Central Iowa · Family Adventures · Iowa Food

Sometimes You Gotta Spell Tenderloin With “Wow!”

Quick, get in! We’re goin’ tenderloin’in with Wow! Des Moines Tours!

Des Moines & West Des Moines, IA: Polk County

You know you’ve been sitting around with your friends wondering about how you could visit some of Des Moines’ best tenderloin havens. Sure, you’d like to visit multiple venues in one day, but you don’t want to do all that driving. Right? Of course I am! That’s why you reserve a seat with Wow! Des Moines Tours and get that BPT (Breaded Pork Tenderloin) craving properly taken care of.


This traveling tenderloin party was inspired by Iowa’s historical gifts to the world of food from the book, A Culinary History of Iowa: Sweet Corn, Pork Tenderloins, Maid-Rites & More by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby. That meant the first of the day’s treats came from a woman who loves stopping by with her vintage bicycle. A freezer full of Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream from Le Mars, Iowa and it will always be a tradition in countless homes, businesses, and smiles. Starting with dessert is always the best way to begin a gastro-tour in our book.


Paula’s Cafe in West Des Moines was stop number one on this tenderloin trail and we quickly learned it wasn’t going to be 100% pork in this tour. Their tradition BPTs were prepared to that golden crisp we all love here in Iowa. And like I said, this wasn’t the only Iowa legend going into the fresh buns here. The energetic and crowd-pleasing staff also had their own Maid-Rites ready for all these lovers of Iowa fare along with their famous cherry pie.


Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop is one of Des Moines’ most treasured BPT landmarks, and their fryers have been producing some of the best and biggest for decades. The owner gave us the story of this historical eatery as we put down his famous sandwiches. Their breading process is one of the reasons they’re so tasty and popular; and they’re not afraid to tell all about it. Bless the institutions that still prepare these iconic cuts of meat by hand every day, hundreds of pounds at a time.


You have got to love intermission with Wow! Des Moines Tours. In the middle of our metro journey was a pizza break that is a Midwest must if you’re anywhere near this city. They make fun, delicious, and creative pies- and support the home team while doing it. Graziano’s Italian Sausage is another Des Moines legend and they’re not afraid to load it on your pizza. Juniper Moon Lounge has the decor, bar furniture, and artwork make you feel like Dean Martin or Ole Blue Eyes might stop in at any moment and pull up a chair to your table. The pizza comes from next door at Gusto Pizza Co! Rich cheese with carefully prepared pizza sauces and all those juicy, spicy, hearty, fresh toppings in every beautiful bite. You can even order from their house phone at Juniper that only connects to Gusto just steps away.


Iowa’s take on old favorites motored on and quite literally. Inside our comfortable bus were snacks of Sterzing’s Potato Chips and cups of fruit filled jello. This is a ride through nostalgic Iowa that any age is gonna love! Look at Eric Prosperi’s big smile! He’s the founder of this tour and he knows how to keep you all entertained!


Kelly’s Little Nipper had been the famous East Side go-to for drinks, pool games, Cubs games, good times on the patio, and their wonderful BPT! They are also known for a lot more than just this sandwich, and they had the smorgasbord ready for the attack. You better get ready for some of the most memorable onion ring experiences you’ve ever had while you’re at the Nipper. Click here to see the video and then start making your plans to visit!


The tour had to end, and we know there were plenty of amazing stops that we could have seen in addition to these great ones. Iowa’s BPT history is a flaky, crispy, juicy, HOT, and a proud one. These establishments also knew how to welcome visitors and make them feel like they have been chowing down their delights for years no matter how many times you’ve stopped by.


Wow! Des Moines Tours doesn’t just brake for BPTs. Click here to book your seats for pizza, tacos, Steak Burgo and more culinary kingpins they’ll be featuring throughout the year!

*Thank you for hosting us, Wow!

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