the breakfast dictator [215]

Waveland Cafe | Des Moines, Iowa

Posted in Diner Review, Travel by thebreakfastdictator on August 15, 2010

Waveland Cafe | Des Moines, Iowa

1,103 miles is a long way to go for breakfast.

I’d heard about this joint in the fall of 2007, shortly after we’d started the Breakfast Club in Pittsburgh. Wayde and Erin were soon to be engaged, I’d recently started the original Breakfast Dictator, and despite the distance we kept in touch on at least a few topics – breakfast was surely one of them. So, in July, when I finally made my way back to Iowa, after a two and a half year hiatus, the Waveland was certainly on my hit list.

It boasts the best hash-browns in the universe. It has one of those racks that, just to the right of the bar, the regulars hang their mugs. Quirky paintings cover the walls and even the front windows. Some of the window art incorporates what one of the locals claims are bullet-holes. Is this true, or isn’t it? Such legend can’t be verified, but can’t be ignored either. Crime in Iowa? This place seems all to peaceful for that – a lovely blend of colorful people and perfect-Pleasantville (at least before the color is introduced).

Matthew's Mustache, among other things

Matthew grew a mustache. And not an ironic one, either.

“Lemme take your photo.”


….alright, but let me put my glasses on.

….it’s lookin’ pretty good, but I think I’m gonna shave it soon.

….check it!”

There’s a discrepancy on the mugs and on the menu. The mug reads “Established 1982”, the Menu “1984”. We ask our server. She asks the boss. The boss shakes her head and kinda laughs. “That sounds about right!”, she says. Our question remains unanswered. Bullet holes? Date of origin? Answers elude us. The legend grows.

Best hashbrowns in the universe, eh? I’ll have to have them. Two dippy-eggs and toast are my sides. The hashbrowns do not disappoint. I’ll take their word. I haven’t explored the universe yet. Though, perhaps Ron Paul has. His signature is on the wall.

“Any chance I can buy one of the mugs?”

“Yeah. We sell them. Do you want a small or a large?”

“What do you mean? I meant the one that I used. I’d like to buy it.”

“Oh no. We don’t sell those.”

“But I came all the way from Philadelphia.”

“You mind if he has a mug?”


“Alright, you can have this one. Enjoy your time in Iowa.”

1,103 miles was worth it.

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