Fresh strawberries and citrus Chantilly cream top the Liège waffles at RC’s Diner.
Writer: Karla Walsh
Photographer: Duane Tinkey
Whether you have time just for a pit stop or want to make a day of it, there’s a breakfast boom happening in Central Iowa. Here are five restaurants to check out.
With pages of sweet and savory options including cinnamon roll pancakes (pictured), biscuits and gravy-inspired pot pie, and avocado toast with whipped ricotta and poached eggs, it would take dozens of visits to make your way through the menu. Classics like egg white omelets and fluffy French toast as well as over-the-top creations like bloody mary cocktails garnished with a chicken sandwich (yes, this exists!) mean there’s something for every diet and craving.
Aim to be an early bird to beat the crowd or visit Yelp to join the waitlist—demand has been high since this new West Des Moines spot opened in May. (9250 University Ave., Suite 107, West Des Moines; earlybirdbrunch.com)
Similar to “Cheers” but with a kid-friendly twist, RC’s Diner is the place where everyone knows your name. Co-owners Joe Tripp (of James Beard-nominated Harbinger fame) and Simon Goheen (the patriarch of Simon’s)—two of Des Moines’ most well-known hospitality pros—have been seeing to it since opening in July. The name RC’s is a clear sign of the familial vibe: It’s a tribute to Simon’s daughter Rori and Joe’s son Clayton, and the menu at the Windsor Heights all-day modern diner nods to Tripp’s Jewish roots. You’ll find delights such as bialy avocado toast, eggs Benedict and Liège waffles.
Save room for a dessert or pastry, such as a baked-to-order cookie, slice of pie or cake, or milkshake. (6587 University Ave., Windsor Heights; rcsdinerdsm.com)
5 Borough Bagels
As much as we’d love for every day to start with a sit-down breakfast, our lives don’t always allow for that, which is where this bagel shop at 13435 University Ave., Suite 300, in Clive (5boroughbagels.com) and its open-since-March sibling 5 Borough Bagels Express (12493 University Ave., Clive; 5boroughexpress.com) come in. Fast and available for pre-order, the scratch-made bagel sandwiches, biscuits, scones, breakfast wraps and coffee drinks can be enjoyed on the go.
It’s affordable, too: All menu items (including the piled-high Empire bagel sandwich with cream cheese, bacon, sausage, ham, egg and three cheeses) ring up at $9.95 or less.
The Breakfast Club
For a weekend or holiday, you can’t do much better than a long, lingering and possibly boozy meal at this East Village hot spot. Co-owner Joe McConville’s menu is nostalgic with a twist, featuring recipes like angel food cake French toast, a Southwestern-spiced Juan Denver omelet, and a fried pineapple and ham-crowned Hawaiian eggs Benedict. Elvis—a brioche breakfast sandwich stuffed with peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey—is even invited to the party. Pair any of the above with a mimosa flight or a classic espresso or cappuccino (212 E. Third St.; thebreakfastclubusa.com)
Crepêrie Viva La Crêpe
Enjoy a taste of Paris in the heart of West Des Moines at this family-friendly cafe. Showcasing an expansive mix of sweet and savory toppings, the crepes steal the show (although coffee, soups and salads are also available). For a lighter option, try one filled with fruit jam or sauteed veggies and feta. If you’ve got a larger appetite, try the quesadilla-esque steak or pork al pastor crêpeadillas.
For dessert, ask for yours adorned with Oreo cookies and ice cream or Kit Kat candy bars and cream cheese. (9250 University Ave., Unit 113, West Des Moines; facebook.com/creperievivalacrepe)