urban cellar pasta

Restaurant of the Week: Urban Cellar

Urban Cellar, located in West Des Moines, opened in 2019 after major renovations. This local, family-owned restaurant features modern décor and American cuisine and is home to a small market as part of its unique concept.

The husband-and-wife team behind Urban Cellar, Dave and Jean Thompson, also own other restaurants in the area and wanted Urban Cellar to be more than just a restaurant (hence the small market). The majority of menu items are homemade, including the cocktails, which often include fresh-squeezed ingredients and no added preservatives.

This casual yet cozy atmosphere welcomes you the moment you walk in. The restaurant itself is very spacious and designed to accommodate a variety of events, from an intimate gathering to larger parties. Urban Cellar is a great local spot for a romantic date night, an evening of drinks and appetizers with friends or a dinner out with family.

To start out the evening, a few top items in the appetizer section are the fried calamari and Mama Jean’s Meatballs. The fried calamari is served over a bed of shredded carrots with a side of house-made marinara sauce that has a zip to it. The calamari is lightly fried, perfectly seasoned with the right amount of crisp. Mama Jean’s Meatballs are owner Jean’s famous comfort food recipe. The meatballs are filling, full of flavor and spices that melt in your mouth. The ricotta cheese melted on top adds a creamy element to complete the dish. Another can’t-miss dish, the chicken and corn chowder has a creamy base with shredded grilled chicken, carrots, corn and celery. It is exactly like a chicken pot pie, without the crust.

If the appetizers didn’t fill you up, the main entrees just might do the trick. The variety of the menu is sure to have even the pickiest eater finding something they will enjoy. The cooked medium-rare scallops are nothing like you have had, as they are seared and seasoned to excellence, which is why there is no need for any other additions to the scallops itself. These are served over buttery whipped potatoes, diced mushrooms and a greenery mix. Another superb dish is the 3 Little Pig’s pizza. This pizza is topped with an abundance of pork belly, sausage, pepperoni and red onion slices. The wood fire adds a nice crispy crust to this meat lover’s pie that will have you reaching for one slice after another.

It wouldn’t be the end of a meal without dessert, and who can say no to candy? The candy bar pie features an Oreo crust and piled-high vanilla bean ice cream, topped with crushed-up Heath and Snickers bars, drizzled with chocolate and caramel syrup. This will definitely curb your sweet tooth and gives off a creamy candy bar vibe. Perfect to split with a friend or eat it all yourself; no judgement here.

Urban Cellar is open Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant does have an online ordering system with a contactless curbside option for pickup or delivery. Happy hour is Tuesday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m., which offers many specials including $3 domestics and $4 house wines.

For more information about Urban Cellar, visit urbancellarwdm.com.

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