A Sneak Peek at New South Des Moines Comfort Food Restaurant, Tupelo Honey

Fried chicken, buttermilk cookies, shrimp and grits are coming to downtown Des Moines as Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar opens Tuesday. But those who want a preview can already walk in and grab a table for lunch, dinner, or a weekend brunch.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been 2 and a half years since the Asheville, North Carolina-based restaurant chain announced the planned opening of a location in Des Moinesoriginally planned for 2020. The restaurant is now ready to welcome dogs on the terrace, Instagram fans who want a selfie in front of its neon sign and diners who like a little heat with their Southern cuisine.

Here is an overview of what to order.

Cookies with blueberry jam and whipped butter at Tupelo Honey, the new southern restaurant in downtown Des Moines.


Tupelo Honey Cathead Buttermilk Cookies get their name from being as big as a cat’s head. Golden and served hot, they come with blueberry jam and whipped butter ready to melt on the airy interior. Proceeds from cookie sales go to the Tupelo Honey Relief and Development Funds, which helps restaurant employees at 19 locations in 11 states in times of need. Price: two for $4.

Clockwise from top: Fried green tomatoes, fire-roasted poblano and corn soup, and blistered shishito peppers at Tupelo Honey, Des Moines' new downtown south restaurant.

What appetizers does Tupelo Honey serve?

Listed as small plates on the menu, dishes include spicy cauliflower bites topped with jalapeños, fried pickles with buttermilk ranch dressing on the side, gluten-free fire-roasted poblano and corn soup, blistered shishito peppers (noticing a heat pattern here?) and fried green tomatoes covered in panko breadcrumbs and served with grits with goat cheese. And, yes, there’s roasted red pepper dip on the side. Price: $7.95 to $9.95.

Fried chicken sprinkled with honey at Tupelo Honey, Des Moines' new downtown south restaurant.

What starters does Tupelo Honey offer?

The heart of Southern cuisine on the menu appears here in the entrees section and begins with fried chicken, brined for 18 hours and dusted with dehydrated honey. Order it topped with gravy, half a chicken, in white or dark meat only, or with a side of waffles – a full assortment of options.

Shrimp and grits at Tupelo Honey, the new southern restaurant in downtown Des Moines.

While first-timers might want to opt for the chicken, the menu dives deeper into Southern cuisine. Explore and share a bourbon-pepper glazed meatloaf with collard greens and baked macaroni and cheese with a panko coating, or a generous helping of tupelo shrimp and oatmeal with a healthy dose of chorizo ​​and creole butter sauce. Price: $14.95 to $23.95 for lunch or dinner.

Clockwise from top: Lemon Garden Salad, Mac and Cheese Waffles with Hot Asheville Fried Chicken, and Tupelo Honey Pork and Poblano Scramble, the new restaurant in south downtown Des Moines.

What is Tupelo honey for brunch?

Tupelo’s weekend brunch offers an array of chicken and waffle combos, including one with hot Asheville fried chicken and macaroni and cheese waffles. Yes, the mac and cheese is baked in the waffles. Try a scrambled pork and poblano simmered with Fresno peppers cooked in a cast iron skillet or, for a gluten-free option, a lemon garden salad with feta and toasted almonds. Served in a large bowl, the salad is new to Tupelo Honey, and for a heartier meal, you can add fried or grilled chicken or shrimp for an additional $6.50. If Eggs Benedict are more your weekend style, they pop up too. Price: $10.95 to $19.95.

Left to right: Brown butter pecan pie and heavenly banana pudding at Tupelo Honey, Des Moines' new downtown south restaurant.

What is Tupelo honey for dessert?

Do you like sweets? The brown butter pecan pie is an ultra-sweet dessert while the banana pudding offers a creamy cleanser with Nilla wafers tossed in and adorning the top. Price: $4 for the small and $7.95 for the large.

The Debutante, left, a lavender lemonade with Tito's vodka, alongside The Boozy Rooster, Tupelo Honey's riff on a Manhattan.

What can I order for drinks?

First of all know that Tupelo Honey has a good range of soft drinks such as turmeric and ginger tonic, lavender lemonade (order this), dry hopped sweet tea and (definitely order this ) a pineapple and peach spritzer. Most range from $4.50 to $5.50.

On the alcohol side of the menu, signature cocktails include the Debutante, which takes this lavender lemonade and mixes it with Tito’s vodka, for $10.35, and the Boozy Rooster, a riff on a Manhattan with bourbon and Old Forester Reserve bitters, for $13.55. .

After:Tupelo Honey is so close to bringing Southern comfort food to downtown Des Moines

Tupelo Honey's patio even has a dog-friendly menu.

What can dogs eat?

A patio on the east side of Tupelo Honey will be buzzing once the weather warms up. Bring the dog for the gravy and a cookie from a menu just for the pooches.

A selfie wall at the entrance to Tupelo Honey features a neon sign with "kiss my seeds" lit yellow.

What is this selfie wall?

At the entrance to Tupelo Honey, a wall of selfies awaits you. It’s adorned with painted roses and magnolia blossoms and a yellow neon sign that reads “kiss my grain.” For you youngsters, that was sassy Southern waitress Flo’s signature line on the ’70s and ’80s sitcom “Alice.” In other words, listen up.

Where’s the Tupelo honey?

The restaurant occupies a corner of the Miesblock building at 665 Grand Ave., with windows encompassing the east and south sides of the restaurant.

What are Tupelo Honey hours?

It is open from 11 am to 9 pm Monday to Thursday.; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Susan Stapleton is entertainment editor at the Des Moines Register. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or email him at [email protected]

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