Cheap Eats in Des Moines

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As the capital city and the most populous metro area in all of Iowa, Des Moines is a destination spot in the Hawkeye State. Des Moines offers a variety of fabulous attractions ranging from the Iowa State Fair to the 80/35 Music Festival. It is quickly gaining popularity as a destination spot for any traveler to the American Heartland. Anyone heading to the Des Moines area to see the sights should check out some of these local, well-loved cheap eats.

A Dong

If you find yourself downtown with a hankering for a hot, cheap bowl of pho, look no further than A Dong. Situated in the downtown area at 1511 High St., A Dong is a locally-owned favorite spot for those loving bargain-priced Vietnamese delights. Traditional Vietnamese fare such as Banh Mi and Bo Thai Canh pepper the menu along with a sampling of some Chinese food. The pho is the real draw, though, and it is served steaming hot with all the great veggies you could want to pile on top. Even better, A Dong offers a wide variety of vegetarian items, so whatever your fancy when it comes to fare, you can find what you like at this cheap eatery.

A Dong is open 11am to 10pm on Sundays, 11am to 10:30pm Monday through Thursday and 11am to 11pm Friday and Saturday, so you have all day to pop in for a bowl.

Takeout is offered if you call the restaurant at (515) 284-5632, but there is no delivery service here.

Drake Diner

The Drake Diner has seen its fair share of celebrities, such as Hilary Clinton.








If Americana is your thing, check out Drake Diner - a Des Moines area landmark since 1987. The Drake serves you breakfast all day long, along with a traditional 50's diner menu. This means burgers, fries, shakes, pie and legendary malts. If you can dream it, you can probably get it at the Drake. Located in the Kingman Place Historic District at 1111 25th St., Drake Diner is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Drake University, so expect a collegiate crowd. Because this local eatery is also a favorite watering hole with a fully stocked bar, even if you are just looking for a quick drink and a bite, the Drake is a great place to stop.

Just remember, this establishment is only open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (10 p.m. on Sundays), so make sure you get your drinks early.

Royal Mile

If you are hankering for a bit of English and Scottish fare, hit up the Royal Mile for a well-stocked whiskey bar and great gastropub fare. Located in the downtown area at 210 4th St., the Royal Mile has quickly grown into a local hangout for many residents of Des Moines. The menu here features interesting twists on British pub classics, like Shepherd’s Pie Balls - the Royal Mile's take on Shepherd's Pie Filling that is breaded, fried and doused in pork gravy. Fish and chips are of course available, along with a vast whiskey menu and more beers than you could even think to sample. Grab a brew with your pub fare and soak up the ambiance; the Royal Mile is as close as you can get to the real Royal Mile anywhere in the Midwest.

El Bait Shop

Did you come to Iowa to drink a lot of beer and order something cheap off the menu? Then you better march yourself down to El Bait Shop immediately. With over 100 beers on tap, El Bait Shop at 200 SW 2nd St. in the heart of downtown is the perfect spot for the beer lover with an appetite. El Bait Shop offers you a great selection of pub fare with a Mexican flavor, taking an American twist on the quesadilla with its Philly Quesadilla and Philly Nachos. It is truly the best of both worlds at El Bait Shop, and best of all, you can check out some great live music every night of the week.

Open until 2am every day with a kitchen open until 10pm (9pm on Sunday), El Bait Shop is the perfect way to end your evening in Des Moines. Grab a margarita on special, a Mexican burger and just kick back while you soak up the local Des Moines scene. You do not want to miss this place.