College classics reimagined: pizza

Whether it’s a last-minute dinner or late-night munchies, college students’ go-to is almost always a good slice of pizza. Luckily, ID magazine took a road trip through the Des Moines area to find the most interesting pizzas around.

Brickhouse Tavern

Phone: (515) 962-5025

Address: 107 N. Buxton St., Indianola, IA 50125

Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Fri. 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Pizza we tried: Spin Art Chicken – spinach & artichoke dip, mozzarella, grilled chicken, tomatoes

Our thoughts: The best thing about Brickhouse is its proximity to campus. This outgrowth of Sports Page Bar & Grill is also a great place for Simpson students to work. The Spin Art Chicken pizza is a classic favorite at Brickhouse, as it should be because it’s delicious.

Fong’s Pizza

Phone: (515) 323-3333

Address: 223 4th St., Des Moines, IA 50309

Full kitchen hours: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Pizza slices hours: Lunch – weekdays 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m

Happy hour – weekdays 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Late night – Sun. – Thurs. 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. & Fri.                                    – Sat. 10:00 pm. – 3:00 a.m.

Pizza we tried: Crab Rangoon – crab rangoon base, surimi, green onion, asiago & mozzarella, crispy wontons, sweet chili sauce

Our thoughts: Fong’s Pizza opened in an old Chinese restaurant in 2009, inspiring its Asian-influenced menu. They feature monthly specials and serve pizza by the slice, including gluten-free options. Their Crab Rangoon pizza has been one of their most popular for years. It’s a perfect mix of spicy, sweet and savory.

Gusto Pizza Co.

Phone: (515) 244-8786

Address: 1905 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309

Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Fri. – Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Pizza we tried: Mona Lisa – rosemary olive oil, garlic, cremini mushrooms, roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, romano & fresh ricotta

Our thoughts: Of the places we visited, Gusto surely had the most creative menu. It doesn’t even include the stereotypical, single-topping pizzas. Anything at Gusto is sure to be a unique experience. The Mona Lisa’s use of creamy ricotta cheese instead of the usual mozzarella gave it a tasty twist. Gusto’s menu also includes gluten-free options and vegan mozzarella cheese.

Big Tomato Pizza Co.

Phone: (515) 288-7227

Address: 2613 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309

Hours: Mon. – Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.

Sun. 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.

Pizza we tried: Chili Dog – refried beans, hot dog, red onion, cheddar & mozzarella

Our thoughts: For those who like to live it up late nights in Des Moines, Big Tomato is the place to go. There’s no dining area inside, but their pick-up window is open until 3:00 am. The menu includes pizzas such as Cajun Shrimp, Philly Cheese Steak and Chili Dog. As strange as the Chili Dog sounds, this was one of ID Magazine’s favorites.

Winn’s Pizza & Steakhouse

Phone: (515) 961-5757

Address: 122 W. Ashland Ave., Indianola, IA 50125

Hours: Tues. – Thurs. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Fri. – Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Pizza we tried: Aiden’s Special – gyro meat, tomato, onion

Our thoughts: Like Brickhouse, Winn’s is close to campus and easily accessible to students. Aiden’s Special is great for anyone with an appetite for Mediterranean food. Along with savory toppings, Winn’s pizza has phenomenal crust, a perfect way to finish a slice of their pizza.

Michael’s Pizza

Phone: (515) 255-5959

Address: 2629 Beaver Ave. Suite 13, Des Moines, IA 50310

Hours: Tues. – Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sun. 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Pizza we tried: Rueben – light rye crust, Thousand Island dressing, corned beef, sauerkraut, mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, Swiss

Our thoughts: Located in Beaverdale, this restaurant was reborn when a past employee reopened it after the original owner, Mike, retired. The wide-ranging menu includes Chicken Pesto and Bacon BBQ Chicken pizzas. The Rueben pizza we tried tastes just like the sandwich but better. Michael’s also makes take-and-bake pizzas to go, and gluten-free pizzas are available if notified a day in advance.

By Laura Wiersema


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