3802 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines Iowa 50312United States
This charmingly humble drugstore soda fountain has churned its own ice cream since the 1940s.
There's absolutely nothing razzmatazz about Bauder Pharmacy, which is the sort of place where grandparents bring the kiddies because they remember coming here themselves when they were little. Many people in Des Moines have never heard of Bauder's, or know it only as the rather drab pharmacy a couple miles west of downtown on Ingersoll. But that sense of secrecy is part of the charm; back in the day, having a soda fountain in a drugstore was nothing special, and that's the way they like to keep it here.The counter is original and quite small, tucked inconspicuously in the back near the pharmacy window. You eat sitting on one of about seven blue-vinyl stools. Dime-store jigsaw puzzles are arranged above the soda fountain mechanisms, as they probably have been for decades. The menu lists the usual shakes, malts, sundaes and fountain drinks, and all are delish, thanks to Bauder's extra-thick, house-churned ice cream (available in the usual chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, plus some other fun flavors, such as raspberry chip). The only downside is that the teens who staff the counter don't have much sense of presentation -- the whipped cream on our sundae was a messy squirt, rather than a tidy, swirling dome, and there was no cherry on top! Still, you can't beat Bauder's for its comfortably old-fashioned and unvarnished atmosphere. Places like this are a rare treat.