Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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On the Move

Pleading The Fifth



A proposed downtown 32-story skyscraper, set for Fifth and Court avenues, has cleared its biggest hurdle by gaining recent approval by the Des Moines City Council. The planned tower would be the fourth tallest building in the state and will contain 200 residential units, an upscale urban movie theater, indoor rock climbing facility, restaurant, jazz club, office space and a parking garage among other possibilities. The projected cost for the new building is nearly $107 million. The preliminary agreement between Mandelbaum Properties and the City of Des Moines includes public contributions expected to total approximately $25 million. The project is set to be built in the downtown core, adjacent to the downtown Hy-Vee currently under construction and across from the courthouse. The new building is being called The Fifth. Once started, construction should take two years, making the building operational by 2019.


Big Al’s BBQ opens

A new eatery named Big Al’s BBQ and Catering is now open near Anderson Erickson Dairy. The new eastside restaurant accommodates 50 and serves Kansas City- and St. Louis-style barbeque. The new menu includes traditional favorites like ribs, wings, baked beans, coleslaw and mashed potatoes along with deviled egg potato salad, smoked salmon salad, smoked chicken salad and a mac and cheese dish with chicken and bacon. Street chef and food truck owner Al Laudencia and his wife Betsy Laudencia are the owners. Big Al’s is located at 2250 Hubbell Ave., and is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is closed Sunday. Call 515-265-1227.


The Fletcher

Entrepreneur and developer Denny Elwell is opening a new restaurant in Ankeny called The Fletcher. The upscale casual eatery is named after John Fletcher, Ankeny’s founding father, and it will open near the end of May or in early June. The menu is still being finalized, but it will likely include pork belly nachos, burgers sandwiched in homemade buns and a wide selection of pizzas with crust made in-house. The 13,000-square-foot restaurant will include a café as well as a dining room and bar that will be connected, but each will have its own entrance. The café will serve breakfast suitable for quick dining, but dinner at The Fletcher will be more high-end and will include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.


The taste of Tuscany

When placing an international call to Italy, +39 is the country code dialed before the area code and telephone number. It’s also the name of a new upscale Italian restaurant in the Western Gateway portion of downtown overlooking the sculpture park. Part owner Alessandro Andreoni previously owned two restaurants in Italy. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Call 515-421-4500 or visit

Favorite of the farmers market opens in Urbandale

A new nursery is now open in Urbandale. Stam Greenhouse, a long-time favorite at the downtown farmers market, has temporarily opened a new shop next to IHOP at 6315 Douglas Ave. The intent is to construct a permanent business at the site later this summer. Owners Brent and Phyllis Stam have been in the nursery business for nearly 20 years, and this is their second location. The new store will offer the traditional items like annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and shrubs and will also sell things for fairy gardens or miniature gardens adorned with micro plants and small decorations. Stam will also offer classes on an assortment of plant topics. A void was left in the area when Earl May closed its doors last year. Stam is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 515-240-4184 or visit CV


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