Perfect patios

Eating out, outside

By Cady Colosimo & Jeff Pitts

Summer breeze makes us feel fine. And why not, especially when the Des Moines metro offers so many options for patio dining? We highlight a few of the exceptional ones that you should consider when you prefer dinner and drinks under the sun or stars.
What do you get when you mix good tunes with good food, best friends and a frosty drink? If you’re in West Des Moines on Eighth Street and it’s Wednesday night, you get Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio along with a live concert series. The former home to Jimmy’s American Cafe, which was famous for its Wednesday night
Jimmy Buffet Night, is now hosting a live music series on hump day on its one-ofa-kind patio.
“It’s a great time to enjoy food and beverage,” says Carl Wertzberger, Gilroy’s managing partner. “It’s an electric scene of live music.”
Gilroy’s touts itself as having the best patio space in West Des Moines, and it’s difficult to argue. The outdoor enclosure wraps around the entire east and south side of the building giving visitors a great view of the action passing by.
“It’s one of the biggest patios on the Des Moines area,” says Wertzberger. “We have capacity for 125, and it’s roof-covered, which is a rare attribute.”
This means that even when it’s raining, the patio stays open.
Gilroy’s outdoor hot spot offers music each Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. The fun has already begun and runs through September.
Grab a seat and enjoy.
If you get there early, Gilroy’s also features a Rush Hour Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. every day of the week, with half-price appetizers and $1 off Moscow mules, beer, house wine and well drinks.
Gilroy’s hours are Sunday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 11 p.m. — kitchen closes at 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 7:45 a.m. to midnight — kitchen closes at 11 p.m.
The eatery is located at 1238 Eighth St. in West Des Moines. Call 515-809-1727 or visit for details.
Exile Brewing Company is much more than a microbrewery. It also houses a top-notch restaurant and upon opening its doors in 2012 quickly became a Des Moines favorite. The restaurant side provides far more than typical bar fare with something for even the pickiest palate. From the vegetarian plate to the gnocchi to the New York strip, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to food. It goes without saying that a bevy of beers are available. Six flagship brews are on tap, as well as several limited and seasonal releases at any given time.
The stand-alone building already had a fine space for outdoor seating, but a recent expansion almost doubled the size of the patio, which now includes an outdoor bar. With construction wrapped up, patrons can enjoy the space all summer long and into the fall. The long outdoor tables evoke a European beer garden and add to the already lively atmosphere. With so much extra elbowroom, Exile has even added bags for customers to play. Given the beer selection and its proximity to bike trails, expect to see a lot of spandex on this patio.
Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Exile Brewing Company is located at 1514 Walnut St. Call 515-883-2337 or visit for details.
While Guru’s brick and mortar location is still relatively new to the BBQ scene, the three Des Moines natives behind the restaurant have been competing in BBQ competitions since 2009. It’s a tough market, especially in the Midwest and specifically Iowa, but Guru’s juicy meats will leave you satisfied and wanting more. After getting a taste, you’ll most likely start salivating at just the mention of the establishment. To top off their meat, Guru has created three of its own BBQ sauces to douse it in, which are also available for purchase. Still skeptical? Guru
was voted “Best BBQ in Des Moines” by USA Today. The side dishes are just as enticing with options like the ale cheddar mac and cheese and the chocolate bacon bacon chili. The restaurant offers different specials every day of the week and a brunch menu on the weekend.
The 300mlk building Guru is in — just a few blocks south of Court Avenue — has quickly become a hot spot downtown. With patio season just getting started, Guru is primed to be a go-to for outdoor dining all summer long. The patio faces east with views of downtown and Principal Park. The foot traffic, nearby bike trails and surrounding area add to the fun feeling of dining in the hub of the capital city.
Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Guru BBQ is located at 300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway #170. Visit for more information or call 515-777-2500.
Don’t be fooled by the name. While Ceviche Bar has a generous drink menu with lots of specialty drinks, its small but mighty food menu offers delicious and authentic Cuban cuisine and, yes, it does include ceviche — tastefully served in a martini glass. The local establishment’s recipes come directly from the owner’s family and are simply delectable. Ceviche Bar currently offers various weekly specials. Happy hour is every weekday from 2-6 p.m., with specials differing depending on the day. On Monday, Cuban sandwiches and burgers are $6. This is one Cuban sandwich you don’t want to sleep on because Ceviche Bar does it right, served on Cuban bread with pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. On Wednesday, mojitos and Moscow mules are buy-one-get-one-free. Fridays are “Fedora Fridays.” If you wear a fedora, you get a free Havana Club shot.
The East Village neighborhood allows for a reprieve from downtown crowds. The secluded, cozy patio — with its umbrellas, strung lights and impressive landscaping — will make you feel like you’re on vacation in a tropical locale. Ceviche Bar also sells cigars, sufficiently supplying everything you need to have a hot Havana night without ever having to leave the country.
Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Wednesday and Thursday; and 11-2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Ceviche Bar is located at 223 E. Walnut St. For more information, call 515-770-9795 or visit
Located in the heart of the city’s most happening downtown hotspot — the corner of Fourth Street and Court Avenue in the Court Avenue District — the spacious outdoor patio environment allows diners to people-watch as the foot traffic passes by and enjoy the outdoor weather — and did we mention the menu? Goldfinch offers separate menus for drinks, lunch and dinner, and it even has a happy hour menu.
“Not only is the location good, but it’s one of the largest — if not the largest — patio around,” says Brian Edwards, the general manager at Goldfinch. “It provides shade, it’s partially covered by awnings, there are umbrellas, and there are built-in fans and heating.”
Goldfinch makes mouths water all summer with its spring rolls, made-to-order guacamole, crab cakes, wild salmon and spicy minced beef, as well as other assorted treats.
The restaurant’s commitment to quality is made clear by its local food sources, including The Cheese Shop; Early Morning Harvest; La Mie Bakery; La Quercia; Milton Creamery; Niman Ranch; Picket Fence Ice Creamery; Rinehart’s Family Farm; Story City Locker; Sunstead Farms; and Wilson’s Orchard, among others.
Goldfinch offers enjoyable samplings from a simple and authentic menu, served outdoors all summer long. So sit back, relax and order something refreshing to sip on like a Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita, a Garden Tonic Punch or a Ginger Smash.
Summer hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and closed Monday and Sunday.
Goldfinch is located at 316 Court Ave. in Des Moines. Call 515-282-2995 or visit for more information.
Eatery A’s space has seen a variety of occupants in the course of the building’s existence. It has housed a Blockbuster video store, and it’s been home to Barack Obama’s caucus headquarters.
The variation of uses is a testament to the vibrant Ingersoll Avenue atmosphere. When Eatery A remodeled the building, it made sure to build an outdoor patio overlooking the action.
Eatery A’s Mediterranean-inspired menu offers wood-fired pizzas with tastes of Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Italy. The expert culinary team blends old-world and contemporary into a fun patio experience with modern cuisine that is served in the middle of the city, and it allows diners to enjoy summer outdoors in Iowa.
Its hours are 3-11 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to midnight, Friday to Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Eatery A is located at 2932 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. Call 515-282-8085, or visit for more information.
Of course, the metro offers many other patio bars that you should also consider, and you likely have a few favorites. Meanwhile, we encourage you to check out these suggestions and the many others that make Des Moines a great place to go out to eat — outside. ♦


Categories: The Feature, Uncategorized

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