STORY BY ETHAN FICKAU
Des Moines features a number of great eateries, but not all are cheap enough or close enough to campus for Drake students.
Sure, there is Zombie Burger, which, along with other high-profile restaurants, is on everyone’s college bucket list, but they can be off the beaten path and hard on the wallet.
No need to fret for those who are looking for a change in the daily routine of Hubbell and Quad Creek; here are five awesome places to eat a full meal with friends or just grab a coffee and a table and pull out some homework.
First on the list is a popular name around campus. The Drake Diner is ideal for grabbing a quick bite when students are short on time and do not want to spend too much. It offers an extensive menu full of specialty items and is open for early risers and night owls alike.
“Breakfast all day is always a plus with kids, especially student athletes,” said General Manager and owner Shannon Vilmain. “We’ve also got a friendly environment along with good food.”
Some of the Drake Diner’s many popular dishes include their Captain Crunch French Toast and their famous cake shakes.
However, if students want more of a true café-style restaurant, La Mie is the place to go.
Located a short bus ride from campus on 42nd Street, La Mie is often full of customers grabbing their favorite pastry or mid-morning coffee.
Somehow, however, there is always room for a few more patrons.
In addition to their illustrious list of pastries, La Mie features omelets, quiche and other customized breakfast foods. Of course, they also serve good coffee.
“Most of the products that are made here on a regular basis are fresh and made from scratch which really appeals to our customers,” said General Manager Nicholas Percheron.
While La Mie is perfect for morning commutes and brunches, most students have more time in the evening to eat out. Enter Woody’s Smoke Shack and their delicious choices of pork, ribs and other meaty delights.
Located just a stone’s throw from the Drake Diner on 25th Street, this small yet renowned restaurant is hidden among the houses and looks like a big grill and picnic area, but the food speaks for itself. Pulled pork and, naturally, barbecued ribs, are the top choices at this food joint.
Night Manager Elizabeth Linhart claims Woody’s Smoke Shack is perfect for college students looking for a cheap, delicious meal.
“It’s a fun, cozy, welcoming environment,” Linhart said. “It’s within walking distance of campus, and we serve barbecue all year-round and you can’t go wrong with that. Our ribs are to die for!”
If students have a little more time on their hands, they can drive farther into the city area where the recently opened Scenic Route Bakery has made its stamp on the list of downtown cafés to visit.
With an array of fresh scones, Danish pastries and their extremely popular cinnamon rolls in their warm and welcoming establishment, it is easy to see why the Scenic Route Bakery is so revered by local patrons. Owner Katy Nelson calls it her pride and joy.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was 14,” Nelson said. “I am where I am because of my dad, my partner in all this.”
Drake students should also make a point of visiting Smokey Row Coffee Co., located a few blocks from campus at Cottage Grove Avenue and MLK Jr. Parkway.
Smokey Row Coffee Co. is a college student’s safe haven. With lots of tables to browse through a textbook and plenty of coffee and other caffeinated beverages to keep the body going, this is a perfect retreat from the mayhem of rushing between classes.
“It’s a really good place to spread out and study,” said General Manager Catherine McCabe-Powers. “We have free Wi-Fi and you can sit here as long as you want. We offer free refills on mugs of coffee and fountain drinks. It’s nice to come and cram for a test and get away from the dorm room.”