How to spend the perfect day in Prairie Trail in Ankeny with restaurants, bars and shopping

How to spend the perfect day in Prairie Trail in Ankeny with restaurants, bars and shopping

One in an occasional series of neighborhood guides in the Des Moines metro.

Prairie Trail, the planned community that spans more than 1,000 acres in Ankeny, is growing just as the Des Moines suburb faces its own surging population.

Its hub is The District at Prairie Trail, blending dining, retail, office spaces and entertainment and gets its look from classic Iowa town centers, according to Ankeny civil engineering company Nilles Associates.

Throughout the year, find holiday festivities at The District or experience a longstanding festival, Ankeny SummerFest, which brings live music, fireworks, a carnival and more to the community.

Find out about some of the places to eat, drink and shop in The District at Prairie Trail with this sampling of businesses.

For a twist on Asian fare: 30Hop

Yes, 30Hop has sandwiches and salads, but go for a poke bowl, bang bang Brussels sprouts with a chili-garlic sauce, or a yakisoba bowl with noodles and proteins. Or try tacos stuffed with shrimp, fish, carnitas or chipotle chicken, and order a side of street corn dip. Stop by on Saturday and Sunday for brunch, or during the warmer months for the patio. Note that 30Hop moves next summer to new space at The District and sister restaurant Tribute takes its place.

Location: 1615 S.W. Main St., Suite 105, Ankeny

Contact: 515-289-0227 or

More: Tribute will replace sister restaurant 30Hop in Ankeny after it moves to bigger space

For smoked meats: Big Al’s BBQ

Al Laudencia opened his first Southern barbecue restaurant in Adel, then expanded to West Des Moines and Ankeny. He specializes in smoked barbecue, including pulled pork, brisket, turkey, ham, burnt ends spatchcock chicken, baby back ribs and sausage, as well as a smoked tenderloin sandwich.

Location: 1615 S.W. Main St. #106, Ankeny

Contact: 515-552-1227 or

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For dessert: Cookies & Dreams

Sure, you can get cinnamon roll, frosted sugar, and monster cookies at this bakery, but try one of the cookie pies that combine s’mores with Oreos, Nutella with monster, or Snickers with cheesecake. Divine.

Location: 1345 S.W. Park Square Drive, Ankeny

Contact: or 515-289-3851

For classic American fare: District 36 Wine Bar & Grill

Chicken de Burgo, pizzas, fire shrimp pasta, and French dips are just some of the menu items at District 36. Stop by for lunch or dinner in a modern setting with dark woods and pair your meal with a glass of wine or craft beer. Yes, there’s a patio for the warmer months.

Location: 1375 S.W. Vintage Pkwy., Ankeny

Contact: 515-261-2502 or

More: Where to shop, eat and drink coffee in the Highland Park neighborhood in Des Moines

For Mediterranean and vegan fare: Flavory Bistro

Falafel, hummus, and gyros are some of the Mediterranean fare at this eatery, but go for the paella made with shrimp, scallops and chicken. The restaurant also serves breakfast dishes.

Location: 1450 S.W. Main St., Ankeny

Contact: 515-443-7272 or

For Cajun dishes: Jethro’s BBQ Lakeside

Try smokehouse jambalaya, blackened salmon, red beans and rice, and chicken and sausage gumbo at this location of Jethro’s. Of course, you can stop by for brunch every Saturday and Sunday.

Location: 1425 S.W. Vintage Pkwy., Ankeny

Contact: 515-289-4444 or

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For sushi: Wasabi

Get your fix of noodles, fried rice, pork dumplings, Hamachi chili and tuna poke, as well as sushi rolls and sashimi. Try the green tea ice cream for dessert.

Location: 1615 S.W. Main St., #100, Ankeny

Contact: 515-264-5210 or

For wine: WineStyles

Think of this as the place to find all styles of wine, even by the glass, and bottles for less than $10. WineStyles also offers craft beers on tap, tapas, cheeses, and chocolates.

Location: 1450 S.W. Vintage Pkwy., Ankeny

Contact: 515-963-9463 or

More: How to spend a perfect day in downtown Des Moines with food, drinks and more

For women’s fashions: Eve., Grey Lotus and Purple Poppy Boutique


Step into Eve. for a selection of apparel and accessories handpicked by the owner. Find everything you’ll need to dress yourself for your next occasion, from casual graphic tees and denim to dressy attire. Eve. carries clothes from numerous brands, including Mother and Citizens of Humanity.

Location: 1450 S.W. Vintage Pkwy., Suite 130, Ankeny


Grey Lotus & Lifestyle

Like Eve., expect a smaller selection of trendy women’s apparel. This locally owned shop offers everything from denim to athleisure and accessories.

Location: 1515 S.W. Main St., Suite 107, Ankeny

Contact: 515-201-0899 or

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Purple Poppy Boutique

This boutique, owned by Ankeny resident Lea Fagervik, offers a wide selection of women’s apparel, a smaller selection of men’s apparel and clothes for infants and toddlers. This is the second location of Purple Poppy Boutique. Paula Bierle opened the first location in Johnston in 2017.

Location: 1615 S.W. Main St., Suite 109, Ankeny

Contact: 515-289-9178 or

For children’s goods: Robin Riley

Robin Riley Children’s Boutique offers stylish, modern clothes for babies, toddlers and children so that parents can spend less time changing their little one’s outfits, according to the boutique. Shop gender neutral clothing for newborns to two-piece pajama sets for kids. Find accessories, blankets and swaddles and other items for young children.

Location: 1450 S.W. Vintage Pkwy., Suite 110, Ankeny


More: 6 places to shop small on Small Business Saturday in the Des Moines metro area

For cooks: The Olive Tap

Level up your cooking with the perfect blend of seasonings or olive oils infused with different flavors at The Olive Tap. Pickled vegetables, barbecue sauces, balsamic vinegars and olive oils are just some of what can be found — and sampled — at this gourmet food shop. You can also order salads, Italian paninis and Italian flatbreads at The Olive Tap.

Location: 1610 S.W. Main St., Suite 105, Ankeny

Contact: 515-964-1065 or

For unique gifts: Nook & Nest

There’s a bit of something for everyone inside Nook & Nest from Mindy Bergstrom and her husband Patrick. Find soaps and lotions from the Indianola-based Bramble Wood Acres, stylish stationery, greeting cards and items for your kitchen at the locally owned shop, which has two locations in Ames.

Location: 1610 S.W. Main St., Suite 104, Ankeny


Things to do at the District at Prairie Trail

Imagination Street, 1345 S.W. Park Square Drive, Suite 102, is the perfect place for children. Inside is a play space that is intended to inspire creativity and imagination. Kids can explore Imagination Street’s main street, home to various kid-sized storefronts where they can pretend to be doctors in a doctors office or firefighters at the fire station. Children can also create art in the arts and crafts area and play with toys and activities set up in the space. Book a play session in advance online or try your chance as a walk-in guest.

Playing isn’t limited to kids, though. Families and adults can swing by the Operating Room, 1631 S.W. Main St., Suite 105. The bar arcade has plenty of games, including pinball machines, to choose from.

Then, take part in a DIY project you can take home at the AR Workshop, 1631 S.W. Main St., Suite 104. Make your own scented candles, learn how to knit blankets or create a framed wooden sign at the boutique studio that offers classes and group activities. Register for a class in advance to nab a seat for a workshop.

Watch a movie, bowl a few games, play some arcade games and grab some food at B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling, 1580 S.W. Market St.

If you’re looking for a free activity, visit the Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library, 1250 S.W. District Drive, or visit bring your children to the playground just outside the library. The library opened in 2020.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and arts at the Des Moines Register. Reach her at or follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

Susan Stapleton is the entertainment editor and dining reporter at The Des Moines Register. Have a dish she should try? You can reach out to her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, or drop her a line at

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