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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Top 10 Des Moines hot spots

Numerous times I have been asked to pick the best place to eat pizza, to listen to live music or to buy a present. I struggle to think of places off the top of my head, but now there is something to help me, and you, with this problem:

Bizzy is a website where you answer questions about a certain city (in this case Des Moines) and it picks recommendations for you and shows you the most popular places. So, I compiled a list of my favorites in Des Moines:

  1. Best Pizza: Fong’s Pizza – What more can you ask for than a Chinese pizza place? You can be boring and order a regular pizza or you can branch out with a crab Rangoon pizza. Don’t leave without trying some of the drinks that come in all different sizes and shapes, such as dragons and volcanoes. This is one place that will keep you coming back.
  2. Best Breakfast: Waveland Café – You’ll want to get there early because they don’t take reservations, and it’s always full by 9 a.m. If you have to wait, it’s definitely worth it. Although the food might cause you to have a heart attack soon after, at least you had a delicious meal of greasy comfort food. It’s also a perfect pick-me-up after a late night, especially the biscuits with gravy.
  3. Best Music: Vaudeville Mews – The Mews is a great place for any genre of music. Although most of the bands may not be chart-toppers, they are on the way there. In 2007, Sara Bareilles made a stop before making it big. On Feb. 2, head on over to see The Nadas for their second annual February Wednesday Residency concert.
  4. Best Jazz: The Lift – Just down the street from the Mews, head on over to the Lift on Tuesday nights to hear some chill jazz music by fellow Drake students. While they entertain you with some light tunes, check out the art the bar displays.
  5. Best Malt: Drake Diner – With Snookie’s closed, the Diner has no competition when it comes to malts. Maybe it’s the feeling of being in the ’50s and stopping for a break while roller skating, but I’ve never had a better malt anywhere. The peanut butter and chocolate flavor is the best choice.
  6. Best Stationery: Ephemera – With everything locally made, it’s hard to go wrong with a store like Ephemera. The store is full of cards, jewelry, scarves and other great items. It even has different instructional classes that you can participate in.
  7. Best Italian Restaurant: Tursi’s Latin King – Des Moines has some of the best Italian restaurants around so it was tough to decide, but Latin King won in a close race. The final decision maker: they have gnocchi. You must order it if you go because it is almost exactly how my great-grandma made it, which means it’s delicious. But really, you can’t go wrong with any of the pasta dishes there.
  8. Best Sushi: Sakari Sushi Lounge – Maybe this will change with the new sushi bar opening under West Village, but this will remain my favorite for now. You can’t beat their happy hour special: $2 rolls from 5–6 p.m.
  9. Best Coffee Shop: Mars Café – Voted the “Best First Date Spot” in Des Moines by Cityview, Mars is also a great place to study and hear some locals perform during the week. They recently just added the “Study Table” special, which is great for college students. On Sundays and Mondays from 6 p.m. to close, 2-for-1 coffee, tea or espresso drinks with a student ID.
  10. Best Souvenir: Raygun – OK, maybe it isn’t a souvenir, but the point is, everyone should have a shirt from Raygun. Take a special look at the new “AC Slater wanted to wrestle at Iowa” shirt. The cities of Iowa shirts are also worth checking out. The store not only has shirts, but also trendy shoes and some snazzy watches. Who doesn’t want one of those?

Mataloni is a sophomore news/Internet and music major and can be contacted at

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    StellaJan 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Becca Mataloni is a national treasure and I love her insightful columns.