Saturday, August 29, 2015


Posted June 17, 2015in Food Dude

Time warp treats

Gino’s closing last week left the city with one less place to enjoy the old art of pan-fried chicken. Before the mid-1960s, this dish was a luxury dinner in Des Moines. A review of old yellow page advertisements and antique menus reveals that it was often the most expensive dish

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Posted June 10, 2015in Food Dude

‘Truckin’, got my chips cashed in’

Unregulated food trucks are Des Moines’ new bicycle lanes. If you are not “all in” for them, you are not hip nor progressive, and you’re certainly out of touch with those who are. Like all causes that become passwords to acceptance by political groups, the food truck issue is more

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Posted June 03, 2015in Food Dude

Big plates at BW’s Burgers

E.P. True Parkway projects a strange magnetic attraction for small town cafés wanting to test the market of suburban Des Moines. First came EP True Burger Café, an expansion of Route 169 Burger Café. Next was Patty Pat’s, which tried bringing the taverns (loose meat sandwiches) of LeMars to West

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Posted May 27, 2015in Food Dude

Changing perceptions

In the food world, perceptions are formed by rumors as often as by experience. I still hear that French places are haughty and expensive years after Bistro Montage, Django, Baru 66 and Le Jardin should have laid such notions down to die. Similarly, people cling to the idea that all

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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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