Fong’s Pizza is a funky pizza place that has taken traditional Chinese dishes and created them into pizza, counting Alton Brown, Jim Gaffigan, Adam Richman and Killswitch Engage as celebrity fans. Fong’s Pizza has four locations throughout Iowa, with the original being in the heart of Downtown Des Moines.
Fong’s three other locations are also in Des Moines near Drake University, Ankeny and Cedar Rapids. The original location was opened in 2009 after the oldest Chinese restaurant in the nation had closed. The new owners wanted to pay tribute to the Chinese restaurant–hence the creation of Fong’s Pizza–and its staff is happy to discuss the restaurant’s history.
Fong’s is a must-go for adventurous eaters and pizza lovers alike. Where else could you find crazy pizza concoctions like a crab Rangoon pizza? The downtown spot is great for a grab-and-go lunch slice Monday through Friday, or a casual business meeting. Want a unique date night? Fong’s is at the top of the list, as Fong’s atmosphere resembles a classic Chinese restaurant, with a vibe of a dive bar. The restaurant also features late-night slices every day, which makes it the perfect spot to end the night after an evening out.
Fong’s happy hour is outstanding with numerous specials, but the best deal is a free slice of pizza with any beverage purchase, Monday through Friday. A fan-favorite cocktail is the Mango the Panda, a sweet and tangy concoction of Cruzan strawberry and mango rums, lime, lemon and mango, which is served in a funky panda glass. All of its signature Tiki drinks are served in some sort of unique class, which are all available for purchase.
Let’s talk menu items. You can’t go wrong with anything you order, but there are a few highly requested items that will make your mouth water. The first being an appetizer that is 100 percent vegan, but you would never know. The cauliflower wings are a new item and have been very popular so far. The meaty cauliflower pieces are lightly breaded and fried, then tossed in a spicy orange sauce before being topped with green onions, sesame seeds and a fresh, sweet garlic wasabi finish.
There are several pizzas that will curb any Chinese craving you may have: the crab Rangoon pizza and ramen pizza. The crab Rangoon pizza is what Fong’s is known for, and last month alone there was 800 orders of this delicious pizza. The thin crust is filled with a mixture of cheeses and crab to resemble a Rangoon filling. Small wonton pieces and a drizzle of sweet chili lattice complete this spin on a Chinese classic dish.
The ramen pizza is also a new menu item and has plenty of toppings to fill you up. The large chicken pieces, crunchy ramen noodles and edamame fit perfectly together. The crushed peanuts definitely shine through bite after bite. There is no shortage of flavor or uniqueness in this dish.
After all the pizza you can eat, you must try the raspberry cheesecake eggroll. This dessert is fried to perfection with a creamy cheesecake filling, and the raspberry sauce in the middle makes for a nice surprise. The drizzle of chocolate sauce over top is an ideal touch for this specialty dessert.
Fong’s has been operating at half capacity and also offers online ordering, curbside service and, recently added, delivery. Staff is masked and uses QR codes for menu and proper sanitation between guest visits. While unable to serve during the COVID pandemic, the Kamikaze shot is a well-known tradition. Anyone who wishes to participate will receive a special Kamikaze shot while wearing a retro pilot helmet.
Fong’s is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information about Fong’s Pizza, visit fongspizza.com.