Mar 19, 2024 - Food and Drink

Waveland Cafe in Des Moines celebrates 40 years of business

waveland cafe 40 years

Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

At Waveland Cafe, the menu and servers rarely change, and you can count on a line if it's a Sunday morning.

Why it matters: The Des Moines diner is celebrating its 40th anniversary, thanks to staying "consistent to a fault," owner David "Stoney" Stone tells Axios.

  • "If you do things right, you shouldn't have to change it."

How it started: After working in food service for two decades, Stoney opened the cafe in 1984 after deeming the location the perfect spot for a breakfast diner.

  • From there, he tailored a no-frills breakfast and lunch menu.

Zoom in: The menu may seem simple, but a lot of thought was put into it, Stoney says.

  • For example, he experimented brewing the diner's black coffee down to a tenth of an ounce of grounds, along with the water purifiers and softeners.

The intrigue: Waveland's popularity with celebrities and politicos started when the diner hosted "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" in 2000.

  • Since then they've welcomed everyone from President Biden to actor Jason Momoa.

What's next: Don't expect any expansions or more seating. Stoney doesn't plan on changing anything.

  • But he does expect his daughters will someday take over the family business.
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