Hotel & Restaurant Spotlight: 801 Chophouse, Des Moines, IA

Lori Erickson
| January 28, 2024 | 1 Minute Read
Dining table with steak and side dishes surrounding it

With its cozy tables and booths and private dining rooms, 801 Chophouse  (above) is a favorite of visiting dignitaries, business executives and couples looking for a special night out. Aged USDA prime-grade beef in various cuts dominates the restaurant’s menu, along with Japanese and domestic wagyu beef. Diners can also enjoy lobster from a live tank, lamb and pork chops and chicken and seafood such as shrimp, oysters and king crab.

The emphasis at this AAA Three Diamond restaurant is on classic dishes prepared at an exceptionally high level. Entrées are complemented by side dishes such as aged blue cheese potatoes, lobster macaroni and cheese, grilled asparagus and Brussels sprouts with a red onion marmalade. In-house desserts (below) provide a sweet ending to meals.

Wood tray with dessert and various sauces to add

In addition to small-batch bourbons and scotches, 801 Chophouse is known for its award-winning wine list that features vintages from around the world. A private wine-tasting room can be reserved for dinners that focus on food-and-beverage pairings.

Bar area with stools and fully stocked wall of bottles

The restaurant’s ambiance is old-school steakhouse, with vaulted ceilings, leather booths, cherry wood furnishings, wooden floors and white linens (above). A golden statue of a bull overlooks the main dining room, while the walls are adorned with original and vintage paintings and prints that feature cattle.

In the restaurant’s private dining room, a wall features political cartoons and framed headlines from the Des Moines Register, which reflects the restaurant’s long-standing reputation as a gathering place for politicians. The eatery has hosted several U.S. presidents and many members of Congress, and it’s a favorite of state political leaders.

This family-owned establishment, which was founded in 1993, is the flagship of a small chain of restaurants that are also located in cities such as Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Omaha.

801 Chophouse is located on the second floor of the 801 Grand Building, the tallest tower in Des Moines. Because it’s connected to the city’s extensive skywalk system, it’s easy to access on even the coldest winter days.  

AAA Inspector Notes:

Upon entering the restaurant, you might notice the custom canvas artwork adorning the walls. Or perhaps you might find your way to the bar where a selection of wine, whiskey and mixed drinks seems to have no rival. No matter where your initial interests lie, once you have placed your entrée order you will embark on a dining journey that will not be soon forgotten. Menu options range from USDA Prime-grade aged steaks to chicken and fresh seafood. Don't forget to add something from the vegetables selection and I recommend the mushroom pan roast with any steak. Finally, finish with something sweet from the dessert menu that will leave you wanting to lick the plate clean.”

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