Claiming a Neighborhood Bar

— By Design Furniture & Interior Design presents dsmDining —

Above: Get a taste of Kansas City, traveling no farther south than Truman’s KC Pizza Tavern, 400 S.E. Sixth St.

By Wini Moranville

The more I travel the U.S., and the more I go out to eat in Des Moines, I’ve come to a heartening conclusion: The craft beer revolution has thoroughly upgraded casual dining, even at the pizzeria and burger baseline. Eateries that serve a great lineup of craft brews, more often than not, have elevated their food to the level of the beers.

This assumption recently guided me to Truman’s KC Tavern. Like other venues in the Full Court Press spate of good-time joints, this one is beer-centric. While the sharpest focus is on beers from Kansas City (Boulevard Brewing, in particular), the 24 taps include craft beers from all over the Midwest.

I loved everything about this place, starting with the cozy knotty pine and gleaming-dark wood interior. Yes, the TVs are ever-present (the venue is dedicated to both KC beers and sports), but they’re not in-your-face obnoxious. On a quiet Tuesday night, the bartender patiently pointed me to a beer I thoroughly enjoyed (the smooth and vanilla-y Eastern Cottontail IPA from Waterloo’s SingleSpeed Brewing Co.).

Our equally affable server spoke enthusiastically about the Podolak Pizza, topped with Graziano sausage, pepperoni, red peppers, mushrooms, onions and pineapple. The pizza was  great —you could tell they’d tested it over and over again to get a signature crust (both hearty-puffy and crisp) and a fine-tuned balance of toppings. It was great in a way I found myself dreaming of the next day.
This may well be my new neighborhood bar, even if it’s not exactly in my neighborhood.

Truman’s KC Pizza Tavern is at 400 S.E. Sixth St., 515-214-2759;

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.

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