Five New Restaurants Coming to Des Moines
It's hard to believe all the new restaurants that are headed are way. And I'm not talking about sub shops. These are major players—ambitious-sounding spots that will no doubt turn heads this coming year:
Two Rivers Hospitality Group is opening "Goldfinch," an entirely new concept in the Court Avenue space once occupied by Dos Rios. The plan, according to spokesperson Liz Adelman, is to offer refined American bistro fare.
Adelman says that while Dos Rios had a rich, dark atmosphere, Goldfinch will go for a lighter palette, complete with whitewashed walls.
Although I'll miss Dos Rios, I'm particularly excited about this new spot because Justin Comer (pictured above) has been name executive chef. Comer most recently served as executive chef at Deerfield, and veteran Des Moines diners will remember his early work. A graduate of the culinary arts program at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, Comer has worked locally at Toscano, Pain Pane, Mosaix, Bistro 43 and Centro.
I remember Comer for being the first local chef that I know of to serve a fried egg on something that wasn't breakfast. Long before egg-topped-everything became de rigeur, Comer served a fabulous classic Salade Lyonnaise (a bacon-studded, egg-topped green salad) -- a dish I've long missed. I can't wait to see what he brings to Goldfinch.
There is no website, phone number or Facebook page yet. We do know the address, however: 316 Court Ave. The restaurant is expected to open later this summer.
2. Sam & Gabe's at The Lyon
In 2015, longtime Sam & Gabe's chef-owner Jerry Talerico sold his restaurant to Shawn Chapman. Now, the current Sam & Gabe's team plans to open a restaurant in The Lyon, an east-Village apartment complex we've all probably seen but have never really noticed. The building used to be senior housing, but recently underwent a 2-year, 13.3-million renovation, according to an article in The Des Moines Register.
Culinary Institute Graduate Chris Place is the executive chef of Sam & Gabe's, and I look forward to seeing what he and his team put together for this new downtown venue. (PS: I hope the Cannelloni--with half red and half white sauce--makes the move downtown!)
David Baruthio plans to take over the site of the former Mustard's restaurant (which closed June 1), and transform it into Saison, a bar-grill featuring casual, seasonal Continental cuisine.
What? Another venue for David Baruthio? With chef-ownership of three restaurants (Baru 66, Blue Tomato and Prime), as well as his collaboration with the upcoming Whiskey House in Ankeny (where he'll oversee the kitchen), you might wonder how he can mange it all.
Fortunately, he's brought in a major reinforcement. Partnering with Baruthio is Mike Crownover, former co-owner of Lurra Cocina, the Spanish-themed venue that recently shuttered after less than a year in business. Crownover's extensive experience includes management in the Orchestrate group of restaurants for almost a decade.
According to Crownover, plans involve revamping the interior, devoting two-thirds of the space to the dining room and one-third to a lounge.
"We plan to brighten it up, with light, modern touches," he says. These will include reclaimed wood from the family farm of Sara Hill (Baruthio's wife and business partner), as well as butcher-block-style tabletops.
Crownover describes the fare as a grill/gastropub melding; expect specialty pizza, a unique slider menu, traditional burgers and lobster rolls, as well as entrees with French and European influences. Prices will range from $7 to $30. A seasonal drinks menu, including inspirations from the former Lurra Cocina, should entice craft cocktail enthusiasts.
Crownover hopes for a mid-September opening; there's no phone number or website yet, but we can tell you the address: 6611 University Ave.
4. Barn City Brewing
Barn City Brewing, a 5,500 square-foot Brewpub will be opening at 9500 University, West Des Moines. The owner is Des Moines native Peter Farber, who owned a number of restaurants in Chicago and recently moved back to Iowa. An early 2017 opening is projected.
5. Blu Toro
Blu Toro, an upscale Mexican restaurant, will be opening on Mills Civic Parkway in Early October. It's Annie Baldwin's project (she's part of the Wellman's Rooftop and Patio team, and was behind the look and concept of the beautiful Magnolia Wine Kitchen).
I love upscale Mexican food--Rick Bayless's Topolobampo is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I don't know if this new restaurant is aiming quite as high, but if the atmosphere is anywhere near as pretty as Magnolia Wine Kitchen, I'm in.