Dining with Kids in Des Moines: Gastro Grub & Pub
Eating at “Adult” food places can seem tricky and hectic – especially when your favorite places are super busy and you have little kids. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy taking your whole family there for quality food! One of our favorite places to dine as a family is often very busy, but with a few tricks up our sleeve, we still enjoy visiting often.
- Restaurant Name: Gastro Grub & Pub
- Cuisine Type: Fusion American. There are classic menu items that you will recognize, but all with fun twists. Everything is very inventive without being too weird!
- Price: Differs for lunch and dinner – between $10-25, $6-7 for kids
- Hours: Closed Mondays, all other days open 11 am – late.
- Other things you need to know: Gastro Grub is popular and busy – so definitely go early! Saturday nights they have live music. Check the schedule on their website.
Gastro Grub & Pub gets busy, fast! They often have a really long wait, and not much of a place to wait. However, if you go first thing when they open for lunch or later in the afternoon when it’s quieter (hello early dinner!), it’s a great place to take kids for a great meal. At those “off” hours, its quieter, calmer, and you get a table pretty much right away.
We love the atmosphere of Gastro Grub & Pub – it’s very relaxed and casual here. The big windows in the corner allow plenty of natural light to come in, and plants in every corner make it cozy. During the quieter off-hours, the noise level here is great. There are good levels of conversation, the music isn’t too loud, and you don’t feel like you need to remind your children to whisper every five seconds or to yell for them to hear you remind them to sit on their chair. Of course the busier it becomes, the louder it becomes, simply because there are more people talking. They also have live music on Saturday evenings, so that’s a good thing to be aware of.
Parental stress here is minimal if you plan accordingly. Coming at off-hours is important, I think, as well as making sure you have plenty of options to keep your kids entertained while you wait for your food. In all, its a casual and relaxed atmosphere.
Hint: You can make a reservation for more than 4, so if you are set on your family eating there on a specific night, it wouldn’t hurt to call a day or so ahead and grab a spot!
The wait staff at Gastro Grub & Pub is great. You can tell they know and understand the menu and are great at offering suggestions and recommendations.
The highchairs and booster seats are clean and well maintained, as well as the entire restaurant being clean and comfortable. No trip to a restaurant with kids is complete without visiting the bathroom at least 12 times, so I am happy to report that the women’s bathroom was clean and nice.
The wait staff also handles kids there really well, and were nice and accommodating, even when my toddler dropped her cup on the floor and created a mini lake. We felt really welcomed and well taken care of.
We lingered over our lunch here, and between lunch and dessert, we spent a good amount of time at Gastro Grub & Pub. With the food being made fresh and as you order, it does take some time for it to come out. The casual and relaxed atmosphere and the good food combined make this a great place for an unhurried meal.
The menu at Gastro Grub & Pub is inventive and fun, without being over the top. Classic and identifiable options are given fun new twists, making it hard to choose just one meal. I ordered a short rib grilled cheese sandwich and it did not disappoint. Braised beef short ribs with Havarti cheese, caramelized onions, arugula, and garlic aioli. Add a side of truffle fries, and you are good to go! Most entrees are around $10-$15 at lunch and the dinner menu will run you about $15-$25. Their menu does change sometimes, so they always have fresh options while still giving you plenty of time to enjoy your current favorite.
There is no “entertainment” here for your kids – no coloring or activity sheets, so make sure you come prepared with your own things to do while you wait for food.
Speaking of the food, the kid’s menu is filled with typical kid’s choices – burgers, chicken, fries. I do like that they also offer vegan burgers and broccolini, which are great alternatives to let your kids explore. What I like most about their kid’s menu, is that even while the options aren’t that inventive, they are of really great quality, so it makes up for it. The burgers are big, fresh, and delicious. The chicken tenders are seriously some of the best I’ve ever had. The kid’s menu choices are between $6 and $7 and are nice big portions. My kids almost never finish their meals here, but to offer a little variety and some fun and fresh flavors for them, we often order a few small plates for everyone at the table to try.
Hint: Order the truffle fries with the garlic aioli dipping sauce for your kids, they will love it!
Overall, Gastro Grub & Pub is a great place to take your family for a really well-crafted meal!
Menu: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Excellent)
Service: ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐(Excellent)
Parental Stress: ⭐⭐⭐ (Good – with planning!)
Overall: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Great – a good meal, good service, and a wonderful trip)
About the Author
Jenni Ward is a mom of three and owner of The Gingered Whisk. The Gingered Whisk is a recipe site designed to make the most out of your weeknight dinners. She creates quick meals that are infused with global flavor to help break you out of that boring chicken nugget rut.
She loves to help families create weeknight meals they love so they can spend less time focusing on how much food kids aren’t eating and more time connecting at the dinner table. She is all about fun adventurous ways to get kids interested in food, and firmly believe that kids can learn to love bold flavors, new ingredients, and trying new things! More than just fun and delicious recipes, she offers tons of tips, tricks, and support to help you every step of the journey.
Learn more about Jenni Ward on the Des Moines Parent Spotlight.