Main Street Eats

Samuel Vander Forest

Main Street Eats

People travel to Ames’ Main Street Cultural District for a variety of reasons, and the food plays a vital role in that. If you’re getting ready for a night out, there are plenty of hidden gems you should try before you go. These are just a few of Main Streets’ most talked about restaurants, so be sure to take a stroll down Ames’ historic downtown before you hit the bars.

Ames Favorites:

Aunt Maude’s

11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Despite being somewhat separated from the rest of the restaurants, this upscale restaurant still lives up to its reputation. Using locally grown ingredients and creating exquisite dishes makes Aunt Maude’s a local favorite and a perfect place for your date night.

Downtown Deli

Mon-Fri: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Sun: Closed

The Downtown Deli is Ames famous for exactly what you’d expect, it’s fresh meats and delicious sandwiches. It’s also known for its great customer service and efficiency despite the immense rush that comes at lunchtime, making it the ideal place for your lunch break.

The Great Plains Sauce & Dough Company


11 a.m. – 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Fri. & Sat:

11 a.m. – 12 a.m.


11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Known for its wide variety of crusts, toppings, immense portion sizes and of course the honey with the crust, The Great Plains is seen to some people as the best pizza place in Ames. If you’re not from Iowa and are looking for something you know with a twist, this is the place to go.

For the Sweet Tooth:

Ames Cupcake Emporium


9 a.m. – 7 p.m.


9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Fri. & Sat:

9 a.m. – 7 p.m.



This place is every sweet tooth’s dream. The Emporium has everything including cupcakes, shakes, ice cream, coffee, cookies, soups and even sandwiches. They provide six cupcake flavors that run every day, and feature 9-14 new flavors each day, so no matter what you’re in the mood for, they probably have it.

Chocolaterie Stam

Mon-Sat: 8:30 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Sun: 1 p.m.- 5 p.m.

This Dutch chocolaterie is Ames’ premier store for all things chocolate. Here you can buy truffles, chocolate bars, hot chocolate, gift bundles, bonbons, and so much more. Visiting this store is quite an experience, and everyone in Ames should experience its aromas and tastes.

Café Style:

Café Diem

Mon-Sat: 7 a.m.- 10:30 p.m.

Sun: 8 a.m.- 9 p.m.

With a smaller food menu that focuses on sandwiches, soups and salads, Café Diem is the traditional small-town café. They have an immense attention for detail in both their food and drinks, and is the perfect place for ISU students and Ames families to enjoy coffee, tea, smoothies and a warm atmosphere.

Foreign Cuisine:

The Spice Thai Cuisine

Mon-Sat: 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 5– 9:15 p.m.

Sun: Closed

This restaurant is one that is paving the way toward a very diverse cuisine market here in Ames. The menu contains meals centered on traditional Thai flavors such as curry and peanuts, and blends them duck, chicken, vegetables and so much more. If you’re looking to diversify your food pallet and try an Asian-inspired meal, The Spice is the place to be.

Lucullan’s Italian Grill

Mon-Fri: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Sat: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Sun: Closed

You can’t find an elegant, Italian-style restaurant like this in the hustle and bustle of Campustown. Lucallan’s is another perfect place for your date night with traditional Italian options like bruschetta, risotto, pasta and pizza, all for great prices.