DES MOINES, Iowa — More restaurants in downtown Des Moines are offering lunch hours again after the pandemic shut them down.

Jessica Dunker, the President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, said that there are many factors contributing to more restaurants offering lunch hours, for starts more people back at the office.

“There are more people who are going back to the office on a regular basis and finding they like to be there and also finding that they’re doing that reconnection with their coworkers so they are celebrating and going out to lunch more,” Dunker said.

Dunker also said that lunch has become a more affordable option due to the rising cost of groceries.

“For the first time in a long time people are looking at the cost of groceries and the cost of restaurant food and the cost of groceries has gone up quite a bit but there’s a threshold for what a restaurant will charge,” Dunker said. “So there are a lot of people that are finding that lunch is actually a really affordable meal in restaurants.”

Warm weather is another contributing factor to restaurants deciding to offer full or partial lunch hours.

“The weather is getting nice so not only are people choosing to go out for lunch but they’re also looking for a patio, and patio season for restaurants is an all-day thing and so it’s really nice to have your patio open up for lunch,” Dunker said.

As always, restaurants are still in a hiring crunch to find workers to fill shifts. However, according to Dunker more age groups are entering the workforce.

“As we have continued to build our workforce up post-pandemic we are having to look at alternative workforce and some of it is young people in the state of Iowa and one of the surprises we found is that we are back to people who are 55+ choosing to come back and work in our industry again,” Dunker said. “Lunch is a great time for that if you’re doing a part-time job and looking for hours that are good for you those older workers do really like to come and work the lunch shift.”

Some of the downtown Des Moines restaurants that are now open for lunch:

  • Centro
  • Eatery A
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Lucky Lotus
  • Americana
  • Bubba
  • Tupelo Honey
  • Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company