Earlier this year, Smoking GOAT Pub opened on Merle Hay Rd. It is in a strip mall just south of Merle Hay Mall. By name, I wondered if it might be a place specializing in BBQ smoked goat, but I learned it was a sports themed “Greatest Of All Time” place.
It is a restaurant/bar so all ages are welcome. It even has a children’s menu. The normal menu features things like burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and a unique “Boudin” brat. (Boudin is a rice/meat thing popular around Louisiana, and this brat allows a similar taste served on a bun.)
The drink menu features cocktails and craft beers (a selection on tap or in cans/bottles) as well as seltzers and even Climbing Kites “cannabis infused” canned drinks.
On weekends, they serve a breakfast featuring a plate (eggs, meat, thick hash brows and toast), build-your-own bowl/burrito, and some of the best biscuits and gravy we have had anywhere.
The interior is much classier than the surrounding strip mall might suggest, with fancy light fixtures, a nice bar and modern seating. The prices are closer to that of a dive bar, so it’s an interesting mix of “looks fancy” and “is affordable.”
In addition to weekend breakfast, they also have been doing nightly specials. We’ve visited several times on Monday night for good southern fried catfish, chicken and rib tips — with classic southern sides such as fried okra, collard greens and black eyed peas. On these nights, Shelby’s Southern Smokehouse takes over the kitchen. We used to love eating at Fat Tuesday when it was open across town, and are happy to find another place to get great catfish.
With a name like Smoking goat, in a city where smoking is not allowed indoors, they do at least have a new offering that is smoking — smoked drinks. You can get “BBQ whiskey” smoked up for an interesting taste, or something like a smoky Old Fashioned. They only started offering these in recent weeks, and they have already become popular.
The staff has also been super friendly. There are four owners to the place, so you may encounter one of them during a visit. During our breakfast this morning, their chef, Rudolf Cabezas, came out to introduce himself and chat with us. He showed us photos of some spectacularly artistic fruit trays he makes for special events (like, carved sculptures made out of fruit – very impressive). He let us know that Thursday will soon feature items like street tacos, nachos, quesadillas and other Mexican dishes.
As you can tell, this is not a typical “sports bar” with beer and wings. Though they do have wings. And beer. And TV screens. And a pool room. And speaking of the pool room, it features a mural painted by a local artist, as well as a photo wall featuring famous athletes from Iowa.
These days, I am not much of a sports fan, but we have been to Smoking Goat Pub many times during the day. While the TVs will always be on, they play an interesting mix of music (and a digital jukebox is on the wall). I expect the vibe is quite different on a game night.
It’s worth checking out. Find them at 3015 Merle Hay Rd, Des Moines, IA 50310 and tell ’em Doing Des Moines sent ya 😉