Drake University

From the Admission staff of Drake University, with special thanks to Tom Delahunt, Vice President for Admission and Student Financial Planning, and Lilianna Bernstein, Senior Admission Counselor:


La Mie Bakery
841 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA

Des Moines is French for “The Monks”— or as one local T-shirt store jokes: “The Moines”. You can acquire your own local French flavor at La Mie, known throughout the city for its amazing home-made pastries and baked goods -- sourdough sunflower rye bread, fresh fruit tarts, pecan rolls and panna cotta. Everything is baked fresh each morning and you’ll have trouble choosing what to eat when you walk into this modern café bistro and see the display cases stocked full of delicious treats.


Waveland Café
4708 University Ave
Des Moines, IA

The Waveland Café is an authentic hole-in-the-wall, greasy spoon and a beloved gem of Des Moines’ West Side. This is where the locals go. In fact, drive by on a weekend and you’ll often see a line out the door of people waiting to get a table.  The wait staff has worked there so long their portraits are painted on the walls, which also display the autographs of many national politicians and journalists who have made it their go-to morning spot during the busy Iowa Caucus seasons. Try the pancakes, hasbrowns, or biscuits and gravy or go for the skillets and you’ll be full the rest of the day.


Most visitors who tour Drake stay for lunch in Hubbell Dining Hall or Quad Creek Café, but if you want to venture forth, compromise by grabbing some off-campus flavor. There are many restaurants in the Drake neighborhood and a global palette spanning from sushi to falafel. Here are our top two Drake Neighborhood restaurants:


Jethro’s BBQ
3100 Forest Ave
Des Moines, IA

Jethro’s is a classic neighborhood BBQ joint and a great place to hang out before walking over to Drake Stadium or the Knapp Center to see a Drake game live. The variety of BBQ sauces to sample will baffle you… White BBQ sauce anyone?! Try a couple flavors on your smoked meat and a couple more as dip for your waffle fries. The crown jewel of the menu is the Adam Emmeneker Sandwich, a food challenge entrée that was featured on the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food TV show. This BBQ sandwich, named for a former Drake basketball star, weighs in at five pounds. Eat it in 15 minutes and you’ll win fame on the wall and a T-Shirt. If five pound sandwiches aren’t your thing, cheer on those attempting the feat, or a game on TV.

The Drake Diner
1111 25th Street
Des Moines, Iowa

This retro 50’s Diner is a neighborhood institution. The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, salads, and comfort classics like meatloaf. Try the pumpkin pancakes, corned beef hash or huevos rancheros for breakfast or pick up a tuna sandwich or a bowl of chili for lunch. If you're headed there in the evening, check out their blue plate dinners of hand-carved roast beef or turkey or try the pot roast or spaghetti and meatballs. No stop to the Drake Diner is complete without an old-fashioned milk shake. In a hurry to get back to campus for your tour? Ask to take your milkshake in a to-go cup and enjoy while strolling the campus.


1003 Locust Street
Des Moines, Iowa

Everything on Centro’s menu is delicious, which is probably why it is Des Moines’ go-to restaurant for a night out in downtown. The menu ranges from pastas and brick-oven pizzas, to savory meats -- including items like seared scallops with balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, Calabrian chile rubbed ribeye, a crabcake burger or handmade cavatelli. And don’t fill up on the amazing, home-made bread (easy to do) because the portions at Centro are huge. After dinner, you’re just steps away from the downtown Des Moines’ Western Gateway. Take a walk or “scoop the loop” in your car around the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

Zombie Burger
300 East Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA

Ask any Drake student where their favorite downtown restaurant is and you’re bound to hear Zombie Burger. This hip restaurant isn’t your typical burger joint. Located in the trendy East Village neighborhood, Zombie Burger is— literally— a monster mash-up of classic and oddly delicious burger combinations. Check out the Walking Ched— a burger that substitutes deep fried macaroni and cheese for buns. Another shocking fan favorite is the Undead Elvis, a burger with bacon, peanut butter and  fried bananas -- those who try it swear by it! All sandwiches can be made with chicken, portabella mushrooms, or veggie burgers so there are bound to be something on the menu for everyone. And, don’t even get us started on the monster-mashed milkshakes…. Rice Krispie Treat, Cherry Koolaid, Carrot Cake and more. The flavor combinations are out of this world!