Defuse a bomb for a free dessert or drink at this new downtown Des Moines restaurant
A new restaurant that's hidden away inside a games complex in downtown Des Moines has just opened its doors, serving lunch and dinner for competitive people who like a challenge.
Elixir Pub and Grub opened inside Escape Chambers Des Moines at 338 SW 6th Street in downtown Des Moines serving dinner five nights a week and lunch on the weekends.
The grand opening is on Saturday, Feb. 23.
"The restaurant concept has been something that's been in the works since 2015," said gamemaster Aaron Larimer, 34. "The most commonly-received feedback is that we needed to have food to go with our bar. We thought this was the right time to have a food side, especially for gatherings and teambuilding outings."
The kitchen is headed by Nick Stiles, 39, who created food in California for 20 years
"Since our concept is all about escape rooms, each dish has a kitschy name," Stiles said of the approachable menu that's broken up into appetizers, flatbread pizzas, hot dogs and sandwiches, salads and desserts. "It's all about creative comfort food."
A breakfast option is in the works for the future.
Here's a rundown of the new food menu at Elixir:
Appetizers and share plates:
- Things that make you go hummmmmus: Peppadew hummus with pine nuts, paprika, olive oil and chives, served with pita chips ($7.99)
- The 3-Clues: Sliders in a choice of turkey and Swiss, ham and cheddar or barbecue brisket ($9.99; brisket, $11.99)
- Time's Up Tacos: Three tacos in a choice of barbecue brisket with sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, chicken with pico de gallo or gyro with tzatziki ($12.99)
- The Simon Says: Smoked rope sausage served with a choice of two sauces: barbecue, sweet and sour, bourbon Sriracha or honey mustard ($8.99)
- You're on Gyro-n Nachos: A nacho-style gyro with pita chips, gyro meat, onion, tomatoes, cucumber, tzatziki and a chimichurri garnish (half order, $8.99; full order, $14.99)
- Taters Gonna Tate: Red potatoes, shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped bacon and green onions ($5.99)
- Bucket o' Balls: Homemade beef and Graziano sausage meatballs with poblano peppers, onion, garlic, corn tortilla chips with marinara and sweet and smoky barbecue ($8.99)
- Shrimply Delicious: Shrimp stew with roasted red peppers, coconut milk, shrimp, onion, garlic, cilantro, diced tomatoes, Sriracha and lime juice served with toasted dipping bread ($12.99)
- Bowl of Chili ($6.99)
- Black Ops Brisket: Barbecue brisket with mozzarella, sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, caramelized onions and diced pickles ($14.99)
- Pizza of the Gyro: Gyro meat, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, kalamata olives and mozzarella ($15.99)
- Better than the Rest-o Pesto: Chicken, pesto, mozzarella and pine nuts ($13.99)
- Movie Night Margherita: San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt ($8.99)
- The Honeymoon Sweet: Black Oak smoked rope sausage, sweet peppers, San Marzano tomato sauce, and mozzarella ($11.99)
- The Grizzly Adams: Homemade meatballs, gyro meat, brisket, Graziano sausage, San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella ($17.99)
Hot dogs and sandwiches
All hot dogs and sandwiches are served with a choice of potato salad, coleslaw or kettle chips.
- The Dapper Dog: An all-American hot dog served with American cheese ($6.99)
- The Netl-Axe and Chill-i Dog: Served with shredded cheddar ($7.99)
- The Capone: Traditional Chicago do with Giardiniera peppers, onion, tomatoes, pickles and mustard on a poppy seed bun ($8.99)
- The Tupac: L.A. street dog with bacon, grilled poblano peppers, caramelized onions, mayo and roasted jalapenos ($7.99)
- The Log Splitter: Rope sausage, green pepper, onion, maple syrup and bacon bits ($10.99)
- Pesto Change-O: Chicken pesto panini served on a Filone hoagie ($10.49)
- Worth the B(risk)et: Premium barbecue brisket panini with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and mozzarella on a Filone hoagie ($12.49)
- The Fowl Play: Turkey Reuben panini with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing served on marble bread ($11.99)
- Lock & Key ham and cheese: Served on a Filone hoagie ($9.99)
- Mr. Moneybags: Homemade meatball and marinara on a Filone hoagie with shredded mozzarella
- Atomic Veggie burger: A patty made from black beans, carrots, onions, garlic and rolled oats, served open-faced on naan bread with chopped romaine, Roma tomatoes and garlic aioli ($7.99; vegan option available)
- Never Been Feta: Classic Mediterranean salad with romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, pita chips, Greek vinaigrette and feta ($10.99)
- Et Tu, Brute?: Classic Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, Caesar, Parmesan and croutons ($8.99; add chicken for $2)
- Cobb & Robbers: Turkey, diced hard-boiled eggs, tomato, onions, cucumber, croutons and a choice of ranch, Caesar or Greek vinaigrette ($9.99)
- Maple-Blueberry Flapjack Cake: Served with whipped cream ($8.99; ice cream, $1.49 extra)
- Beez Neez Brownie Sundae: Brownie, vanilla, ice cream, candied walnuts and honey drizzle ($7.99)
- Annihilation Station Brownie Bomb: Bomb-shaped chocolate brownie ($3.49; ice cream, $1.49 extra)
If you're unafraid of embarrassment, you can try the 'Annihilation Station.'
Order a shot or the Brownie Bomb dessert — a bomb-shaped brownie — from your server or bartender.
Your prize is then loaded into a wall-mounted "bomb" with a timer. You then have two minutes to figure out the six-digit code before the bomb blows up and you lose the prize.
Every table in the restaurant is a game, being themed on escape rooms and equipped with games located on the tabletops or on adjacent walls.
In fact, the entire building is one big game challenge with ever-changing pub puzzle cards — diners search for answers to 10 clues on a fill-in-the-blank card to win prizes from a food or drink discount to a free group game booking.
The 22,000-square-foot complex sports two bars, escape chambers, a game deck with billiards and lumber ax throwing.
EC Tactical Laser Tag was located in the building, but it is being relocated to another building nearby and being renamed Battlefield Des Moines. In its place, a 9-hole create-your-own mini golf course will be ready for in a few months. You'll be able to create a challenging golf course for your friends or colleagues. But don't make it too hard — you also have to play your own creation.
There are plenty of beverages available with 24 assorted beers on tap and craft cocktails to boot. And get ready for James Bond-style martinis to be shaken with use of a tube not unlike what bank tellers use.
Elixir Pub and Grub
Location: Escape Chambers, 338 SW 6th St., Des Moines
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.