Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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The Dish

Laws, damned laws and statistics


Thank the gods of lunch meats

Lawyers had a huge quarter challenging long-established food brands and free-speech rights. Last year, much of Hawaii was outraged to learn a Chicago restaurant chain owner had trademarked the name “Aloha Poke” while demanding that cubed fish shops around the country stop using the Hawaiian language moniker for their own eateries. These cease-and-desist letters targeted a downtown Honolulu restaurant and a Native Hawaiian-operated restaurant in Anchorage, among others.

That triggered Hawaiian lawmakers into considering adoption of a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. The effort predates Aloha Poke, but that episode is festering a sense of urgency to a concern not unfamiliar to native cultures in other parts of America. What could an outsider trademark that might steal from Iowa food culture? Hawkeye grown or raised? Iowaved?

Australia’s Queensland banned outdoor junk food advertising in a battle with rising child obesity rates. We cannot find predecessors in this cause. Could a state in the U.S. do this without being struck down by the First Amendment? Also, it was a surprising quarter for stock market initial public offerings (IPOs). The gurus of Wall Street concentrated on the IPOs of Uber and its ilk, which quickly lost nearly 20 percent of their value. At the very same time, Beyond Meat came out at $25 per share, has barely had a down day since, and hit a new record high above $90 within two weeks, exceeding even the most bullish sell-side targets, according to Bloomberg. Beyond Meat is trading beyond mere multiples, with its market cap of $5.23 billion more than 58 times its last 12 months’ (LTM) revenue. All this is more astonishing because Uber is expanding all over the world, and Beyond Meats is slowly but gradually finding new customers. Plant based protein is part of the future but maybe not 58 times more so?


In an effort to combat Des Moines’ submarine sandwich famish, Cousin’s Subs of Wisconsin announced they will build three stores in the metro. Thank the gods of lunch meats… Kraft Heinz announced a $63 million expansion of its Jello plant in Cerro Gordo County. This is really good news for a great part of Iowa that has not heard much good news for a while… After 26 years, Zimm’s Food & Spirits on Ingersoll closed permanently on May 31… Sambetti’s closed six weeks after losing its owner… After 14 years of making burritos and other Mexican-inspired specialties in Ames, The Fighting Burrito closed its doors there… Purveyor, a gourmet food and wine shop with an in-house restaurant, suggested they would open in the metro by the Fourth of July… Food scene guru Michael LaValle rented the former space of the Moxie art gallery, next to Raygun and Mars Coffee Bar on East Grand. His combined dining and retail concept will serve and sell cheeses, Iowa-focused charcuterie and wine.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa


IHOP expanded to the Waukee border of West Des Moines, still advertising itself as IHOb for confusing reasons… JJ Jasmine Thai Cuisine, a casualty of the Kaleidoscope closing, reopened at 400 Walnut on the skywalk… Michaelangelo’s Pizza and Pasta reopened at 700 Locust, in the excellent food court there … Panda opened a new store at 400 Locust… Alexander and Whitney Hall opened St. Kilda Surf and Turf, a highly-anticipated culinary addition to Des Moines’ East Village, with more grilled than fried fish options. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch daily.


Thrillest named Toppling Goliath Iowa’s most underrated brewery. They mentioned Pseudo Sue, Assassin and Kentucky Brunch among the Decorah brewery’s assets… James Beard Awards, the nation’s most prestigious, named Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute in Chicago the best chefs in the Great Lakes region. Ann Kim of Young Joni and several other Twin Cities restaurants and of Wall Street Journal columns, won the best chef award in Iowa’s Midwest region. Kim has participated in local events here and has won a metro Des Moines audience’s affection. Despite great respect for her, it’s getting old that Twin Cities chefs keep dominating a region that includes Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin and surrounding states. Am I the only one who thinks Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City have restaurants as good as any in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis? The JBA judges sure don’t… Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Café in McCook, Nebraska, did win an historic award for the region but at the expense of Pella Bologna pioneer Int’veld’s, which has been around twice as long with a more unique product. “Great Chefs,” a TV series that has been credited by David Chang and others for teaching to cook, celebrated its 40th anniversary. John Beyer, a Drake grad, directed the original 13 episodes. Beyer also worked at Public TV in Des Moines in the early 1970s. ♦

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