When George Rivera-Davis first tasted coffee from beans grown on his uncle’s farm in Panama, he was amazed—it tasted nothing like the brown liquid he’d been taught to call coffee in Des Moines. Inspired by the delicious brew, he ventured into the coffee business. Now, George and his wife, Jan—herself a certified tea blender—grow their own coffee in Panama with the aid of their family, bringing gourmet brews to Des Moines through their award-winning coffee shop and café, Grounds for Celebration. Grounds for Celebration’s coffee connoisseurs roast beans onsite before brewing fresh cups of java, blending espresso creations, and flavoring lattes with Monin syrup and Ghirardelli chocolate. Thirsty patrons can also opt for yerba mate, chai, and smoothies, or venture into Jan’s area of expertise and gulp tea in varieties that range from gunpowder green to ginger peach.
While sipping from steaming mugs, patrons can also munch croissants and cinnamon rolls baked fresh each day. At midday, they fortify themselves for afternoon paperclip jousts with lunch sandwiches, salads, and wraps. Some take their time to savor natural, from-scratch gelato while sitting amid the café’s local art and connecting devices to free WiFi.
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Since 2008, the Mistry family has served up nutrition in liquid form at Fuel Juice Bar. They blend pure fruit purées into smoothies and mix Oreos, peanut butter, and other satisfying ingredients into protein-packed performance shakes. Patrons can also customize shakes with boosters such as Burn Fat Burn or sip locally grown, organic wheatgrass juice. In the warmer months, the spot also serves frozen yogurt rich with live, active cultures.
West End Diner’s owners Jay and Betty Lee load an extensive menu of classic diner dishes with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a slew of heart-healthy options. Fifteen burgers ($7.79+), made from fresh-ground Angus beef, slip into stomachs to curb cravings and to satisfy daily requirements for disk-shaped nutrition. Cuisine crafters douse a generous portion of ribs in homemade barbecue sauce for the barbecue loin back rib entree ($17.99), which is accompanied by an enticing array of savory sides. Sink forks into round-the-clock breakfast options, such as the Durango platter, whose freshly baked biscuit supports a tower of sausage gravy and farm-fresh eggs and is embellished with a green-chili façade ($8.49). Homemade devil's food cake from the dessert menu makes a particularly grand appearance in the cake shake ($4.99), in which the moist baked treat blends into a thick vanilla shake, giving hope to straw-envying solids everywhere.