Jason Bogart, SVP of branch operations, EMC Insurance Companies; President, EMC National Life Company

Vibe >> Des Moines is definitely upbeat. There is a lot of development happening in our downtown area, including a new four-story building that EMC is adding to our current campus. Forbes ranks Des Moines as No. 6 for businesses and careers; Kiplinger ranks us as No. 2 for families.


Dining scene >> We have a very diverse restaurant scene. There are many terrific locally owned restaurants, particularly in downtown. If you leave Des Moines hungry, it’s your own fault.


Favorite new restaurant >> My favorite new restaurant is Sam and Gabe’s at The Lyon. It is located just east of downtown and has a beautiful view of the river and skyline. The menu is a blend of old-town steakhouse with a contemporary flair. They also have great seafood.


Classic eats >> My favorite place to eat is the Des Moines Embassy Club. It is a private dining club with reciprocal agreements. The downtown club is elegant, quiet and has a beautiful view of the city. The service is exceptional, and the food is amazing.


Watering holes >> RōCA on Court Avenue provides a wide variety of creative cocktails. My favorite is the “Smoking Gun,” a blend of Bulleit Bourbon, maple syrup, Angostura bitters and wood chip smoke. If a client is a beer lover, I recommend El Bait Shop, which has 222 beers on tap.


Stay >> When we have important customers visiting, we like to have them stay at the Des Lux, a boutique hotel in downtown Des Moines. They have very nice rooms, an excellent fitness center and a terrific breakfast. It’s close to our offices and the downtown nightlife.


Things to do >> I find that most out-of-state visitors enjoy attending the Iowa State Fair in August. They should also visit the Downtown Farmers’ Market during the summer months. Fitness enthusiasts can participate in the Des Moines Marathon and RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa).


Active >> Des Moines is a very bike-friendly city. There are miles of paved trails for walking, running and biking. A favorite is our Gray’s Lake Trail, a two-mile loop next to downtown. Public golf courses of note are The Harvester Golf Club (one of Golf Digest’s top 100 public courses) and the Tournament Club of Iowa.