Friday, May 22, 2015


Posted May 20, 2015in Food Dude

Breakfast comes to church

The name is a lot to chew — Drake Bakery, Café and Bar. That’s just part of its intentions. It also has a stage and a dance floor, and it’s set in an old Baptist Church. Owner Frank Strub, a member of Forest Evaschevski’s Iowa Hawkeye football teams of the

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Posted May 13, 2015in Food Dude

Hy-Vee launches super charcuteire

Having vanquished its main rival, Hy-Vee is preparing to take on all comers. A preview of its next phase is taking shape at Hy-Vee on Mills Civic Parkway. Called the Mills Civic Culinary Center, it plans to offer a new Market Grill restaurant plus upgraded dining options of a more

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Posted May 06, 2015in Food Dude

The Keg Stand accommodates

The American tavern has been evolving since its earliest days. As Cliff Claven said on “Cheers”: “Little known fact. The United States Postal Service originated in taverns.” An iconic photograph in the Silver Springs (Maryland) Library shows Civil War soldiers reading their mail in a local tavern. Early taverns also

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Posted April 29, 2015in Food Dude

W China thinks big

Thanks to Lost Des Moines’ Facebook page, the city’s restaurant history is becoming better known. I recently was reminded of Davey’s Supper Club and Curly’s Dinner Club. Both were Highland Park legends before the 1960s. Like the Chickadee (where Gino’s now stands), they specialized in fried chicken. In fact, fried

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Posted April 22, 2015in Food Dude

La Peña’s still one of a kind

Chefs complain that Des Moines diners are resistant to change. If a restaurant replaces a dish or alters a recipe, someone will complain. In this environment, any change of ownership at traditional establishments comes with customer anxiety. In the last year-and-a-half, La Pena, Chuck’s, Tally’s, The Radish and the Des

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Posted April 15, 2015in Food Dude

This Gateway Market Café is far from a horror story

Knowing that George Formaro’s love of horror stories inspired Zombie Burger + Drink Lab, I assumed that Gateway Market and Café were named after a bloody piece of American cultural history. The LaBianca family, murdered by Charles Manson’s followers, owned a similarly named chain of stores. After all, the store

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Posted April 08, 2015in Food Dude

Culinary Loft debuts

The first time I interviewed Zach Mannheimer, I was impressed by his talent at piecing together multiple sources of funding. Similar coalitions of generosity had been assembled to save the Temple of the Performing Arts from the wrecking ball. That was part of a local civic effort to preserve an

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Posted March 31, 2015in Food Dude

Bacon lust bottoms out

It’s been almost four years since American economics lost its biggest food star. In July of 2011, pork bellies were removed from listed commodities traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. For 50 years before then, they served as a kadigan for all commodity trading and the butt of most jokes

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Posted March 25, 2015in Food Dude

Family-style Mexican in Valley Junction

One definition asserts that romance is whatever transports one to another time or place. That helps explain why people enjoy restaurants set in offbeat venues that have been repurposed. Diners seek to escape their mundane circumstances as much as readers of Victorian romances do. Iowa offers many opportunities for this

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Posted March 18, 2015in Food Dude

Los Laureles keeps getting better

Once in a great while, a new type of restaurant changes the way people think about an entire cuisine. Less often, a new café elevates an entire neighborhood. Los Laureles has done both. It opened two decades ago now in a building constructed after the notorious adult theater 1536 had

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Barmuda