Des Moines’ newest pizza sensation is Gusto Pizza Co., located betwixt and between the Western Gateway and the Ingersoll Avenue district at 1905 Ingersoll Ave on the northeast corner of Ingersoll and MLK. I like how each new pizza place tries to outdo the last. One of the first of the new wave of pizza innovators was Centro with its New York style pizzas and great oven. Then Bagni di Lucca’s wonderful gourmet creations, followed up by Fong’s Pizza’s fusion of pizza and Asian flavors stepped onto the scene. All excel in adding unexpected, fresh and real ingredients that rebel against the hegemony of the deep-dish, pepperoni, and sausage cabal.I can’t say enough good things about the Gusto pizzas. The Gusto pizzas are built on a crisp and tasty crust that do it right by staying out of the way of the toppings, which are the real stars of the show. We tried a special of the day, the “Big Labowski” which featured white Russian cream sauce, coffee-rubbed beef, shiitake mushrooms, green onions and mozzarella. I was intrigued by the mix of ingredients. The coffee-rubbed beef was quite interesting. The beef was cut into small chunks but the rub was significant enough that it morphed into something in between beef and coffee. From the signature pies on the menu we chose the “Il Figaro.” We had heard that this was a great pizza. This pizza comes with slices of Alfredo pears, dried figs, La Quercia prosciutto, blue cheese and fresh mixed greens on top. It was as good as friends said it would be. The figs were a riot to eat.I should add that Gusto Pizza also features some great local brews in addition to the usual offerings. Local brews include: Madhouse American Wheat, Hub City Brown Ale, Millstream Iowa Pale Ale, Millstream John’s White Ale, Peace Tree Red Rambler and, Peace Tree Hop Wrangler IPA. We opted for the two Peace Trees. You can peruse the entire beer selection on the website. We finished off the meal with a “Holy Cannoli” which is a must-have. Just remembering this makes me want to go back and get one right now. We also grabbed a gelato which is another dessert that is fantastic.
One feature in favor of Gusto Pizza is that it had enough space that we could actually get our order in and get our pizza in fairly short order — something that has not happened at Fong’s Pizza, which is still crowded on the nights we try to get in. As word gets out, this may change. However, the place does have lots of empty space for more tables and chairs if they want to start packing them in. On the whole, I have to say that this is one place that I want to return to as soon as possible. Gusto Pizza is definitely on my “regular” list from this point on.
My congratulations to Josh Holderness, Joe McConville and Tony Lemmo for putting together a nicely balanced but innovative menu. They did a great job of getting a lot of advance publicity out. The twitterverse (@GustoPizzaDM) was alive with constant updates of many potential updates, so there was no way that anybody connected even remotely with the Des Moines social network missed that opening. The website for the place also features a social-network friendly blog which is a good way to keep up on what is happening in and around Des Moines: http://gustopizzaco.com/blog
Some more of their great pizzas:
1905 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA, 50309
Hours of Operation