Winchester Pub Features Elevated Bar Fare

The pear and walnut flatbread from Winchester Pub “hit all the tastebuds,” food contributor Karla Walsh says.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Cheers to even more culinary options in Valley Junction!

Winchester Pub—formally the Winchester Public House—opened in the heart of Valley Junction during summer 2019. The original menu included a diverse cocktail lineup, a mix of local and global beers, an ample wine selection, a beautifully designed wood bar, and a few snacks like nuts and cheese boards for nibbling.

But a few weeks ago, the newly expanded space at 224 Fifth St., West Des Moines, added solid pub fare, too. Featuring plenty of vegetarian choices and a welcome amount of fresh herbs, produce and international inspiration, the food options go far beyond typical wings and nachos.

On our first visit after the food menu launched, a friend and I shared the perfectly seasoned Ssambap, Korean lettuce wraps fully loaded with rice, ground chicken, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers and Gochujang sauce. (For the uninitiated, Gochujang is a fermented chile paste that’s spicy, with a hint of being sweet and almost meaty in a delightful way.)

The tomato- and pesto-topped seared polenta offered a preview of summer flavors, and the slivered almond garnish lent a lovely little crunch. The pear and walnut flatbread with fig jam, shallots, arugula, goat cheese and candied walnuts was plenty for two and hit all the taste buds: sweet (pear, jam, nuts), salty (cheese), spicy (arugula) and bitter (shallots). And the strawberry mascarpone-slathered vanilla bean ricotta cake was the icing on top of a delightful feast.

I can’t wait to see and savor what the Winchester Pub kitchen dreams up next. If this is a preview of coming events, I’ll be there early and often this summer. Who’s up for a Valley Junction dinner crawl?

Visit to see the menu and for more details. Winchester Pub is open 2 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

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