By Susan Stapleton | Des Moines Register | July 8, 2016
Summer travel season means hitting the road and trying out something new.
Whether headed across state to visit family or just taking a road trip over a weekend, try one of these new restaurants all across Iowa that opened recently.
Is your favorite new place missing? Drop it in the comments or shoot over an email.
BattleCry Iowa Smokehouse & Bar
This new barbecue restaurant, formerly known as Battles BBQ, features smoked meats, brisket, burgers and steaks along with a full bar and local beers. Vegetarians, fear not. The restaurant even has a veggie burger.
Find It: 823 Wheeler St. Suite 1, Ames
Salt & Pretzel Co.
Ames is getting pretzel fever at the new Salt & Pretzel Co., formerly a food vendor at the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market. Aside from selling soft pretzels made in house, the restaurant features breads, cheeses, meats including knackwurst and weisswurst, pastas and sauces as well as breakfast sandwiches in the morning. Down a meal with the 35 beers and five wines by the glass on the menu.
Find It: 2610 Northridge Pkwy. #107, Ames
Farmer’s Pick Buffet and Keller’s Express
Bettendorf landed two new restaurants when Isle of Capri Casino Hotel opened. Farmer’s Pick Buffet features 80 items including a salad bar, house-smoked ribs and brisket. Keller’s Express brings casual burgers, fried cod, bratwursts and pizzas. Coming soon, Keller’s American Grill Restaurant.
Find It: Isle Casino Hotel, 1777 Isle Pkwy., Bettendorf
Info: 563-265-6977; bettendorf.isleofcapricasinos.com
Noble Oak Restaurant
Smokehouse barbecue finds a home at this restaurant in Cedar Falls. Find ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked pork belly and more, served as a meal or family style. The menu even contains a section with tacos covering pulled pork to shrimp.
Find It: 314 Main St., Cedar Falls
Info: 319-266-5285; nobleoakcf.com
Black Sheep Social Club
Heading to Cedar Rapids? Reservations are a must for the “Iowa soul food” dishes made with local ingredients and the 24 craft beers from regional brewers on tap.
At dinner, try one of the composed dishes such as walleye Picasso with a white wine cream sauce, scallops and pork belly with bacon and dates or the lamb chops with a black garlic barbecue sauce and potato risotto.
At lunch, order the Cubano with its marinated pork shoulder and bacon or a walleye po’ boy, beer battered and served with pickled radishes on a sourdough hoagie.
Find It: 600 First St. SE, Cedar Rapids
Info: 319-200-7070; iamtheblacksheep.com
Ramsey’s Wine Bistro
Just head to the grilled cheese section of this recently expanded restaurant in Marion for variations such as the Gourmet with smoked Gouda and brie with Havarti on the top or the California with cheddar, avocados and tomatoes. Paninis, subs, and a large collection of wine by the bottle round out the menu. And don’t miss the live music four nights a week.
Find It: 1120 Seventh Ave., Marion
Info: 319-447-1700; ramseysmetromarket.com
This new Irish pub took over an historic building that served Civil War veterans in Marion. The name comes from an Irish term for a close and cozy atmosphere. Co-owner Paul Matthews refurbished all of the woodwork, décor and bars that feature 12 beers on tap. A patio overlooking the ImaginArt in the Alleys project should be completed late fall.
Find It: 760 11th St., Marion
Sit on the patio overlooking the Mississippi River at this new pub in Davenport. Ribeye steak sandwiches, a walleye fish fry, butternut squash ravioli and garlic-infused beef tenderloin make the menu. All entrees come with a salad bar. Try one of the microbrews on tap including Barely Berry Blonde Ale from Green Tree Brewing in LeClaire. A portion of the interior uses wood from a barn in Pleasant Plain, Iowa.
Find It: 1201 E. River Drive, Davenport
Robert’s Buffet, Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood and Draft Day Sports Lounge
A new casino in Davenport brings three new restaurants to explore. Robert’s Buffet, open from breakfast through dinner, features specials such as grilling favorites on Thursday nights, surf and turf on Fridays and crab legs and prime rib on Saturdays. Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood brings the fine dining with steaks and seafood, all with a view of the Quad Cities. There try the filet with a brandy pork belly marmalade, pistachio-crusted salmon or duck breast. Draft Day Sports Lounge specializes in sports, of course, along with flatbreads, burgers and pork tenderloin sandwiches, grilled or fried.
Find It: Rhythm City Casino Resort, 7077 Elmore Ave., Davenport
Info: 563-328-8000; rhythmcitycasino.com/dining
Iowa Tap Room
Staples of Iowa comfort food such as the barbecue meatloaf sandwich, loose meat sandwich and pork tenderloin help fans keep a full stomach while they drink one of 110 Iowa beers on tap poured from the silo that anchors the room. Do try the collection of wings with dragon’s breath and peanut chili sauces, the Iowa chop with a whiskey gravy and barbecue rack of ribs.
Find It: 215 E. Third St., Des Moines
Info: 515-243-0827; iowataproom.com
Fans of chef Zach Gutweiler head to Reed’s Hollow for his vision of amped up street food. The menu here changes frequently, so you never know quite what to expect, but do try some of the staples of the bar snacks section including beet curly fries, antelope jerky and Brussels sprouts.
Find It: 2712 Beaver Ave., Des Moines
Tony Lemmo converted his Café di Scala into Aposto, featuring once-a-month ticketed dining experiences. You can catch dinner service on the first Saturday of the month or brunch on the third Sunday. Subscribe to the newsletter to catch up on the latest menu, where to buy tickets and more.
Find It: 644 18th St., Des Moines
Info: 515-244-1353; http://www.apostodm.com/
+39 Italian Restaurant
An Ames Italian restaurant turns Des Moines on its ear. The new +39 features thin-crust pizzas, gelato cocktails, primavera risotto, tagliata with a marinated Denver steak with mushrooms and a demi glace, and the voldostana, a pan-fried breaded pork with fontina and cotto ham, all served in a gorgeous setting in front on the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
Find It: 1430 Locust St.
Info: 515-421-4500; plus39italian.com/
DES MOINES SUBURBS
Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio
Scott Carlson of Americana and Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co. fame ventured into West Des Moines with this comfort food restaurant that serves breakfast through dinner. Check out the patio, the fried cauliflower and arancini while looking around at the murals dedicated to red heads.
Find It: 1238 Eighth St., West Des Moines
Info: 515-809-1727; gilroyskitchen.com
The Fletcher Kitchen & Bar
Chef Rob Fair cooks up ribs smoked in-house, prime rib grilled cheese sandwich, pork belly nachos, a pulled braised brisket Reuben sandwiches, Korean short ribs, lettuce wraps, cedar plank halibut and a variety of burgers, soups and salads, and an appetizer named Not Your Mama’s Deviled Eggs at this new restaurant that took over the former Dahl’s.
Find It: 1802 N. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny
Info: 515-963-9632; the-fletcher.com
This former food truck now has a brick-and-mortar location serving mainly sandwiches. Try the namesake Bombshell with pot roast and pepperjack cheese or the Other Woman with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
Find It: 700 Locust St., Dubuque
Info: 563-587-8225; americanbombshell.com/
Mirabito’s Italian Restaurant
This new Italian restaurant says its spaghetti marinara is the specialty of the house, along with an Italian sausage lasagna, cannelloni, manicotti and veal saltimbocca. Try one of the pizzas or subs served with pasta salad.
Find It: 40 Sugar Creek Lane, North Liberty
The newest restaurant in Mason City? ThaiBistro with its menu of sushi, seafood and Thai dishes
Find It: 11 S. Delaware Ave., Mason City
This new event center features a steakhouse, seafood and Blue Water Pizza Co. Order crab cakes, New York strip steaks, dry-aged bone-in pork chops and cedar plank Scottish salmon while the crepe shop serves up salmon souffles, a banana’s Foster crepe and Ivana’s famous baklava. Blue Water Pizza Co. features cracker crust pizzas like Beach Bum with bronzed chicken, roasted peppers and onions topped with a Cajun alfredo sauce, while the Lobster has a pesto alfredo, capers and roasted yellow peppers.
Find It: 610 Linden Drive, Arnolds Park
Info: 712-220-3200; waterfrontokoboji.com
Basal Pizza in Waterloo features Neapolitan pizzas cooked at 900 degrees in 60 to 90 seconds. (Photo: Special to the Register)
Downtown Waterloo now has Neapolitan pizzas cooked in 60 to 90 seconds in a 900 degree oven. Those heat blisters give the pizza a smoky flavor while the mozzarella and plum tomatoes make it authentic Italian. Guests sit at a communal table made from pine trees in South Dakota or outside on the patio. Owner Tony Eischeid and chef Matt Hoecker created the recipes for these pies.
Find It: 225 W. Fourth St., Waterloo