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Our readers like Gusto for its specialty pizzas and the option to create their own pie. It’s a Des Moines-area favorite for its fresh goodies each day, but especially for the artfully decorated sugar cookies, which make any occasion a special occasion. Scratch Cupcakery proves everyone still loves the unique flavors and pretty decorations on every single mini cake it offers, and there are a lot of flavors. From cheesecake and lava cake to cupcakes and cake balls, when you’re looking for the perfect cap to the evening, our readers say you’ll find it here. Jethro’s menu of slow-cooked and smoked meats waters the mouth of anyone just thinking about it, leaving no question as to why it’s earned this award for four straight years. Runners-up: Smokey D’s BBQ; Woody’s Smoke Shack Best Onion Rings Maxie’s Restaurant Maxie’s is now a seven-time winner of this award, proving two things: You don’t have to be the biggest to be the best, and people really like onion rings. Runners-up: Chuck Celsi’s Tavern Restaurant; Nick’s Bar & Grill Best French Fries Zombie Burger Drink Lab Zombie Burger has been known to take its food to a new level, and they’ve even done it with the basic french fry, which isn’t so basic at this local favorite. Runners-up: Smashburger; B-Bop’s Best Chicken Wings Jethro’s BBQ Jethro’s is all about meat, and that means chicken wings are definitely a highlight on the menu.
Hand-cut, hand-breaded and fried to a crispy golden brown, they’re the perfect complement to any entrée. Loaded with bacon, cheddar and chili, they make a meal all their own. The voters can’t get enough of the slow-smoked wings, as they’ve proven by naming it the best place for them four years in a row. Runners-up: Chicken Coop; Buffalo Wild Wings Best Nachos University Library Café Ahh, nachos. They’re easy enough to whip up at home, but it’s just so much more satisfying to have them brought to the table while you await the rest of the meal. Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Zombie Burger Drink Lab Best Taco Tasty Tacos This is a new category on the list, but it’s been a long time coming.
Owned by the Giudicessi family, they try to keep everyone as close as possible by welcoming guests at the door and making you feel like one of them. Not only will guests see Mediterranean inspiration in the menu, but they’ll also see hints of Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Italy sifted throughout. Runners-up: Star Bar; Sakari Sushi Lounge Best American Food Americana Restaurant and Lounge Not only is Americana known for the best bombshell brunch you can find in the city, the restaurant also has some fantastic classic American food.
It’s an eclectic mix of tastes that customers simply love. It features a “winner winner chicken dinner” that comes with endless home-fried chicken for . Runners-up: Zombie Burger Drink Lab; Jethro’s BBQ Best Vegetarian/Vegan Menu New World Café Not only does New World Café feature delicious new vegan meals every week (made with no dairy, eggs or honey) it’s also a business that strives to better the community and environment. Runners-up: Fresh Café & Market; Ritual Café Best Gluten-Free Menu Gusto Pizza Co.
Their unique combinations for unlikely foods piled on burgers make for a surprisingly delicious meal. Fong’s Pizza When it comes to late-night dining, Fong’s knows exactly what customers want.
The awards have grown even bigger this year, with new categories and thousands of voters sharing their opinions on everything from the Best Onion Rings in Des Moines to the Best Outdoor Live Music Venue.Best New Restaurant Eatery A Using local ingredients for each dish and local reclaimed wood for the building and foundation of the restaurant, Eatery A is dedicated to Iowa and its patrons. But when it comes to food that satisfies guests of all ages, Zombie Burger really has the edge. Even the best Italian restaurants won’t make it the way you usually like it, and it never really seems worth the price.They boast delicious Mediterranean food and a fantastic happy hour with half-off pizzas, beer and wine every day before 6 p.m. From its gourmet toppings on burgers to the cereal-infused smoothies, kids and adults both love it. That’s not the case at Marino’s Italian Restaurant, as the voters point out by naming it the Best Kept Secret on the Restaurant Scene. Runners-up: Cooper’s on 5th; Flying Mango Best Restaurant Period Centro Some words of advice: stop settling.It’s the perfect spot for a quick lunch or an evening meal. With an equal-to or even bigger menu than many Chinese restaurants, Hy-Vee offers all of the traditional Chinese food favorites for dining in and takeout.
Next time you’re at the grocery store and don’t feel like going home to cook everything you just bought, stop at Chinese Express. Runners-up: China Café; Tsing Tsao Best Japanese Taki For the last 13 years, Taki has been inspiring Des Moines with its variety of sushi, teppanaki and hibachi. Runners-up: Open Sesame; Olympic Flame Best Vietnamese A Dong If you’ve never had Vietnamese food, trust the people who have — they can all testify to the greatness of A Dong. Runners-up: Vietnam Café; Pho 888 Best Seafood Waterfront Seafood Market The chefs at Waterfront have perfected the techniques of cooking seafood, and the residents of Des Moines have taken notice.
Also, step out on Sunday Funday and grab some wine because Sunday night at Americana is BYOW night (bring your own wine) with no corkage fee. New World supports local farms and businesses, donates to activists and composts their food scraps instead of throwing them in the garbage. It may come as a surprise, but gluten-free pizza really can be delicious.