Casual dishes to share at Louie’s Wine Dive

Casual dishes to share at Louie’s Wine Dive

When Drake-neighborhood favorite Iowa Bakery Cafe closed up shop in late 2011, Louie’s Wine Dive swooped in to fill both the both the dining space and the pit in our stomachs. And not long after, they’ve claimed a spot among Des Moines’ best new restaurants.

So don’t let the “dive” that punctuates their name fool you: this isn’t some worn-out, off-the-trail pub where it feels like the regulars sleep at their bar stools. But with its mouthwatering menu, Louie’s definitely feels like home for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike.

Louie’s is decorated with an eclectic mix of wine-themed decor—from giant champagne bottles to art that can be summed up by their slogan, “wine is supposed to be fun!”—so the laid-back vibe is broadcast early. Most of the seating is down the center of the restaurant as you walk in, but it’s bolstered by a nicely sized bar and a patio that seats around 25.

But the furnishings are secondary to food and drink. The menu at Louie’s is loaded with well-engineered variants of upscale dishes, like their Shrimp and Grits with bacon and cheddar cheese. Plus, their wine list accommodates lovers of champagne, merlot, rose, and beyond.

Since we weren’t trying to clean out our wallets, my guest and I steered clear of the chardonnay and opted to split two of Louie’s dinner choices.

First, we ordered the Pig Stix ($10), a plate of pork shanks that come on-the-bone and with a cup of honey-infused hoisin sauce. The pork was sweet and crispy on the outside while maintaining a juiciness on the inside, and each cut was broken up nicely by the accompanying side of fries. We could have easily tackled another serving.

Next was one of Louie’s four flatbreads, the Pesto Chicken ($9). It was topped with arugula, parmesan, roasted chicken and flavorfully sweet tomatoes. And while we were happy with our choice, the other options sound tasty, too: Margarita, Portobello Bleu, and 4 Pork Ragu.

You can definitely do Louie’s in a bigger, more extravagant way—the menu is packed with tempting seafood-based offerings like the Lobster Poutine ($15) or the Shrimp Diablo ($16), and some bottles on their wine list would blow our budget five times over. But if you’re doing post-work drinks, dishes like Louie’s Seasonal Bruschetta ($10) or any of the house flatbreads ($9) are portioned for sharing.

Our receipt

Pig Stix: $10

Pesto Chicken Flatbread: $9

Total with tax and tip: $24.14

Louie’s Wine Dive

Find it: 4040 University Ave., Suite A

Hours: 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday for brunch.

Info: 515-777-3416

About the Author

Joe is a contributor to Juice Magazine.

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