6 Best Places To Eat In Ankeny To Check Out

When it comes to finding a town where everything seems peaceful, Ankeny, Iowa is the place to be.

Recognized as one of the top ten towns for families by Family Circle in 2008 and has continued to be known for its epic adventures and tranquil way of life. 

6 Best Places To Eat In Ankeny To Check Out

Ankeny is also known for its incredible restaurants. Filled with delicious treats such as seafood, BBQ, and Mexican cuisine!

If you want to discover 6 of the best places to eat in Ankeny, Iowa then you simply have to keep reading. This article will keep you feeling full and truly happy. 

1. Jethro’s BBQ Lakehouse 

Jethro’s BBQ Lakehouse is a true treasure in the smaller town of Ankeny, Iowa. For over 20 years, Bruce, the founder and owner of Jethro’s has been providing the world with his incredible creations. 

With a guest appearance on the iconic Man Vs. Food show in 2008, it has become a tourist attraction for food lovers from all over the world. 

On any given day, you can find a wide selection of seafood and BBQ dishes on the menu. From Bubba’s Boneless Wings to Smokehouse Jambalaya, this restaurant is not afraid of flavor. 

There is something for everyone who enjoys mouthwatering flavors and indulgence.

They are extremely well-known and well-loved for their Slow Smoked Baby Back Pork Ribs that are served with two sides of your choice and a Corn Muffin or Texas Toast. 

However, if you feel like a challenge, you can take on The World Famous Adam Emmenecker.

As seen on Man Vs. Food you will be greeted with pork tenderloin, Angus steak burger, Texas brisket, bacon, fried cheese, and buffalo chicken tenders all covered in a cheese sauce. Complete with one side of your choice. 

Wash it all down with one of Jethro’s infamous cocktails such as Grandma’s Lemonade or the fun Tornado!

Can you beat The Adam Emmenecker? There’s only one way to find out! 

2. District 36 Wine Bar & Grille

District 36 Wine Bar & Grille is a fairly new restaurant in the area but it is gaining quite a reputation. The restaurant prides itself on offering a welcoming service that will have you relaxing while enjoying some delicious food. 

This quaint, wholesome restaurant is a great place to bring the family together as they offer a great selection of comfort foods. From pizza to burgers, there is something for even the fussiest of eaters to enjoy. 

Now, if you are really wanting to go all out, we highly recommend beginning with the Kung Pao Calamari before moving on to their Root Strout Short Rib and finishing with an indulgent dessert. Ask for the specials on any given day!

District 36 is not only known for its fine dining experience but its extensive wine list and insightful staff add a certain edge you can’t find anywhere else.

Simply ask your server which bourbon, beer, or wine would pair nicely with your meal, and prepare to have your taste buds blown. 

Whether you pop by after a day of sightseeing or as a special occasion, make sure to book a table on their patio. Offering an incredible view of the lake, there is no better dining experience. 

3. Waterfront Seafood Market 

Since 1984, Waterfront has been providing the area of West Des Moines and Ankeny with fresh, quality seafood.

Beginning as a fresh fish market, the brand has grown to a restaurant, oyster bar, and sushi bar. In other words, if you want seafood, there is nowhere to go. 

This family-owned business takes high quality fish to another level. The seafood on your plate comes straight from the docks and is kept fresh and cool until it is cooked to perfection. 

This is a great place for anyone who enjoys fresh flavors from the sea with their shrimp cocktail and oysters when they are in season, you can enjoy an incredible meal straight from the ocean. 

We highly recommend trying their Crab Cake Sliders for a gorgeous lunch with Blue Crab lump meat and Old Bay seasonings.

Or if you want something a little more indulgent, go for one of their classic Po-Boys. Choose from Oyster, Rock Shrimp, Gulf Shrimp, Scallops, Catfish, or Andouille Sausage. 

Complete with a glass of their Raspberry Lemonade and you have something sensational for lunch or dinner. And no matter what dish you choose you will be having something healthy, delicious, and full of omega-fatty acids!

4. Cazador Mexican Restaurant 

The Cazador Mexican Restaurant has been open in Ankeny for over 20 years and their love for you and their food is only growing. When you want to experience authentic flavors of Mexico, you need to visit Cazador. 

Owned by the Rodriguez family, Cazador offers fresh ingredients that give the best flavors. Including their homemade salsa.

Now, when you do visit Cazador, make sure to really save some room in your stomach. Their portion sizes are not for the weak. 

On their varied lunch and supper menus, they offer everything from fish and shrimp tacos to Mexican-style steak to burritos, tamales, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, and chimichangas.

Not to mention a full service with a large selection of tequilas and the first round of chips and salsa is on the house!

Not in the mood to be in a busy restaurant? Enjoy their take-out menu and have your mouth water as your food comes piping hot and delicious straight from the bag.

Don’t forget to order a side of their homemade salsa for the complete Cazador Mexican Restaurant experience.

5. Cabaret Sports Bar & Grille

When you want relaxed, American comfort dining, you can always rely on Cabaret Sports Bar & Grille. Owned by US Navy Veteran, Will Grimes, this sports bar is a place where people can meet, mingle, and enjoy some incredible food. 

They have all of the American classics including Jalapeno Poppers, a wide selection of tender burgers, steaks, and build your own pizzas. It is an excellent place to take a load off after a day of shopping or to meet some friends for a few drinks. 

For those in the mood for something on the lighter side Cabaret Sports Bar also has a wide range of refreshing salads and wraps. 

If you happen to visit the bar & grille after the hours of 10pm you can enjoy some small bites from their Late Night Menu. Select from a range of appetizers or build your own pizza. You can even build your own wings!

On the side of alcoholic beverages you can select from a wide range of cocktails. We highly recommend trying their Carmel Appletini or one of their fun Adult Frozen Lemonades.

You can also find a wide range of beers and wines on the menu that are sure to have you embracing the warming atmosphere in Cabaret Sports Bar & Grille. 

Each night of the week there are different deals such as Monday 6pm – 10pm is Wing Night. Or Sunday 6pm – 10pm is Martini Night where you get half price speciality martinis.

So, whether you are looking to dance the night away or need a quick meal, this is the place to be. 

Kids are welcome in the restaurant until the hours of 10pm and then it is adults only. 

6. Pizza Ranch 

You can’t visit Ankeny and not visit the Pizza Ranch. Inside you’ll find a full buffet of some of your favorite foods including the Country’s Best Chicken or you can request any pizza flavor you can think of!

Pizza Ranch has been awarded for their incredible buffet and chicken by The Des Moines Register. With their excellent food combined with the latest arcade games, Pizza Ranch is one of the best places for the family. 

Play your favorite games with your family while enjoying valuable time together in a relaxed setting. And when you need to refuel, indulge on your preferred pizza at their renowned buffet.

When you have finally satisfied yourself with carbs, it is time to think about dessert. From a giant Chocolate Chip Cookie to their infamous Cactus Bread, you are at no loss for choices.

Perfect for birthday parties or a casual yet delicious meal with friends. 

Pizza Ranch is where everyone is welcome and you are sure to find something for everyone to enjoy. Not to mention, the kids can burn off energy in the arcade while the adults enjoy simple yet fantastic food for a reasonable price. 

Final Thoughts 

Finding somewhere delicious to eat in Ankeny is a simple task. Each restaurant offers something unique with a common, heart warming welcome. All you need to do is find a table and enjoy the service and flavors provided. 

From the super size buffet at Pizza Ranch to the authentic flavors of Cazador Mexican Restaurant. Above are 6 of the best places to eat in Ankeny that are going to blow your mind. 

So, grab the family and prepare to have your taste buds wowed with every bite. Ankeny is ready to give you all of the flavors with their incredible restaurants!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like our article on ‘Where To Find The Best Balut In The US‘.

Julia Wright
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