Old School

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I believe that is the motto at Noah’s Ark Ristorante, which has seen few changes since they opened in 1946. This Des Moines institution was on my list of things I needed to do when I was in Iowa for Memorial Day Weekend.

Noah’s is known for their authentic Italian dishes and thin crust pizzas, which can be seen tossed high in the air as the pizza maker spins the dough. I have been eating at Noah’s for so many years that I can remember when standing on my tip toes still did not allow me to see over the counter to watch the pizzas being made. The restaurant brings back other fond recollections like eating dinner with my grandma or when my older, wiser cousin taught me the “F” word in the Noah’s bathroom.

But it’s not just the memories that bring me back to Noah’s each time I’m in Des Moines; it’s the amazing pizza, lasagna and dinner rolls, which have remained the same for so many years. This old school consistency can most likely be attributed to the fact that 80-something-year-old Noah still goes to work at the restaurant every day.

Noah’s meatball and mushroom pizza is second to none. The meatballs are seasoned with traditional Italian flavors, and the crust has the perfect balance of softness and crunch. The pizza’s only competition is the lasagna, which is Neapolitan-style, baked in individual casserole dishes with noodles, sauce, meatball pieces, hard-boiled egg and cheese. This unique lasagna dish is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

This trip to Des Moines did not allow for me to dine at the restaurants, but everything was just as delicious as take-out.

I guess some things never change…and that can be a darn good thing!

Noah’s To-Go

Meatball and Mushroom Pizza


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