Top List 2014

These aren’t just any 100 people, though. They’re a carefully selected and diverse group of tastemakers whose opinions we, and our readers, have learned to trust over the years. They work in nearly every field—from hospitality to technology, fashion to finance—and range in age from young professionals to those who’ve lived here for six-plus decades. The common denominator is that they are actively engaged in Greater Des Moines; they know the city well, and they love it wholeheartedly.

Results show clear agreement on some of the metro area’s stars: The Des Moines Art Center and 801 Chophouse, for example, were the top pick in three categories each. The Bravo Gala, Gateway Market and Centro also shined brightly as favorites.

Most of the categories include a winner and a runner-up. However, we didn’t list a runner-up when no clear choice emerged for that spot, such as when there was a three-way, or more, tie.

Although it’s fun to peruse the results to see how the respondents’ choices might be different from, or the same as, your own, the real fun comes in using the list. Maybe that means revisiting favorites (have you seen the Jesper Just exhibit at the Art Center yet?), going to places that have been on your to-do list for years (have you ever taken a spin on the Heritage Carousel or toured the Iowa State Capitol?) or exploring new spots (have you checked out Trellis?). Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail, ride your bike, tailor a suit or romance your sweetheart, the Top List is sure to give you some fresh ideas.


Top historical building:
Iowa State Capitol
Runner-up: World Food Prize Hall
of Laureates

Top contemporary building:
Des Moines Art Center
Runner-up: Des Moines Central Library

Top nonprofit organization or club:
Des Moines Art Center
Runner-up: Des Moines Social Club

Top hidden gem:
Heritage Carousel in Union Park
Runner-up: Hub Spot

Top residential neighborhood:
Runner-up: Beaverdale

Top view of the city:
Des Moines Embassy Club
Runner-up: The Plaza

Top piece of public art:
“Nomade” by Jaume Plensa


Top golf course:
Wakonda Club
Runner-up: Waveland Golf Course

Top private party room:
Embassy Club West
Runner-up: The Temple for
Performing Arts

Top annual fundraising event:
Bravo Gala

Top spot to enjoy nature:
Water Works Park
Runner-up: Gray’s Lake

Top hotel:
The Suites of 800 Locust

Top bicycle trails (a tie):
High Trestle Trail
Great Western Trail

Top local attraction:
Des Moines Art Center
Runner-up: Iowa State Fair

Top family attraction:
Iowa State Fair
Runner-up: Science Center of Iowa

Top place to see and be seen:
Bravo Gala
Runner-up: Centro

Top places to hear live music (a tie):
Simon Estes Amphitheater
Des Moines Civic Center

Top Iowa “staycation”:
Lake Okoboji
Runners-up (a tie): Iowa City
Clear Lake

Trellis’ pasta primavera features a creamy béchamel sauce and fresh garden vegetables.

Top new restaurant:
Runner-up: Table 128 Bistro + Bar

Top fine-dining restaurant:
Baru 66

Top restaurant for alfresco dining:
Dos Rios Cantina and Tequila Lounge

Top casual restaurant:
Runner-up: Django

Top bakery:
La Mie Bakery
Runner-up: Crème Cupcake + Dessert

Top coffeehouse:
Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure
Runner-up: Smokey Row Coffee Co.

Top spot to impress VIPs:
801 Chophouse
Runner-up: Centro

Top restaurant for steaks:
801 Chophouse
Runners-up (a tie): Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Jesse’s Embers

Top seafood restaurant:
Splash Seafood Bar & Grill
Runner-up: Waterfront Seafood Market and Restaurant

Top pizza restaurant:
Gusto Pizza Co.
Runner-up: Noah’s Ark Restaurant & Lounge

Top barbecue restaurant:
Jethro’s BBQ
Runner-up: Woody’s Smoke Shack

Top ethnic restaurant:
A Dong
Runner-up: Thai Flavors

Top romantic restaurant:
Café di Scala
Runner-up: Bistro Montage

Top wine list:
801 Chophouse

Top place for cocktails:
Runners-up (a tie): Americana Restaurant & Lounge


Top hair salon:
Salon Spa W

Top spa:
East Village Day Spa
Runners-up (a tie): Sahar’s Salon &
Day Spa
Salon Spa W

Top dry cleaning service:
French Way Cleaners

Top lawn care service:
Perficut Companies
Runner-up: Wright Outdoor Solutions

Top tailoring service:
Alterations & Custom Made by Tran
274.6854 (no website available)
Runner-up: Lou’s Tailoring


Top bridal shop:
Schaffer’s Bridal Salon
Runner-up: Dornink

Top store for women’s clothing:
Von Maur
Runners-up (a tie): K.Renee
Silver Fox

Top shop for men’s clothing:
Runner-up: Mr. B

Top shop to buy shoes:
Von Maur
Runner-up: DSW

Top chocolate shop:
Chocolaterie Stam

Top specialty food market:
Gateway Market
Runner-up: Whole Foods Market

Top wine shop:
Gateway Market
Runner-up: Ingersoll Wine & Spirits

Top home accessories store:
K. Renee Home

Top furniture store:
Projects Contemporary Furniture
Runner-up: Homemakers Furniture

Top jewelry store:
Josephs Jewelers
Runner-up: 2AU Ltd.

Top auto dealer:
Willis Auto Campus
Runner-up: Toyota of Des Moines

Top shop to buy vintage goods (a tie):
Hill Vintage & Knits
(Disclosure: Hill Vintage is owned by dsm style contributor Jessica Miller.)
Found Things

Top floral shop:
Boesen the Florist
Runner-up: Hy-Vee Inc.

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