Some of Des Moines’ newest hot spots Summertime is a perfect time to get out and eat something new

By Jeff Pitts  |  Photos by Dan Hodges


In the first half of 2016, the Des Moines metro area has seen the addition of many upscale eateries. Samplings from these high-end hot spots can quickly turn a sweltering summer night into a cool and pleasant evening out on the town. Below are some of the city’s new and unique selections, along with information on where you can find them.

Kue'd - Briskets, Burnt ends and Pork butts.

Kue’d – Briskets, Burnt ends and Pork butts.

Kue’d Smokehouse — Meats smoked daily

If you snooze, you lose. Or at least that’s the standard caution at Kue’d Smokehouse.

The new BBQ joint fires up the smoker every day in order to flavor its beef brisket, burnt ends and pork ribs. But you’d better get there early, because, as the company tag line says, “When it’s gone, it’s gone.” Owners Shad and Angie Kirton have been in the food industry for a long time, but Shad is best known for winning season two of TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters.” He’s mastered more than BBQ, though. The menu at Kue’d features summer side dish favorites like made-from-scratch creamy coleslaw, smashed casserole and even an apple salad. Kue’d is located at 245 E. Hickman Road in Waukee. It is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Su

Marlene's. Olive pesto encrusted chicken with potato and cauliflower puree and white wine sauce.

Marlene’s. Olive pesto encrusted chicken with potato and cauliflower puree and white wine sauce.

nday; and it is closed on Mondays. Call 515-987-4972 or visit


Marlene’s at Sevastopol Station — Olive pesto encrusted chicken

This new southeast side restaurant has a menu designed after the cooking of one owner’s Italian grandmother.

Marlene’s is now serving contemporary American cuisine like this olive pesto encrusted chicken. The new south side option for Italian is located at 1938 Southeast Sixth St. in Des Moines. It’s open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Call 515-288-0898.


Taco Hangover — Tacos on the patio

Some people say these tacos are addictive, so it’s a good thing they’re easily accessible at the walk-up taco grill on the patio.

Taco Hangover.  Tacos - Al Pastor

Taco Hangover. Tacos – Al Pastor

Taco Hangover takes the time to slow roast its meats and carefully craft its rubs, sauces, salsas and dressings. Taco Hangover is located at 265 50th St. in West Des Moines at the former location of Saints Pub. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday. Call 515-440-4703 or visit


Candela — Candela Classic Margaritas

Mexico invented the margarita, so it’s only right that a Candela Classic Margarita is made with Mexico’s best-selling tequila, el Jimador Silver. Patron Citronge is also mixed in, as well as freshly squeezed fruit juice and agave-blended sweeteners.

Candela.  Candela Classic Margarita.

Candela. Candela Classic Margarita.

Try your Candela Classic with an order of fish tacos. Candela is located on the first floor at 2925 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. Free parking is available in the rear parking lot. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Call 515-279-4775 or visit


Wasabi — Chilled fresh sashimi

A refreshing portion of thinly sliced fresh sashimi, chilled and served over ice, is sure to reinvigorate. This new Wasabi restaurant, which has the same ownership as Wasabi Tao and Wasabi Chi,

Wasabi - Sashimi Platter.

Wasabi – Sashimi Platter.

is located in the western portion of West Des Moines at 9500 University Ave. on the Waukee side of West Des Moines.  It is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Call 515-987-6080 or visit


Gilroy’s – Breakfast on the patio

Brunch is served daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gilroy’s, a new place with “stylish American comfort food.”

Gilroy's - Corn Flake French Toast.  Corn Flake encrusted French toast topped with powdered sugar

Gilroy’s – Corn Flake French Toast. Corn Flake encrusted French toast topped with powdered sugar

Everything is made to order, including imaginative dishes like the corn flake encrusted French toast. Wash it down with a breakfast-friendly Moscow mule, which is a concoction of New Amsterdam pineapple vodka, house ginger beer, orange juice and lime. West Des Moines’ new Eighth Street eatery offers outside seating on its full-service patio. Gilroy’s is located at 1238 Eighth St. in West Des Moines where Jimmy’s American Café used to be. It is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 7 a.m. to midnight Friday through Saturday. Call 515-809-1727 or visit


Local Bites Food Court — Lamb burger from Local Yokals


Lamb burger from Local Yokals

The downtown food court at the Partnership Building is operational after an extended hiatus due to the damage incurred during the Younkers building fire. The new food court — dubbed Local Bites — features an all-local lineup situated on the garden level of 700 Locust St. The new restaurants include Burger Shop, Jimmy’s Gyros, L’Italiano, Moar Tacos, Teriyaki Boys and Viva Mexico. Local Yokals serves a burger made with lamb from Trinity Farms in Nevada and on homemade buns. Try it with a sweet and tangy “Honey ade” made with half an orange and a full lemon. The food court is located at 700 Locust St., and it is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. RELISH


Categories: The Places

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