Got a few minutes this afternoon to give some restaurant advice. Already gave some to folks showing up today to watch the Browns game.
I recommended Wallaby's to someone else on the site. Both my son and I thought it was the best place for them to watch the Browns game on Thursday night. It is probably our best sports bar. Classy place. Great artifacts on the walls. Really good food. Local owners.
Our most famous place in Hickory Park BBQ. There is always a long line, but never as long a wait as you think. The place is much bigger than it looks. Great food and ice cream. It will be packed with football fans. Again, local owners.
Another place I'm hearing good things about is Jethro's BBQ (across the street from Hickory Park). It is new and claims to be the largest sports bar in town. Tons of TVs. It is the Ames restaurant of a Des Moines chain.
A non-BBQ, non-sports place is Aunt Maude's. One of our best restaurants.
Brick City Grill is also nice. Reminds me of a neighborhood hangout in a nice urban neighborhood.
Bar La Tosca on Main Street is a great Italian restaurant. Great bartenders.
Two bar scenes. One on Main Street will have more young professionals. The other is Welch Avenue in Campustown will have mostly university students.
Olde Main (downtown) is probably our best known brewery (with a full restaurant). But Torrent Brewing (just off Main Street) and Alluvial (north of town) are better, but with no food.
El Azteca is great Mexican food prepared by local owners. Two locations (one near I-35/US30 and one on Stange just north of campus).
Stomping Grounds is a great place for coffee, crepes, but also mid-day sandwiches.
Classic, tiny old school diner is The Grove on Main Street. May be open only for breakfast. Probably packed on Saturday.
Tip Top Lounge. A vintage place for chili and drinks to get your day started right. Seriously, about the only time I hear about it is when someone wants to do some pre-tailgating!
West Side Pub (southwest corner of Ames) is operated by a huge Cyclone fan who even sponsors a break during each game. "Say it with me, 'We Love the Cyclones!'"
Jeff's Pizza on Lincoln Way is the best in town. Great, unique recipes.
Great Plains Pizza on Main Street is also good. Make sure to put honey on your crust.
Our local Wing Stop franchise is owned by Seneca Wallace. Browns fans know him. If you don't know who he is, Google "Seneca Wallace and The Run."
Let me know what you are looking for (or like from these recommendations) and I'll try to give you more info if needed.
P.S. I apologize to the local places that I forgot to mention.