dsmWeekly: February 16, 2022
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February 16, 2022

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Little Brother co-owner Alex Tripp creates desserts for the rebranded restaurant, including Donut Pie (left) and Sticky Toffee Pudding (right).

Little Brother: New Vibe, Refreshed Menu

Writer: Karla Walsh

On my first visit after RC’s Diner reopened as Little Brother, several of the evening menu items remained the same. (Thank goodness, because those ultra-savory, roast turkey-topped Disco Fries were the ultimate antidote for a frigid Thursday evening.) But the vibe was totally transformed, as was the flip side of the menu that featured breakfast recipes.

“The goal is to help everyone return to that romantic, whimsical feeling of the nostalgia of childhood and simpler times and the little joys that enchant us as children. Little Brother is inspired by our children and family and the feeling of home,” co-owner Alex Tripp says of the makeover of the dining room.
(Specifically, the walls are now adorned with yellow stripes reminiscent of rays of sunshine and vibrant, rainbow-hued blocks.)

Simon Goheen, owner of Simon’s, and his team from that restaurant were involved with the daytime action at RC’s Diner from opening day last July through December, and now Little Brother is solely owned by Alex and Joe Tripp.

“We were spending more and more time daydreaming about running breakfast and keeping the place open all day to serve the demand for lunch. Doing so wasn't really possible while operating two completely separate operations that switched out midday,” Alex says. “It was a difficult and admittedly confusing concept to execute to the standards we all held for ourselves.”

The name is a nod to the “C” in RC’s diner, the Tripps' son Clayton, who is the youngest of their trio (joined by siblings Layla and Zephyr).

The restaurant itself is also a Little Brother to Harbinger, where Joe Tripp is chef, “because while we hold Little Brother to the same standards—commitment to local sourcing and making as much as possible in house from scratch—it's more playful, youthful, fun and laid back,” Alex says.

As she has since day one, Alex is still acing the desserts, and the original dinner chef, Mackenzie Schultz, is running the show in the evening. Joe tapped former Alba co-worker Jared Sullivan (who has since been in Chicago working at Michelin-starred restaurants) to direct the brunch kitchen. Alex’s dad, Cory Benson, a Des Moines restaurant industry fixture for about 30 years, is the general manager.

As far as the menu fine-tuning goes, “we really have our hearts and souls in every recipe,” Alex says. Expect her and Joe’s family favorites, including Alex's great grandma’s meatloaf recipe, latkes Joe sizzles up for the family every Hanukkah, and Alex’s signature Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.

Little Brother, 6587 University Ave. in Windsor Heights, is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Learn more and see the menu at, and follow @littlebrotherdsm on Instagram for menu sneak peeks, specials and more.
The Mavericks released "En Español," their first Spanish-language album, in 2020, which earned rave reviews from both critics and fans. Photo courtesy Hoyt Sherman Place.

The Mavericks to Shake Up Des Moines Friday

After a pandemic-induced delay, The Mavericks' “En Español” World Tour will be at Hoyt Sherman Place on Friday, and the band isn't holding anything back.

The group's first Spanish-language album brings an added multicultural energy to its already eclectic and genre-defying musical style. The album had a No. 1 chart debut when it was released in August 2020 and had best of the year picks from NPR, Rolling Stone and more.

The concert will include covers of Latin music classics as well as new Mavericks originals like “Por Ti (Yo Quiero Ser)."
The show starts at 7:30 p.m.; find tickets online.

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Art Center+: Celebrating Black History (Friday 4-7 p.m.): Focusing on celebrating history through music and storytelling, this drop-in event at the Des Moines Art Center will feature performances of traditional West African drumming. Also, Negus Sankofa Imhotep of Urban Dreams will share stories, using works of art as the starting point.

Terrace Hill Tea & Talk (Saturday 2-3:30 p.m.): Over tea and tasty morsels, hear Kim Perez, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, present her vision for the public garden.

Soya Vista Jazz Orchestra and Vocalist Gina Gedler (Saturday 7-9:15 p.m.): This concert at Noce will feature jazz from the 1950s through the 1970s, covering such artists as Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra and Henry Mancini.

“Say Day” Spoken Word Poetry (Saturday 7:30-9:30 p.m.): Say: Poetry is hosting an evening of spoken word poetry at Stoner Theater in the Des Moines Civic Center, featuring nationally renowned writer, poet and performer Porsha Olayiwola and the students of Say: Poetry and Arts & Activism. The event is free but reserving tickets in advance is recommended.

Parranderos Latin Combo (Saturday 9 p.m.): Celebrate the band’s new album, “El Gran Chantaje,'' at a release party at Wooly’s. Doors open at 8 p.m.; the show starts at 9 p.m.

AViD speaker series: The Des Moines Public Library has announced the lineup for its Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) speaker series, with events to be held in person for the first time since before the pandemic. The lineup features bestselling authors of both nonfiction and fiction. First up on March 17 is Brad Meltzer, who wrote the 2018 bestseller “The Escape Artist.” His latest thriller, “The Lightning Rod,” comes out in March. View the full lineup of speakers and events online.
Chrysalis Conversations: The Chrysalis Foundation is bringing back its Chrysalis Conversations three-event speaker series in spring 2022. Indigenous leaders Geneviève Umęndaterih Salamone and Sikowis (Christine Nobiss) will kick off the series on March 8, when they will focus on the underreported and disproportionate rates of disappearance of and crime against Native American and Alaskan Native women and girls in the United States. The event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wakonda Club. Find tickets as well as more details about the series online.

Sommeliers face off: Winefest Des Moines’ Iron Somm is returning March 25, as is sommelier Rae Doyle to defend her title against Dana Swas. The event features a five-course dinner with wine pairings; chefs are Derek Eidson of Malo and Aaron Holt of Doolittle Farms. Get your tickets online.

Round up at Casey’s: Casey’s General Stores is asking its customers to fight food insecurity by rounding up their purchases. The convenience store is partnering with Feeding America and local food banks, including the Food Bank of Iowa. Ten meals are distributed for every $1 donated. Read more from the Business Record.

"Man with the Moon" by James Bearden and Jay Vigon is the first sculpture to be featured in Mainframe Studio's new public art program. Photo courtesy Mainframe Studios.


New Sculpture Installed at Mainframe Studios

Writer: Kathy Bolten
Des Moines Business Record

A new outdoor sculpture called “Man with the Moon” is on display at Mainframe Studios in downtown Des Moines.

The sculpture is a collaboration between nationally recognized sculptor James Bearden and Jay Vigon, who is known for his designs for album covers. The work, sculpted of welded steel and donning colored bronze patinas, stands over 14 feet high on a concrete base.

The sculpture also launches a new rotating public art sculpture program.

“The idea behind this initiative is to provide a venue for local artists looking to create and exhibit new outdoor works of art that are then available for purchase,” Siobhan Spain, Mainframe Studios’ executive director, said in a statement. Income from the sale of sculptures will go to the artists, with a portion reserved to support fabrication of future works. Continue reading the story on

Learn more about
Vigon and Bearden in stories from the dsm archive.

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