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Jul 28, 2011 07:14 AM

ISO pizza - Des Moines

Looking for unpretentious dive pizza joint. Not interested in fusion pizza or novelty toppings, and I can't afford to eat in a place with table cloths.

Homemade, fresh ingredients, thin crust, paper napkins...does it exist?

I'm in Altoona so east-side preferred but not necessary. Thanks Hounds!

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  1. I can't speak to the east-side, but my favorite for thin crust in the DSM metro is Angelo's in West Des Moines. It's a tiny place for dine-in, but their thin crust pizza can't be beat. My husband's favorite pizza is the Illinios Nazi (summer sausage, canadian bacon, and sauerkraut), while I'm a fan of just the regular ol' pepperoni and mushroom.

    The original Felix & Oscar's on Merle Hay is a good divey kind of pizza place as well, never had their their thin crust, but the do a pretty good deep dish pizza.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Beaverdale

      Your recommendation for Angelo's is timely considering it's today's Des Moines Groupon ($14 for $30 of food...11 days left to buy). I was originally turned off by the menu, specifically the Illinois Nazi (sauerkraut? really?), but otherwise it does seem to fit the divey bill. And at half off, worth a stop next time I'm on a trip to Trader Joe's. Thanks!!

      1. re: creativeusername

        I've had consistency problems with Angelo's. When they are on, they are great, but I have had poorly topped, under cooked on more than one occasion. I still would give them a shot.
        Also, Paglia's in Johnston has a pepperoni pesto that's way good.
        Plaza Pub on Douglas, across from the Merle Hay Mall, has a huge following for the thin crust pizza. Can't speak to it personally, but it gets great reviews and sounds like the kind of place you're looking for.

        Plaza Pub
        6202 Douglas Ave, Des Moines, IA 50322

        1. re: Bobfrmia

          Angelo's must be pretty good when they're on to get you to keep coming back.

          I'm in luck again. Today (and tomorrow) is the Iowa Italian-American Heritage Festival. Looks like a good opportunity to try several.

          1. re: creativeusername

            What about Big Tomato on Ingersoll? No seating whatsoever but very good pies. Maybe buy one ahd take it over to the park on Fleur 2-3 miles away. Just a thought.

            1. re: Iowaboy3

              Just checked out their menu. cajun hot sauce...chili dog pizza...doritos... no thanks.

              What's this town's thing with kraut all about?

            2. re: creativeusername

              Did a pizza crawl at the fesitval and Gusto won by a long shot. I can only imagine having one fresh at their restaurant would be terrific.

              1. re: creativeusername

                When Gusto was Frank's Pizza it was delicious. Haven't had it in its current incarnation. Another spot to try would be Rock Power Pizza on the south side, or any of the old Italian pizza places over there - Bordenaro's, Scornavacca's, etc.

                And I know you don't want funky, but do go and try the pizza at El Chisme in Valley Junction. It's a Mexican place that serves a wide menu (including Italian) from a classically trained chef. Everything from scratch - I love that pizza, especially the al pastor.

                Rock Power Pizza
                4211 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315

                1. re: jhojati

                  Gusto pizza is fantastic, highly recommend, but it's a different kind of experience than a classic pizza joint. See also: Fong's Pzza and if your looking for lunch, Flour in downtown does some wonderful non-traditional slices as a wel and expected favorites. My husband & I have abandoned Big Tomato due to consistency issues.

        2. re: Beaverdale

          Went to Angelo's today. They did not disappoint. Certainly divey, fresh ingredients, nicely flavored thin crust, cooked perfectly well done, and good service. My only complaint was that when he checked on my pizza, he reached for a poker and popped the bubbles. The voice in my head made a big slow motion "noooooooooo!!!!" They run the dough through an electric pasta roller and cut around the edges to make it a uniform crust, so I get that he feels the bubbles would detract from the uniformity, but it's the only thing that prevented a 5th star. It definitely won't prevent me from going back, I just think it would have been better with the little burnt bubbles.

          Looking forward to trying a couple more places on this thread. Thanks again!

        3. Chuck's off Euclid. Plain and simple. And not too bad of a jaunt for you.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jhojati

            Yes! Looks great, I'll try it and report back...thanks!

            1. re: jhojati

              LOVED CHUCK'S! Serious old school dive. They, like Angelo's, also run their dough through an electric pasta roller but they leave it rough around the edges and don't pop the bubbles. Had the pizza margherita and one with sausage, olives and banana peppers. Good crust, good simple ingredients. The place was packed by the time we left.

              Chuck's Italian-American Restaurant
              3610 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313

              1. re: creativeusername

                Glad to hear it - it's about as thin of a crust as you can find.

            2. Hilltop on Hubbel & E 29th? has been around forever and is pretty good. The new owners brightened it up, but kept the same menu and recipes. Chuck's, as mentioned, is one of my faves, too. Don't know if La Pizza House E14th south of the river is open or closed again, but they used to be one of the best.. If ever in Valley Jct gotta hit the Tavern (2nd loc further west, too).

              Good Luck!!

              La Pizza House
              1013 SE 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50317

              1. bordenaros on sw 9th
                orlondo's on park ave *** most divey of them all
                the tavern in valley junction (they have other locations, I haven't eaten at those)
                Noah's on Ingersoll
                Mama Lacona's in Urbandale

                1. ok, Creative... I've got the place for you and it's even close. Try Polito's in Bondurant. I grew up in DM and moved away but whenever we come back I want pizza or capacolla sandwiches and onion rings. My fav was La Pizza House on SE 14th. The owner retired a few years ago but his son had started his own place - Polito's. The pizza is thin crust and great - the cappacola or italian sausage sandwiches are something I crave. I've heard that Dad came back out of retirement and reopened LaPizza House but it didn't have a great cleanliness feeling about it before it had been boarded up for a few years so I couldn't talk the rest of my family into checking it out - we just stick with Polito's. You are so lucky to live so close.

                  La Pizza House
                  1013 SE 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50317