Years ago, when I worked in the Iowa Legislature, my then-boss took me to lunch at a bustling little French cafe in the middle of a strip mall on 42nd Street in Des Moines. I had no idea what to expect but based on his standards and foodie credentials, I figured it was probably going to be a "good".
It turns out that "good" would be an understatement.
It was spectacular.
In fact, I've been back many times since and have yet to find a place anywhere else in Iowa that can match the kind of artisan elegance that is executed. Though trust me, I plan to keep looking.
This particular restaurant is La Mie Bakery and it has been a must-stop breakfast and lunch spot since it opened in 2003 in the Roosevelt Cultural District of Des Moines.
It is just north of the newly renovated Des Moines Playhouse and across the street from Roosevelt High School.
La Mie has gotten so popular that they opened another location downtown just to meet the growing lunch crowd demand. The second location is more of an abbreviated stop with fewer options than the original location. They aren't kidding when they write, "La mie has expanded and grown over the years into a vibrant, modern gathering place for neighbors, families, business associates, and students alike."
These days, I go to La Mie for lunch every third Wednesday after I visit a nearby chiropractor over my lunch hour.
Despite having a broad and diverse menu, I tend to gravitate to the same thing every time: the incredibly delicious turkey club sandwich. Everything about this sandwich is tasty and fresh and I never leave wishing for more. It's a sensational combination of fresh bread, tender turkey, creamy Swiss cheese, crunchy bacon, and leafy lettuce. I usually say no to the mayo but it all just kind of melds itself together into something I haven't found anywhere else.
However, they certainly offer much more.
The various assortments of breads, pastries, and desserts are incredibly tempting. Not to mention, they are always displayed in such a way as to really test your will power.
La Mie does offer catering and a few times, for business meetings, I have made large orders of pastries for pick up and it has always increased my popularity!
There is a fair amount of seating at different sized tables and booths, but at the peak lunch rush, it can sometimes be a little difficult to find a spot. Though, I think opening another location has helped things a bit. You can, also, get your order to go.
During nicer weather, there is a patio area on a back deck that will have some tables and benches.
Parking can sometimes come at a premium, but I usually can find a place. There's a decent sized lot that services all of the stores of the strip mall.
If you live in the Des Moines area and have never been to La Mie, I truly think you are missing out on one of our city's top restaurants. If you are ever in the Des Moines area visiting for any reason, La Mie should be on your list of possible dining stops. It's not open in the evenings or on Sundays, but for six days a week...it's a true foodie's paradise.