I know kids love McDonalds and Red Robin, but Des Moines has loads of fun and cool local spots that they will love just as much. At our house, Mama doesn’t cook on Saturday nights. Everyone needs a night off right? So we eat out. Here are five of my family’s favorite local spots to eat in Des Moines:
1250 86th Street • Clive • (515) 225-8111
If you’re looking for a fun way to introduce your kids to Thai food and sushi, Cool Basil is a great pick. Their kid’s menu is reasonably priced and has healthy options, such as chicken satay and steamed veggies. If you are not familiar with Thai food it can be very spicy. Cool Basil has a spice scale of one to six, with six being the hottest. My fiery son likes to order the six. If this happens to you, give the server a discreet look and order a three or lower. Your kid will be none the wiser and won’t set their mouth on fire! For those of you that don’t like any kind of heat, you can order no spice.
Price Range: Kids Menu – $5.95 for entrees; Regular Menu – $6 to $20 for entrees.
Tip: Cool Basil moved to a new location this summer, luckily it’s not that far from the old place. Verify you have the correct address before heading out to eat.
1905 Ingersoll Avenue • Des Moines • (515) 244-8786
8950 University Avenue • West Des Moines • (515) 216-2198
Gusto Pizza serves up made from scratch pizzas and sandwiches in a low key family friendly atmosphere. They have fun kid options like Hot Dog Pizza and S’mores Calzones. My daughter usually opts for the PB&J Calzone, which is surprisingly good. We also like to order the brownies, they are thick, rich, chocolaty goodness. Mom and Dad may also imbibe on a craft beer or two while we’re dining. You can’t have pizza without beer right?
Price Range: Kids Menu – Pizza, Sandwiches and Salad $4-$5; Regular Menu – Pizza $8 to $10 and Sandwiches $10-$19.
Tip: Let the kids try an Italian Soda, which has less sugar and calories than a regular one.
My kids watch Man vs. Food and love that the show filmed at a restaurant in their hometown. Jethro’s (many locations, see website) serves generous portions of BBQ, steak and sandwiches. Each location also has a unique specialty. The large barn like interiors means there’s never a long wait, which is a plus for hungry kiddos. Jethro’s has an extensive kid’s menu and all orders include an entrée, side and a drink. My kids particularly like the chicken strips, pork sandwich and the macaroni and cheese.
Price Range: Kids Menu – all items are $6.95. Regular Menu – $9.95 to $26.95 for entrees.
Tip: Be prepared to take leftovers home.
310 Court Avenue • Des Moines • (515) 243-2195
Spaghetti Works is a Des Moines institution. I loved Spaghetti Works when I was a kid and my kids now love it too. What kid doesn’t love spaghetti? The Kid’s Menu includes spaghetti and sauce, spaghetti and meatball (which is huge) and other typical kid’s menu fare. The kid’s meal includes a trip to the salad bar and a drink. My kids, like most, love the fire truck salad bar, where they fill up on chocolate pudding and croutons.
Price Range: Kids Menu – $4.49 to $5.29; Regular Menu – $7.49 to $14.99 for entrees.
Tip: Kids eat FREE on Mondays.
300 E. Grand Avenue • Des Moines • (515) 244-9292
Zombies, burgers and shakes….not shocking that this is my kids’ favorite place to eat in Des Moines. And, it’s a bonus that Zombie Burger has an inexpensive Kid’s Menu, leaving room in your wallet to order a shake. My daughter typically orders a hot dog and my son ditches the Kid’s Menu to order the Raygun, one of their Goremet Bashed Burgers. Bonus, Zombie Burger recently announced that they will be opening a second location at Jordan Creek food court.
Price Range: Kids Menu – all items are $3.99; Regular Menu – $4.99 to $12.49 for entrees.
Tip: Zombie Burger is a popular place, to avoid a long wait go at off hours.
What’s your family’s favorite local restaurant?