Iowa

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Last Updated September 2020! We’ve only just begun to create this guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in Iowa that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).

Note: You can ignore the date on this post going forward. We’ll update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new restaurant recommendation, change, or closure. 

Local Iowa Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats

We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Ankeny

  • Fong’s Pizza – They take fusion to another level. This local chain serves Asian food, pizza, Asian-inspired pizzas, tacos, and tiki drinks. They have several naturally dairy-free options, but also offer Daiya dairy-free cheese alternative for their pizzas. According to the owner, they might be adding Violife vegan cheese. She says, “I’m stepping up the quality of our vegan offerings with the next menu revamp.”

Cedar Rapids

  • Fong’s Pizza – This local chain merges Americanized Asian food with Italian pizzas to create one of the most unique menu we’ve ever seen. This is their fourth location in Iowa, so they’re obviously popular! They offer vegan cheese, and are planning more vegan options.

Des Moines

  • Dirt Burger ⭐️ – The patty at this vegan burger joint is made purely with gluten-free whole foods, no fillers in sight (legumes, buckwheat, flax, vegetables, and seasonings). Their burger options include some seriously creative and enticing toppings, and can be served on a vegan brioche bun, gluten free bun, or a bed of organic greens. They also serve salads and fries.
  • Fong’s Pizza – This funky fusion restaurant has two Des Moines locations. Both serve a very unique array of pizzas (banh mi, kung pao, street taco, etc) with dairy-free cheese as an option. Wash them down with a Polynesian cocktail – seriously!

New Hampton

  • New Beginnings Gluten Free Bakery – This special bake shop is not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free, peanut-free, nut-free, and coconut-free! They can also take custom orders for other dietary needs. They make cupcakes, cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, donuts, and more. You might also spot some of their items at grocery stores in Iowa.

West Des Moines

  • Eggs and Jam – This hip hop spot serves creative breakfast eats in an offbeat casual way. They have a mini vegan menu that offers a nice selection of pancakes and savory dishes. They are reportedly good with special requests, and can make several other menu items dairy free if you don’t need strictly vegan.

Most Popular Chains in Iowa for Dairy-Free Diners

There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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