1905 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines Iowa 50311United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Imaginative, fresh ingredients top crispy thin crust at this casually hip close-to-downtown Des Moines pizza restaurant.
Good luck choosing just one of the inventive, flavorful pies at Gusto Pizza Company, which opened in 2011 near a busy intersection just west of downtown Des Moines. Their 14 signature brick-oven-fired pizzas (plus two weekly specials) feature a wide range of unexpected ingredients, such as smoked brisket, roasted butternut squash and wine-marinated figs. Creative homemade sauces -- rosemary olive oil and creamy Alfredo, for example -- perfectly complement the topping combos, while a crispy yet chewy thin crust suffices as the base. Order at the counter, where easy-to-read framed menus on a pumpkin-color wall describe the pies with the funny names. (You can pick your toppings, but it's hard to beat their ingredient combos.) We ordered the Soprano, piled generously with thick slices of tender balsamic roasted chicken, long strips of red onion, roasted red paper and roma tomatoes on a basil pesto sauce. The flavors blended nicely with gooey mozzarella and Asiago cheeses. The spicy Buffalo Springfield, with roasted chicken, roma tomatoes, mozzarella, blue cheese and creamy Italian dressing had a kick, but the spice didn't overpower the flavors. While you wait for a server to bring your food (about 2025 minutes), grab silverware and plates and take a seat at one of the sleek dark and blond wood booths. Large glass windows offer street views. Or opt for a seat at a bar facing three flat-screen TVs. The restaurant's open, contemporary setting makes it a great spot for a casual lunch with coworkers or affordable date night. Prices start at $9 for a 10-inch pie (enough for one with a few leftover slices) or $15 for a 14-inch to share. Wine (from $4 per glass) and bottled beer (from $3.50), including select craft beers from Iowa breweries, pair nicely with the gourmet pies. We doubt you'll tire of the pizza. But, if you do, they also offer hearty Italian sausage and fried eggplant sandwiches, lasagna, salads and more.