Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kelly's Little Nipper in Des Moines

Sometimes known simply as Kelly's, or Kelly's Bar on Grand. This pub 'n grub in the Mexican Main Street of East Grand Avenue serves up big portions of greasy food at low prices for a working class crowd.

Location: 1701 East Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

Directions: If you get off the freeway around E. 14th and find Grand Ave. Kelly's is on the south side of the street.
The Tenderloin: This sandwich starts with about twelve ounces of pork loin, so size is not an issue here. Its pounded to get soft without being too thin. The breading is thick and crunchy, crumbs scatter all over the place. Soft edges of the sandwich are pulled off easily. Meat is white inside throughout. Served with the fixings on a large portion of soft bread cut in front of you. Overall 8.0 out of ten.

Price: $4.95
Also on the menu: The specialy is the one-pound sausage sandwich, there is also something named the Killer Burger. Onion Rings are hand breaded.

Service: you can wait at a table or booth, but its faster to go straight to the counter. Everything goes through the same tiny grill, so it can take up to half an hour to get your food at busy times.
Ambiance: This bar has been in operation for a long time, I think the sign says since 1929 or something. the age shows in the woodwork and the decades-old beer advertisements. There are booths, tables, and a counter to eat and drink. There is a picnic table in back for when the weather is warm.

Final Thoughts: This stretch of East Grand is packed with authentic Mexican restaurants, Kelly's is like a hold out here that has been around for a long time. Don't let the humble exterior fool you, this is a great place for greasy grub. Since Micheals in Beaverdale closed, this may have found itself in the rare company of the best tenderloins in the city of Des Moines.

Kelly's Little Nipper on Urbanspoon


  1. I found one of the spots I'll be trying out on my way thru Des Moines en route to South Dakota. Looks great, anything else I need to hit up?

  2. As of the summer of 2011, Kelly's Little Nipper has changed owners and no longer have the legendary tenderloins that they were known for. The new owners still have tenderloins on the menu but are only sub-par at best. If you'll be looking in the Des Moines area I'd search this blog for other loin shops.

    1. Kellys little nipper has and will always maintain and keep the original tenderloin recipe it is passed down from owner to owner. I'm sorry that you were given the wrong information. Please feel free to stop by and try one for yourself. Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day.

  3. Last post is not true. Kellys has the biggest homemade jumbo tenderloin in DES moines. Made fresh daily. Best of all only 8 bucks and you get homemade onion rings or fries with that. Clean place and great people. Also mon thru Friday from 4 to 7 buy one get 1 free on all drinks. Stop in today :-)

  4. tenderloins are great (and huge) but if you want the best sausage sandwich in Des Moines, look no further