Des Moines might be busy being an insurance haven, but it’s one destination not to be missed because it’s packed with attractions for any type of traveler. The city might not be a food destination yet, but it has something up its sleeve that might satisfy foodies.

As Iowa’s most populous city, travelers should expect a conglomeration of culture in Des Moines, and with that, a mixture of cuisines that makes for a mouth-watering gastronomical experience. The s’s in Des Moines are silent, but it is not quiet when it comes to surprises. In this city, everyone is ensured of a good – and food – time. Here are some fares to try that shout satisfaction and look good for an Instagram post.


Steak de Burgo

First in line, Des Moines’ famous food, Steak de Burgo, is a must-try. This Iowan specialty is not just rich in flavor but also in history. It was made famous by the now-closed Johnny and Kay's Restaurant in the late ‘40s, and since then became a staple in town.

The original recipe goes like this: saute garlic and basil in butter, then cook the beef tenderloin in the seasoned butter. It’s that simple, and other restaurants have made iterations to make the steak more appealing.

For those who want to try this traditional dish, Latin King Restaurant has them covered. This Italian dining landmark has been operating since the ‘40s, close to the time when Johnny and Kay's introduced Steak de Burgo. With that, one should expect an authentic experience with the Latin King’s version of the dish.

  • Latin King is located along Hubbell Avenue.
  • It serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday, and dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday.
  • Their 9 ounces of ‘Steak de Burgo’ follows the original recipe, and it can be had for $38 per serving.
  • They also have Italian favorites like ravioli, penne, chicken spiedini, and spaghetti, among others.
  • The restaurant offers wines and cocktails – perfect partners for that sumptuous steak.

When in Des Moines, travelers need not forget to have a share of the iconic Steak de Burgo.

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Giant Pork Tenderloin

As the largest pork producer in the United States, expect lots of pork-based food in Iowa. From barbecues to baby back ribs, it’s pork galore in Des Moines. One of the stars in the city’s food scene is Jethro’s BBQ’s giant pork tenderloin. So famous is that dish that it was featured in the Food Network and Travel Channel's Man v. Food.

  • Jethro’s has three locations in Des Moines: Park Avenue, Forest Ave. (under renovation), and University Ave.
  • The branches are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday, and until 10 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday.
  • Guests can try ‘The Jethro’ for $19.95. It's a hefty serving of the tenderloin, smoked pit ham, Carolina-style pulled pork and a thick slab of bacon. Yum!

The BBQ house is famous for its Adam Emmenecker Challenge. For $35.95, guests can have a ginormous serving of pickle, bun, pork tenderloin, chicken tenders, cheddar sauce, cheese cubes, Texas brisket, smoked bacon, cheeseburger, and a pound of waffle fries. The catch: diners must finish it in 15 minutes.

Up for the challenge? Even Adam Richman wasn’t able to succeed.

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Crab Rangoon Pizza

Fong’s Pizza is famous for its famous Crab Rangoon pizza. For their original creation, the diner filled the fried dumplings with cream cheese, onions, seasonings, and surimi. The dumplings are then put on the crust spread with cream cheese and topped with green onions, mozzarella, surimi, asiago cheese, wontons, and sweet chili sauce. Yum!

  • The pizzeria is located on 4th Street.
  • It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday and until 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.
  • A 10-inch crab rangoon pizza costs $14.99, while the 16-inch costs $21.99.

Celebrity chef Alton Brown of the Food Network recommends the famous dish, saying it’s “incredible.” He also suggests trying beef and broccoli and the jalapeño mac and cheese pizza. Come one, come all, the flavorful pizza awaits. All that food matched by a welcoming decor, it’s a Fong-tastic time here.

Iowa Beer

After enjoying Des Moines’ delicious chows, wash it all down with some good ol’ beer from The Iowa Taproom. Breweries abound in the state, so it’s just right to take on the challenge of the taps.

  • The establishment is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every Sunday, and until midnight from Monday to Saturday.
  • It has 99 taps of the state's craft brews and some American favorites.
  • A 6- or 16-oz. beer can be had from $3 to $8. They taste good, but visitors should drink moderately.
  • The taps offer lager, pilsner, ale, wheat beer, honey beer, Indian pale ale, cider, fruit beer, mead, sour beer, porter, smoked beer, mild beer, stout, root beer, and other non-alcoholic beverages. It’s unstoppable.
  • Aside from the enticing drinks, the place also offers appetizers, salads, wings, soups, sandwiches, burgers, desserts, and entrees.

Iowa has over 35 breweries, so there’s something for any type of drinker, even teetotalers (that root beer tastes good). At this taproom, it’s always an exciting day matching beers and chows, plus there's good music, too.

After taking in all the sights and sounds of Brenton, Blank Park Zoo, and the Science Center, it's always exciting to fill the tummy with local treats. Sure, Des Moines is not a culinary destination (yet) but it has its fair share of delectable offerings. From BBQs to beers, they got ‘em here. Des Moines, the merrier.

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