serves up nachos, tortas and burritos 24 hours a day except for Sundays. If you like tacos, this place has 13 different varieties including lengua, ground beef and shrimp. A breakfast menu is also available. Try some rolled taquitos with guacamole and cheese.

    Location: 5405 Douglas Ave., Des Moines

    Hours: Monday through Saturday, 24 hours; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.

    Contact: (515) 348-9859; Facebook

    Nick's Town House Tenderloins

    What's not to love when you have a crunchy disk of tender, juicy pork jutting comically from the sides of a much-too-small bun? The second location for this Des Moines favorite opened in West Glen at the end of December.

    • Location: 5465 Mills Civic Pkwy., Ste. 101, Des Moines
    • Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
    • Contact: (515) 225-1763;; Facebook

    More: This award-winning tenderloin sandwich shop opened a new location in West Glen

      Sweet Swirls Rolled Ice Cream

      For this frozen dessert treat that immigrated from Thailand, head to Sweet Swirls Rolled Ice Cream's newest location in Johnston.

      • Location: 5525 Merle Hay Road, Ste. 180, Johnston
      • Hours: Monday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
      • Contact: (515) 276-4171; sweetswirlsrolledicecream.comFacebook

      More: Ice cream shop rolls into Johnston

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        Taco Hangover

        With its newest location in Ankeny's Prairie Trail, Taco Hangover’s modern twist is like a gastropub version of a taquería. 

        • Location: 1631 S.W. Main St., Suite100, Ankeny
        • Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
        • Contact: 515-348-9062;; Facebook

        More: Taco Hangover expanding in the metro

        Teriyaki House Ankeny

        The newest iteration of the Teriyaki House continues in the fast-casual tradition of serving quick, healthy teriyaki bowls with a side salad and fountain drink. But there are plenty of appetizers and sushi rolls to round out the menu.

        • Location: 1802 S.E. Delaware Ave., Ste. 108, Ankeny
        • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; closed Sundays.
        • Contact: (515) 964-5055; teriyakihouse.coFacebook

        Twisted Pizzaria

        With a new location in Merle Hay Mall, there's more twistedness to love including the pulled pork pizza with barbecue sauce, smoked pulled pork, bacon, cheddar and mozzarella cheese.

        • Location: 3800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines.
        • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
        • Contact: (515) 252-9843; twistedpizzaria.comFacebook.

        Have you opened a restaurant in the metro in 2018 and do not see it on this list? Please contact Brian Carlson to be added.

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