When I go out to eat, I want to do it right: I’m looking for tastes I can’t easily recreate at home or find at another restaurant. I also make sure to not choose the same meal twice. And ever since attending Drake, late hours In my humble opinion, here are the five best Des Moines restaurants to grab a satisfying bite before or after a late night of singing your heart out, sweating through your dance outfit or while pulling an all-nighter.
The Station on Ingersoll
3124 Ingersoll Ave
Open every day 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
This is the place to go for amazing wings fried to a crisp with a choice of eight sauces, including Buffalo, hot Buffalo, barbecue, chili lime, honey garlic, firecracker and 10-spice rub. You can even mix sauces to create an explosion on your taste buds. My favorite is honey garlic mixed with hot Buffalo — not too spicy, not too sweet, but the perfect balance. Their mouthwatering chicken sandwiches are a hit every time with juicy grilled chicken ending with a delectable smokiness.
2811 Ingersoll Ave
Open Sun 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Mon-Fri 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
I love Star Bar for their light ambiance suitable for a casual lunch or a formal date night. But they are great for a quick grab of fulfilling food that always leaves me with leftovers. Their speedy and smiley staff provide great service each time, and their Cajun pasta has had a hold on me since my first time eating here in 2018. But what I love most is the chicken quesadilla on their small plates menu, which is served all the way until 2 a.m. They may sound pretty basic but I assure you, the juicy, tender chicken combined with their housemade salsa will simply satisfy your hunger.
300 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy suite 170
Open Sat-Sun 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mon-Fri 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
I only eat beef occasionally, but I can definitively say 300 Burger is my favorite burger spot in Des Moines. The Caliente Burger caught my eye immediately. It’s a classic burger with a jalapeño cheese sauce. It isn’t spicy but instead filled with flavor on top of the cooked-to-perfection beef cooked to your liking. Each burger is made fresh, creating an intoxicating smell inside the dining room that will have you salivating.
University Library Cafe
3506 University Ave
Open Mon-Wed 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Th-Fri 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
This place never disappoints. I have tried the chili cheese fries, the Texas melt, smothered potatoes, country potatoes, biscuits and country gravy, and the breakfast burger—each cooked with such love, it’s hard to decide which menu item is my favorite. However, I’m leaning heavily towards the breakfast burger for its stackable flavors: egg, cheese, bacon and homemade sausage gravy. Honestly, their breakfast burger is hard to stop eating, even well after a stuffed stomach—but the thought of picking it back up later and reexperiencing each flavor again later is enticing as well.
615 3rd St
Open Sun-Th 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Don’t know what to eat? Go to Buzzard Billy’s. They have more than enough menu items utilizing Creole and Cajun flavors. So many things sound delicious that making a decision can be difficult, which is why I go for a spread, such as the fried combo platter. You can choose three of four seafoods: catfish, tilapia, shrimp and oysters. I also love their pasta menu, though I need eeny-meeny-miny-moe to make a pick. So far, I’ve ordered the shrimp fettuccine alfredo, Cajun mac and cheese and crawfish fettuccine alfredo. All were homeruns!