Katie Brennan, Sous Chef at Bistro Montage
Brennan graduated from culinary school at Des Moines Area Community College in 2010. She practiced her cooking skills at area favorites like Splash and Alba before moving to Bistro Montage.
Big Tomato Pizza Co.
Big Tomato Pizza Co. meets all of Brennan’s major requirements for a late-night snack: “It’s fast, easy to get to, and affordable, whether you want a whole pizza or just a slice,” Brennan says. Her favorite after-work treat is a box of Italian fries, or more simply, a whole cheese pizza folded in half then cut into gooey, dunkable strips. Each order comes with ranch and marinara sauces for dipping. Open daily: 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Corey Pline, manager at Tacopocalypse
When Pline left the Navy several years ago, he knew he wanted to go on to become a chef. After honing his skills at the Science Center and Alba, Pline accepted his position at Tacopocalpyse.
Kelly’s Little Nipper
To wind down after a busy day, Pline heads to Kelly’s Little Nipper, an unassuming hole-in-the-wall with an extensive food menu and a bar that never gets too crowded. For a late dinner, he suggests the pork tenderloin. “It’s one of the last places in Des Moines that serves it on a thick French baguette and not a tiny little bun,” Pline says. Open daily: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Amanda Phillips, Culinary Director at the Des Moines Social Club
After graduating from culinary school in Vermont, Phillips sharpened her skills at restaurants around the Midwest before moving to Des Moines in 2012. Today, she teaches cooking classes at the Des Moines Social Club. “I love being able to talk to people about food,” Phillips says. “People may be reserved at first, but they always let their guards down when they talk about food.”
For a hip yet toned down place to cap off a night out, Phillips recommends Eatery A. The restaurant’s bar menu offers a variety of shareable small plates, but for those looking to indulge, Phillips suggests the No. 4 wood-fired pizza. Topped with local prosciutto and two kinds of Italian salami, “it has just the right amount of meat and grease to be the ultimate drunk food,” Phillips says. “Finish the night off with Irish coffee, and you’re good to go.” Weeknights: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday: 3 p.m. – midnight