Dining out on a budget has a tendency to be hit-or-miss. And when it comes to food, a
bad miss can have gastric consequences. However, I am willing to put my digestive tract on the line to bring you the best and cheapest of Des Moines eateries. This week I visited the breakfast staple of Des Moines, Waveland Café (4708 University Ave).
After accidentally driving by once, we turned around and parked in the lot in front of the restaurant. I am going to admit that I was a little thrown off by the anthropomorphic eggs and coffee cups that were painted on the front windows. However, I was charmed inside by the neon OPEN sign and the waft of bacon grease.
After reading a number of online reviews that warned against long lines at breakfast time, I was worried about the wait. But we managed to seat ourselves at a table for two as soon as we walked in. Of course it was around 11:00 a.m., so it was really brunch not breakfast.
I was glad to discover that the majority of Waveland’s options were under my 10 dollar limit, so I had my pick of a variety of breakfast entrees. After combing through the long list of skillets, pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns and combination platters, I decided on the 2-egg Veggie Lover Omelet ($7.95). For those of you who are concerned, I am not a vegetarian. In the near future, I intend to hunt down an enormous DSM burger to share with you all. I just happen to like my omelets veggied.
And what a pretty omelet it was. It came with a half plate of hashbrowns (The menu cover told me that they were the “Best Hashbrowns in the Galaxy.”) and I took mine with wheat toast. While the omelet was well done and had all of my favorite toppings, it was a little too cheesy for my taste. However, the hashbrowns were glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed the toast. (Toast can be remarkable too.)
But when it came to dining at Waveland, it was the spectacle that I enjoyed the most. Waitresses were dressed casually with black aprons, shouting above the chatter to greet incoming regulars. You could hear the clatter of the kitchen from your table and watch as the cooks beckoned the waitresses by name. The service was fast and friendly.
Black and white portrait murals were painted on every mint green wall, partially obscured by an expanse of photographs. They appeared to be photos of regulars, some taken inside the restaurant, others appeared to be family photos that had been given to the owner.
I was won over when a walking mailman stopped in to say hello and drop off a few envelopes. Waveland Café seemed almost too quaint to be settled in the midst of Des Moines. But we finished (most of) our food and took our checks to the register to pay (cash or checks only).
For $8.43 I had a lovely brunch at Waveland Café.