Beloved Iowa Restaurant Remembered as Favorite Recipes Return
Losing one of your favorites is never easy, especially when the place provided both pure perfection with its food and an unforgettable experience to go along with it.
For 23 years, from 1963 to 1986, one Iowa location was the go-to for great pizza and plenty of fun-loving craziness. Visitors knew they were going to get great "thin-crust pizza with a high, thin lip" with each visit but just what would accompany it was anybody's guess.
In 1986, Bamie's Pizza House on Army Post Road in Des Moines, near the Des Moines International Airport, was one of about 20 businesses forced to move or close. Bamie's chose to close when, the Des Moines Register says, all of the property was taken via eminent domain by the Federal Aviation Administration to create a "clear zone," in case of a plane crash.
As the closing neared, a handwritten note on the door read, "Bamie's Pizza House, our pride and joy, will be gone after August 2, 1986. A day that broke our hearts."
Bamie's has been missed terribly, as is evidenced by this shrine-like display (below) at the restaurant that's brought back its recipes, for a limited time. Just why it's missed so much is the real beauty of this story. You see, it was about so much more than the food.
The sign above the door at Bamie's Pizza House read "Bamies-Enter At Your Own Risk." It was a good warning because first-time customers couldn't have imagined owner Frank “Bamie” Bonanno might come in dressed as a firefighter hollering 'Where's the fire?!' while spraying diners with the CO2 tank he was carrying. Or that he could throw on a wig and march through the restaurant playing the trombone, with a boxing glove on the end of the slide. Bamie's antics were many.
While Bamie was having fun with customers inside the dining room, his wife was in the kitchen creating the pizza masterpieces.
*Bamie and his wife Colleen, who he called Coke
The video below from decades ago takes us inside the craziness, and joy of Bamie's Pizza House.
Even though Bamie passed away 30 years ago, his son Ron and daughter-in-law Ann teamed with Gusto Pizza Bar in Des Moines to bring back four of his mother and father's creations.
Located at 2301 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines, Gusto Pizza Bar has been completely slammed by pizza/fun lovers.
Gusto Pizza Bar has said Bamie's Pizza House pizzas will only be available through Wednesday, November 15 but I wouldn't be shocked to see that ending date moved back.
Past customer Dave Kaili told WHO-13, Bamie's was "the greatest experience you'd ever have going to a restaurant and having a good time." It's obvious, that 37 years after it closed, Bamie's Pizza House is still fondly remembered and greatly missed.
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Gallery Credit: Liz Barrett Foster