Rediscovery: Flying Mango

— By Design Furniture & Interior Design presents dsmDining —

Above: With so many new restaurants around town, it’s time to revisit some well-established, unflagging favorites.

By Wini Moranville

I hadn’t been to Flying Mango for over five years. What’s up with that? It’s simply that whenever I think of going, it’s too late in the day to snag a reservation (I’ve tried). The popular Beaverdale spot is always booked whenever I want to go.

Recently, I actually planned ahead. (I suggest you do the same, the old-fashioned way: call 515-255-4111). When we arrived a good 10 minutes before our 7:15 reservation on a Friday, the small waiting area was jammed, and (understandably) our table wasn’t ready. But get this: Within minutes of putting our name in, we had drinks in our hands. And this didn’t take elbowing our way to a bar and flagging down any barkeep. No such chaos here; they have a server dedicated to making sure those waiting for a table stay slaked and happy.

That’s one of the many things that have always impressed me about Flying Mango. If you, like me, tire of servers who seem more like independent contractors than part of a team truly dedicated to the seamless ethos of a place, then head here. It helped, of course, that owner Mike Wedeking was present, doing everything from busing tables to making each diner feel like they’re the most important person in the room.

Oh, yes, and then there’s the food. Lately, I’ve become somewhat of a shrimp-and-grits aficionado. With creamy grits topped by plump, sweet shrimp—all rimmed by a rich, heady stock—the version here made me as happy as any I’d had in the Southern states. Barbecue? Of course: My dining pal, Mr. Sportcoat, tucked into a huge combo plate of brisket, ribs and chicken. All were grand, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose the ribs. No, wait, the brisket … or maybe the chicken. (You get the idea.) A sweet-style cornbread and braised greens especially stood out as sides.

Truth be told, I’ve been a bit grumpy about the overall Des Moines dining scene lately. After a visit to Flying Mango, I’m beginning to wonder if one way to get back that lovin’ feeling might be to revisit restaurants I too often forget about while chasing down all the new ones that endlessly pop up. Therefore, with this column, I’m launching an occasional “Revisited” series. I’d welcome any leads you have. Find me on Facebook at All Things Food DSM.

Flying Mango is at 4345 Hickman Road;

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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