Closed Des Moines restaurants: The metro lost these eateries during the first 6 months of 2019
A look at business trends hitting the Des Moines metro area. Wochit
Foodies in the Des Moines metro have had plenty of new restaurants in 2019 to explore.
But Des Moines also saw some eateries that closed their doors in the past six months. About half as many restaurants closed as new restaurants opened.
From stalwart burger joints to landmark Italian restaurants to flash-in-the-pan moments, Des Moines lost some of its dining gems.
Here are are the eateries we bid adieu to in 2019.
Big City Burgers and Greens
400 Locust St., #193
Harry and Pam Bookey started Big City Burgers and Greens in 2010 in the former space of Battani's pizza restaurant. The restaurant, part of Two Rivers Hospitality, was known for its salads, burgers, wraps and fries. It closed in May to focus on catering.
Butcher's BBQ & Brews
300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy., #170
Butcher's BBQ & Brews was opened in July 2018 by Aaron Brown and Corey Butcher. The restaurant served Texas-style smoked meats including brisket, ribs, chicken, pulled pork and sausage. It closed in June for rebranding.
Capes Kafe in the Des Moines Social Club
900 Mulberry St.
Both a comic book store and a coffee and doughnut shop, Capes Kafe moved into the Des Moines Social Club from its Beaverdale location in 2014. Scenic Route Bakery is opening a location in the space in July.
The Fighting Burrito
117 Welch Ave., Ames
After 14 years of making burritos and other Mexican-inspired specialties in Ames, The Fighting Burrito closed its doors in May. Another location continues to operate at 309 13th Street in Des Moines.
Krunkwich Ramen House and Los Banditos Hot Dog Speakeasy
2721 Ingersoll Ave.
Krunkwich Ramen House and Los Banditos Hot Dog Speakeasy closed abruptly in June. Owned by Sam Auen, Krunkwich was known for its funky fusion ramen and creative tot creations while Los Banditos focused on hot dogs. Both menus featured lots of vegan options.
2811 SE 14th St., Des Moines
Luigi's Italian Restaurante was a comfort food favorite, opened in 2013 by Baggio Qeremi and Tony Veseli, offering a menu of affordable Italian-American classics like pizza, pasta dishes, appetizers, salads and sub sandwiches for lunch and dinner. The restaurant closed near the beginning of the new year.
Saison Kitchen + Pub and Blue Tomato Kitchen
6611 University Ave., #100, Windsor Heights
Casual restaurant Saison Kitchen + Pub opened in February 2017 in the former Mustard's space — a collaboration between David Baruthio and Mike Crownover. And in September 2019, Baruthio decided to resurrect the Blue Tomato Kitchen menu in the space. Both restaurants closed to make way for Al Punto Argentine Restaurant.
1430 2nd Ave.
Sambetti's had a rich history in Des Moines that spanned decades. The sudden and tragic loss of Paul Strome, Sambetti's owner for 40 years, led to the closing of this landmark Italian restaurant known for its sausage sandwiches, burgers with crinkle fries, hot wings and free popcorn.
Tanner's Bar and Grill
1975 N. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny
Tanner's Bar & Grill was a sports bar in Ankeny — part of a regional chain originating in Kansas — known for "Boogas," or burgers, chicken tenders and jumbo wings. It opened in December 2017 and closed just over a year later.
Vivian's Diner + Drinks
Kirkwood Building, 400 Walnut St.
Vivian'opened in September 2016. After over two years in operation, it closed its doors in January. Owned by Jeff Duncan, the restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner and was known for its Cajun mac and cheese, brunch options and fried chicken sandwiches. The restaurant space remains vacant.
The Wine Experience
Inside Younkers at Jordan Creek Town Center, West Des Moines
The Wine Experience was part of Jordan Creek Town Center for 14 years, opening in August 2004. Owned by Tom and Lane Henry, the restaurant served Reuben sandwiches, handmade pizza, lobster bisque and assorted fine cheeses to accompany its large wine selection. The restaurant closed in March.
Zimm's Food & Spirits
3124 Ingersoll Ave.
Another long-running restaurant to close in 2019, Zimm's Food & Spirits was known for being a great place to watch games on TV or play pool, darts and foosball. It shuttered at the end of May. Menu offerings include apps like wings and nachos, burgers, sandwiches and chargrilled pizzas. The restaurant was owned by Doug Zimmerman who bought it during the floods of 1993.
Zombie Burger + Shake Lab
1550 N. Ankeny Blvd., Ste., Ankeny
The Ankeny location of Zombie Burger + Shake Lab closed at the end of January after a 3-year run in Ankeny. The gourmet burger and milkshake restaurant invaded Ankeny in May 2016, infecting local residents and visitors alike with the fever for its unique take on burgers and shakes. Other locations still operate the undead theme in downtown Des Moines, Jordan Creek and Coralville
Did your favorite restaurant close and you don't see it on this list? Contact Brian Carlson to have it added.