In December I published my list of Des Moines Essentials—all of my favorite places to eat, drink, shop and explore in Iowa’s capital city. As promised, I’m expanding upon that collection with a little more detail and some recommendations from the places I love.
Since it’s typically -10 degrees here these days, what better to start with than my favorite Des Moines coffee shops and cafés. These cozy haunts are the perfect place to grab breakfast with a friend or settle in with a latte and a good book:
La Mie (Shops At Roosevelt, 841 42nd Street)
For the most delicious French pastries you’ve ever seen this side of the Mississippi, you’ll want to stop by La Mie. Fair warning: if you’re planning on visiting for Saturday brunch, they get busy quick. Get there early.
My favorites: Fromage omelet, ham & cheese croissant or grilled brie sandwich
Mars Cafe (2318 University Avenue)
Mars was my first coffee shop love in Des Moines and it’s yet to be dethroned. While I no longer live in the Drake neighborhood, I still try to make it back to Mars for some quality time in my favorite window booth every once and awhile.
My favorites: the Sputnik, Mar’s signature latte
Ritual Cafe (1301 Locust Street)
I’ve spent a lot of time working at Ritual when I need a break from my apartment or co-working space. With it’s cozy atmosphere and eclectic charm, it’s a much homier place for a Western Gateway coffee fix than Starbucks.
My favorites: the Mayan mocha—rich, creamy, the perfect reward for a rough day
Riverwalk Hub (215 Water Street)
An amazing view of the Des Moines River coupled with some seriously tasty treats. No wifi but it’s the perfect place to bring a book and spend some time basking in the sunlight.
My favorites: Prosciutto baguette sandwich—takes me back to my time in Barcelona
Scenic Route Bakery (350 E. Locust Street, Suite 104)
One of East Village’s most recent additions, I’ve already been to Scenic Route Bakery multiple times. It’s worth a visit for the amazing light in the space alone, but their food is delicious, the staff is friendly and they’re brewing Intelligentsia.
My favorites: the blueberry pinwheel
Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure (2723 Ingersoll Avenue)
If you’re looking for someplace cozy to hunker down with a book on a cold, snowy day, Zanzibar’s is the place. They don’t have wifi (which is oddly refreshing) but they do have amazing coffee.
My favorites: Espresso steamer eggs