Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.
One of those places for me is the Walnut (1417 Walnut St, Des Moines), which started as the food truck (the Spot) before maturing into a full-grown bar and and grill in a converted 1920s garage. It’s downtown but just off the main drag and a great spot for a pre-show meal (or shot).
A friend of mine used to live in the East Village and we would go there regularly during the week. We’d meet around happy hour, order some apps and get the Mediterranean Pita or West Coast Burger. It was a simple sort of unplanned plan we always had.
When he moved, I missed those regular unscheduled hangs.
During the early days of the pandemic, the Nut’s menu was to-go only. I would order from time to time and occasionally, I’d pull what I called a “Walnut Wednesday,” where I’d order pretzel bites and drop them off on a friend’s porch. Ding-dong-ditch meets ding-dong-dine. One time I ordered an entire meal right before I had to be onstage, and Matt literally brought it over to Teehee’s mid-show. It was golden.
I appreciate those little moments of regularity and familiarity, now more than ever. It always makes me smile when the tables are full and the drinks are flowing and the atmosphere of this industrial-meets-modern restaurant has echoes of laughter bouncing off its tall ceilings.
Plus, they have a patio.
As we near warmer and brighter days, I look forward to a cool refreshing local beer or slow slips of a morning after Bloody Mary. Cheers!
(Post not sponsored by the Walnut but definitely worth a trip for pretzel bites, Mahi Mahi tacos or anything on the menu. Really.)
This article was originally published in Little Village Central Iowa issue 002.