Locally Grown

Des Moines’ Lost Dining Tribe, The Herbivores

I have been meaning to address the Vegetarian/Vegan scene (or lack thereof) here in Des Moines for quite some time now.  We have seen the local food-writing (pro, am, or reluctant) attempt to put in their two cents…to varied degrees of unsuccess.  Let’s face it, writing about a subject you know little about is a very daunting task (I once tried to write an article about horse training.  Laughable) and any effort made to inform the Citizenry of the DSM(DMI) of their vegetarian dining options prior to this point in history should be applauded.  Kinda.

I have spent all but 6 months of my time in Des Moines living in the vegetarian and vegan realm and have experienced just about all of the joys and frustrations this city has to offer.  Being Veggie is very frustrating from a dining out standpoint.  Many times you are an outcast, an inconvenience, a dining anomaly to the people preparing or serving your food.  Conversely, once in a while you find a place that really gets what you are going for (which is NOT just a plate of bland, over-cooked steamed vegetables) which is seriously a pleasant surprise.  For all of you non-vegetarians out there, imagine your eating habits and lifestyle being constantly questioned.  I hope this is making sense.  For once.

So with that said, this will be an ongoing series for all of you Veg or Veg-curious folks looking to do a little dining out.  I welcome any input from you tens of readers out there.  I know you just want my opinion, but lets make this about community.  Isn’t that what eating is all about?

With all of that said, let’s get down to some real information.  Here is a short list off the top of my head of local spots that do a good job of catering to Veg-folk directly from their menus.

1. Ritual Cafe, 1301 Locust St. 288-4872 This is DEMoynes’ only vegetarian-only spot.  It’s the ONLY place in town where the menu is sans-meat.  Ritual is a coffee shop that serves an assortment of Panini, Quiche, baked goods, and a darn fine Hummus.  No meat. ever.  Did I mention this is the ONLY ALL-VEGETARIAN PLACE IN recommend you support them, because they are carrying the torch for the rest of you.

Thank you wordpress for not publishing the other 600 words in this post.  I have about f*cking had it with this.  I apologize for the truncated post.  I was not intending on only listing Ritual Cafe, although it would have mad for a great short list.  i will attempt to post a revision listing the missing information later.  It’s break time.

The Cook


5 Comments so far
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I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this post. Ritual is, indeed, a fabulous place to eat, but I’d love to hear about more options. I will say that Fong’s vegetarian pizza is fabulous and possibly deserves a mention. Also Drake Diner makes a mean veggie burger.

Comment by Kat

I’ve found Des Moines to be surprisingly veggie-friendly, so long as you stay away from the obvious non-herbivorous spots (BBQ places, steak houses, Machine Shed, etc). I’ve also found that any place that *doesn’t* have obvious vegetarian choices will usually be willing to whip up something special if you ask nicely (and tip well).

Comment by Christa

Ritual is an excellent pick. I also like Fresh in West Des Moines and Thai Flavors on 14th. I really wish there was a raw vegan restaurant in town. A girl can dream…

Comment by Stacy

[…] Cafe, 1301 Locust St, Des Moines  515 288 4872  Refer back to here for the […]

Pingback by Des Moines’ Lost Tribe Part 1.1 “Missing In Fraction” « Locally Grown

I am not a fan of the prefab pucks Drake Diner passes off as veggie burgers. I’ll take one of George’s veggie burgers (at Gateway, Centro) over Drake’s any day.

What I DO love at Drake is their black bean relish. Their checkerboard nachos and taco salad are MVPs.

Comment by maria

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