Friday, May 30, 2008

Help Me Choose the Best Burger Joint in Des Moines

I'm crying "uncle." I'm breaking my cheeseburger fast next week. Why this premediated act of weakness? Because I'm going to Des Moines.
It's been awhile since I was in Des Moines. I got snowed in waiting in vain for Vice President Al Gore to arrive. He was supposed to unveil a brand new Internet initiative that was a partnership between MCI and the public library system. I was managing the check presentation event. It was a long, tedious day of standing around watching the snow storm roll across the plains. My companions were a few frustrated MCI staff, and a clatch of humorless Secret Service personnel. With no sign of Mr. Gore by nightfall, we packed it in. A local person invited us to thaw out in a restaurant. I remember asking the waitress to recommend something. "Steak, honey, have the steak. You're in Iowa. Best beef you'll ever have!" She was right.

This time I am going to Des Moines as part of the RenGen on the Road lecture series, sponsored by MetLife.Tuesday, June 3, I will be speaking at 9:30AM at the Iowa State Historical Building. Drop by. It's a FREE lecture!

Now, where to do the deed? I mean, if I'm going to succumb, it'd better be a mind-blowingly good burger. I asked around and below are the options. Can you help me choose? Anyone out there been to any of these establishments? Cast your vote. I've got one shot at this. Then it's back on the wagon.

Choices so far:

Michael Morain, arts reporter for the DesMoines Register votes for the Drake Diner Maytag Burger

His colleague, food writer Tom Perry, seconds this choice. As did a "secret burger guru" who wishes to remain anonymous.

My buddy Joe Butcher likes Be-Bop Drive-in.

My host in Des Moines, Mary Sundet Jones points me to an "under-the-radar burger served up at the Olympic Flame. She advises the grilled onions and "over-cooked" fries to round it out. She also likes Jesse's Embers.

Des Moines radio personality John Busbee feels an entire burger tour is required to do this research right. That means hitting spots he likes such as Little Steamers in Garnavillo and the Gunder Burger in Gunder. But he tips his hat to the Maytag Burger, as well.

Okay, any votes out there? Iowans let's hear from you!

photo courtesy of Memm74 at Flickr


Mother Earth said...

i had a group of foodie friends - we'd pick a genre - in this case the burger - ask a bunch of folks just like you did and then go out on our own quest - we'd do a burger crawl - you know like a pub crawl just without intoxication !! With 6 of us - we'd get a bit of each burger and decide for ourselves - what a hoot that was.

locally i am a big fan of boston blackies - if you ever yearn - I'll split one with ya!!

Patricia Martin said...

Thanks, Mother Earth. Tempting, tempting.

Anonymous said...

go to and post your question on the Midwest board. The hounds are very knowledgeable about local cuisine

Roxanne Darling said...

Thank you Patricia for your coverage of and interest in beach Walks - and referrals too! I think the web is just starting to mature in both the content being delivered as well as the business understanding of how to create niche communities that while not centered around a product, certainly are inviting to a marketer who wants to learn to thrive in the foreign country that is the social web.

Re: the numbers, it is not a coincidence that more and more people are willing to acknowledge that advertising buys have really not had measurable accountability. When you think that neilsen was the standard-bearer, and then you think of how many loopholes there are there, well... With web delivery, we truly can target and measure engagement, unlike anything every before.

PS Our company is "Bare Feet Studios" though we definitely have a "barefoot" culture!