JeffB wrote:One-post jjbinfl speaks the truth. As does LTHer Tyrgyzistan in his Des-Loines blog. I was just in Des Moines for a day and made it to B&B Grocery for a monster tenderloin washed down with Mexican Fresca. To be honest, B&B aside, Des Moines was more depressing than I'd hoped. I chalk it up to post-holiday, bad weather, early week doldrums. B&B's energy, the exceedingly welcoming and friendly staff (I honestly thought they were messing with me at first) and the great food stood out all the more. B&B is like Des Moines' Bari, Riv, Tenuta's, Freddy's, Manny's, etc. Lots of old timers and regulars shooting the bull in a real old-timey butcher shop (since '22) and general sundries store with some Italian items and some Mexican to reflect the changing demographics of the neighborhood. A counter with a few stools completes the picture. I dug reading the original Des Moines Register coverage of Bonnie & Clyde Barrow's local exploits and downfall, lacquered and stuck to the counter. This was an audible at the line when Kelly's Little Nipper (documented by Da Beef and others) was closed up tight. I'm no tenderloin super fan, but I did appreciate the expertly-fried schnitzel of tender white meat on a cheap burger bun that circumscribed a comically small subset of the massive cutlet. The hamburgers and deli sandwiches looked outstanding as well. To make things a tad healthier, a buck-fifty side of 3 terrific deviled eggs rounded it off.
First off, a correction: the deviled eggs at B&B are three for one dollar
. Wouldn't want to scare off prospective customers because of price. B&B was the highlight of a recent trip to Des Moines; thanks for expanding upon others' recommendations.
I'm not a tenderloin super fan either but this is a very good sandwich. Real meat, simply prepared and simply presented. Good eggs too. I also tried Zach's Italian Killer, pictured here in front of the Barrow gang coverage (that's Blanche Barrow washing her hands after being fingerprinted on the day her husband was mortally wounded).
A surprisingly tasty sandwich and more than the sum of its parts. Toasted bread and the red and banana peppers make all the difference. I ate some later cold and it wasn't nearly as enjoyable.
I tried to visit Kelly's Little Nipper but, like JeffB, found it closed. I was under the impression that it had reopened with new owners
. Does anyone know the current situation? [it has reopened; see 17 Aug 2011 post]
Wandering around the neighborhood I passed one of several interesting taco trucks. But I wasn't interested in authentic Mexican food; I was in search of Des Moines-style tacos.
Tasty Tacos is a small local chain, in business since 1961. I think the Grand restaurant is their original location. Tasty Tacos is known and loved (by some at least) for their puffy fried tacos.
I was impressed with the frybread shells—not too greasy, with a satisfying chewy texture. Unfortunately the fillings (both the original beef & bean and pork) were as bland as could be. The house made tomato salsa was of little help. A shame because this bread could easily support some robust stuffin'.
Iowa's love of loosemeat sandwiches is well known so it shouldn't be a surprise that the local Italian sausage sandwich is commonly presented in the un-encased format. As I understand it, in Des Moines the term grinder
usually refers to a loosemeat Italian sausage sandwich.
Jennie's has been selling their unfortunately-named sandwiches at the State Fair since the 1940s. About a year ago the family opened a small place (no seating inside) up on Hubble, behind the Git n Go. The menu is simple: tenderloins, burgers, hot dogs, grinders.
A real monster, with probably almost a pound of sausage in there. Fortunately it's very good sausage—not too greasy, not dry, not too spicy, not bland. Cheese and roll don't add a lot but don't detract much either. That sandwich has me interested to sample more of Des Moines' many grinders.
B & B Grocery, Meat & Deli
2001 SE 6th St
Des Moines IA
Kelly's Little Nipper (closed??) [it has reopened; see 17 Aug 2011 post]
1701 E Grand Av
Des Moines IA
several locations including:
1418 E Grand Av
Des Moines IA
Jennie's Original Grinder
3765 Hubble Av
Des Moines IA
515-265-1944Edited to mention reopening of Kelly's Little Nipper