Holiday Traditions: Treat your taste buds to something tasty

By Jeff Pitts


Do you need a restaurant that is open on the holidays? Or are you looking for the perfect pie to take over the river and through the woods while being a guest at someone’s holiday feast? Or maybe you’re after something you can only find during food’s favorite time of year?

The holiday season means friends, fun and good feelings, but, unfortunately, it can also mean a lot of cooking and cleaning. If you simply want to relax this season and avoid all the muss that goes with the holiday fuss, it’s time to find the local eateries that stay open on holidays. And if you are welcoming family and friends into your home or adding something fun to someone else’s menu, don’t forget to grab some of these local favorites.


Irina’s Restaurant and BarScallop and shrimp on top of mashed potatoes


Irina’s is a local family-operated restaurant, and since it’s open on Christmas Eve, the authentic Russian-American cuisine has become a holiday tradition for many central Iowans. Enjoy the ahi tuna — served rare — with basil mashed potatoes, green beans and candied tomatoes. The restaurant is located at 2301 Rocklyn Drive in Urbandale. Its hours are 3 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday; and 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Call 515-331-0399 or visit for details.



Noah’s Ark is open on Christmas EvePrime Rib


This Italian eatery has been providing its legendary pizza, lasagna, steak and fresh seafood for 70 years — far longer than 40 days and 40 nights — and the succulent prime rib served on the Ark is definitely worth venturing out on any wintery night. Noah’s is open till 8 p.m. but stops seating at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The restaurant is located at 2400 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. Its normal hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday through Saturday; and it is closed on Sunday. Call 515-288-2246 or visit for more details.



Kung Fu Tap & TacoTacos


Tacos are not traditionally served for Christmas dinner, but every night is bike night at this bar and taco hotspot, so come hungry on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas or any other day of the year. At Kung Fu Tap & Taco, hard shell, beef, old-school tacos are “what’s for dinner” — even on Christmas. Kung Fu Tap & Taco is located on the south side of Des Moines at 210 Indianola Road. It’s open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call 515-285-8226 for more details.




Iowa OrchardTasty apple treats Carmel apples


Be tempted. Why wouldn’t you? The Urbandale orchard has sweet holiday treats of all kinds. The Carmel apples are the highlight of a fall season, and Dutch crumb apple pies are simply delectable. And those aren’t the only yummies. The orchard pumps out many other types of pies including a fresh apple and a pumpkin variety. This is the worst kept secret in town, as witnessed by their sales of up to 500 pies a week. Dutch Crumb Apple Pie is made from fresh apples, topped with brown sugar, cinnamon-butter mix and rich homemade carmel. Iowa Orchard is located at 9875 Meredith Drive in Urbandale. The orchard’s shop is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 515-276-0852 or visit for more information.








Like… Yowsers! And wow. And yummy. What more can you say about this big-time conglomeration of food? Zombie starts with smoked, pulled turkey, adds a mashed potato croquette, plus turkey gravy and even some fried onion strings. The entire affair is sandwiched by sage-stuffing buns and served hot to satiate the hungriest holiday appetites. Zombie has multiplied. The undead is now serving its fare at three metro locations. Get your grub on in Des Moines’ Historic East Village at 300 E. Grand Ave., Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines, or in Ankeny at 1550 N. Ankeny Blvd. near Northview Middle School. Visit for more information about hours of operation.



Prairie MeadowsBuffet


Prairie Meadows offers some of the best dining any day of the year, and holidays are no exception. Triple Crown Buffet will be offering up a full-on jackpot on Thanksgiving Day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Christmas Eve from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., New Year’s Eve 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and New Year’s Day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A Christmas Day buffet will be served at The Meadows Event Center from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prairie Meadows is in Altoona at 1 Prairie Meadows Drive. Call 515-967-1000, or visit for more information.


Categories: The Entree

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