Americana: Lunch on a Budget

ImageBear with me, I’m going to tell a brief story.

Once upon a time there was a poor college student. Let’s call her Wachel. Wachel was lucky enough to land a full-time, paid design internship in the great city of Des Moines. She was thrilled. Of course, this internship meant that Wachel now had to pay for her own rent, utilities, food, gas and clothing. This left Wachel with very little money. 

But she took the internship, arriving each morning at 8 a.m. with a computer bag over her shoulder and a sack lunch in her hand. And each day at noon, she would enjoy a Lean Cuisine or chicken sandwich. Still, Wachel longed for a day when she could afford one of the magnificent restaurants surrounding her office. 

And then a kind gentleman told her tales of a promised land called Americana, where the menu is rich with American/Continental classics like macaroni and cheese and pulled pork. More importantly, he spoke of Americana’s half-priced lunches before 11:30 a.m. Her prayers answered and her stomach eager, Wachel explored the many wonders of her new world.

Excuse the drama, I have been meaning to write about Americana [1312 Locust St.] for about five weeks so it got a bit theatrical. But honestly, no other restaurant has affected my lunching experience in Des Moines more than Americana. Their food is consistently delicious and ridiculously inexpensive if you arrive before 11:30 a.m. — you can walk in the door at 11:25 a.m. and you will still get the deal. And their restaurant is within walking distance of countless downtown workplaces — namely Meredith, Nationwide and Principal).

Over the past few weeks, I have been to Americana four times, with every intention of blogging about it. But each time, I devoured my meal before taking a picture of it. On the fourth try, I managed to snap a quick pic of my grilled chicken sandwich [$5 at half-price].


Although I didn’t manage to get pictures, over the past four visits, I also thoroughly enjoyed a BLT on focaccia bread [$5 at half-price], the club also on focaccia bread [also $5], and the rise and shine burger with an over-easy egg, hickory-smoked bacon, dijon mustard and cheddar [$6]. Beyond the sandwiches, the house-seasoned fries are to die for. Do not spoil them with ketchup. Wachel will come after you.

Pleased with her new feasting grounds, Wachel settled near Americana. She spent the rest of her summer eating to her contentment and jingling the coins in her pocket.


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