About Us

Search the Site

Admin Area
« Friday Food Tour 8.17.12 | Main | Friday Food Tour 8.10.12 »

Kelly's Little Nipper

If you're in the mood for some great bar food, Kelly's Little Nipper on Des Moines' east side won't disappoint. Located at 1701 East Grand, Kelly's Little Nipper has been around for ages, but has changed hands a few times recently. We hadn't been there for awhile, but I was craving a breaded tenderloin and Kelly's has one of the best in town. 

Kelly's is decidedly a bar, albeit a bar with excellent grub. And while it's not much on atmosphere, you won't even notice when you're eating! There are 3 booths, 1 table and the bar for your dining pleasure. They also have a great happy hour from 4 - 7.

The menu features a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, and baskets, and they do serve breakfast on the weekends. The onion rings are a local favorite, sliced thin and hand breaded. You'll also find bacon-wrapped tator tots and wings. As for the sandwiches, the Sausage Sandwich made with Graziano's sausage is huge and always popular. They also have burgers, philly steak, a meatball sandwich, lots of great choices. All sandwiches come with a choice of fries, onion rings, or chips.

We started off with a cold Miller High Life tallboy.

For this trip to the Nipper, I ordered the Homemade Breaded Tenderloin. OK, who am I kidding, EVERY time I go to the Nipper I get the Homemade Breaded Tenderloin! This tenderloin is pure pork heaven. Not too thick, juicy and tender, the breading is crispy, crunchy, and delicious. Served on a french loaf with pickles, onions and lettuce, it is huge. At only $8.00, this tenderloin could easily feed 3 people.

Grant went with the Guinea Grinder - ground sausage and hot peppers covered in melted cheese. With a side of homemade onion rings, a very nice lunch for $6.00.

We hadn't been to Kelly's Little Nipper in over a year, so we were happy to see that the quality of food is still as great as it ever was - the beer is still cold and the service still friendly. Do remember that they get busy over lunch with take out orders and everything is cooked on one small grill by one person - patience is appreciated. But you'll be more than satisfied when you take that first bite - Kelly's Little Nipper is awesome bar food.

Kelly's Little Nipper

1701 E. Grand
Des Moines, IA  50317



Monday - Thursday  10am - close
Friday - Saturday  8am - close
Sunday  9am - close

More information on their Facebook page here

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (5)

Hi Amy,
I've only been there a few times, but the 'loin is the only thing I've ever had, too. That French loaf really keeps everything together. I had part of it for lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch...it was HUGE! I had to cut it down to fit in the take-home styrofoam clam-shell. The 'rings are the only side I've had, too. With the pic of Grant's grinder, I might try that next time; great post, thanks!!!

Aug 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHammy

Hey Hammy, with the Nipper changing hands a few times in recent memory, we were really happy to see that the food was still as good as it always had been. That tenderloin is a monster - I also munched on it for a few add'l meals. Do try the grinder or the sausage sandwich, they are both very tasty.

Aug 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Many decades ago the Nipper was located on Easton just as you came off the freeway. The place remained a bar for some time after Kelly's moved to E. Grand. With freeway improvements, the dumpy little dive met the wrecking ball.

I grew up blocks away but never ventured inside until I was well into my twenties.

Aug 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSlakingfool

We decided to try this based off this review and others but sadly it was a very horrible experience. When we arrived we were excited to try the food. While waiting for food other patrons were being really loud for quite a while. Screaming and hollering. We asked nicely for them to quiet down a little as we were getting headaches. They were nothing but rude and staff did nothing to help. If anything after we said something staff became rude to us siding with their regulars. Food was very greasy mediocre to average at best. Not a family friendly atmosphere and horrible service. They care more about regulars than wanting to get new customers.

Apr 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Me

Hi Just Me! Sorry to hear your experience at the Nipper was less than stellar. It really is a 'bar,' not a restaurant, so I can see where it would get loud. We've only been there for lunch, so it was much more calm, I guess! But still, our food has always been good. Too bad you didn't have the same experience.

Apr 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>