dsmWeekly: July 6, 2021
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July 6, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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The latke flight from RC's Diner, featuring the Classic (left), the Bronx (middle) and the Hot Date.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Prepare for a cozy yet culinary-elevated variation on the classic "diner" theme at RC’s Diner (6587 University Ave.), opening July 13 in Windsor Heights. My dining partner and I were able to join for the first night of the soft opening—and were both blown away by the atmosphere, the service, the creativity on the menu and the execution. You can read more about the new eatery's backstory in our report from May.

I started with an unexpectedly delicious, complex and savory cocktail inspired by one of my favorite spice blends: Everything but the Bagel. That’s the name and the garnish of the mixed drink, which features dill-infused gin and egg white. (My friend enjoyed her just-sweet-enough Sidecar.)

We started with the latke flight, which I’d recommend to all as a starter. It was challenging for us to each pick a favorite potato pancake as they were all so well-seasoned and balanced. I chose the Classic as No. 1 (spiced applesauce, horseradish sour cream, fresh chives), while my friend enjoyed the Bronx (house-cured salmon, creme fraiche, crispy capers, red onion). Our server preferred the Hot Date (griddled cheese curds, date brown butter, chives, caramelized onion), so you can't go wrong.

For our mains, my pal enjoyed the matzo meal-crusted pork tenderloin with herbed spaetzle, pickled red cabbage and brown mustard crema. Think: Midwestern, crunchy, plate-sized tenderloin, but with a little Jewish flair and more finesse. I landed on the pan-roasted sockeye salmon with potato and dill kreplach, lemon-caper butter and roasted asparagus. Portions were generous without being overwhelming, and despite the rich ingredients, nothing felt too heavy.

After perusing the partial menu, we were excited to return to spoon mom’s matzah ball soup and dive into the beer-battered onion rings (with pastrami marmalade and Russian dressing!). Meat-and-potato lovers will delight in the herb-rubbed hanger steak with RC’s schmaltz butter and hand-cut fries.

There’s already latke to love (sorry) at RC’s, and they haven’t even officially opened yet. So mark your calendars for July 13; they’re open from breakfast to dinner, and you’ll definitely want to pull up a chair at this next-level diner.

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The cast of "Godspell," which opens this weekend, at the Des Moines Community Playhouse for the organization's Tent Theatre series. Photo: Steve Gibbons


The Des Moines Community Playhouse will be heading outdoors this weekend for its summer Tent Theatre, a series of four shows presented throughout July and early August in the Playhouse's east parking lot under—you guessed it—a large event tent.

It starts Friday with "Godspell," a modern-day retelling of the New Testament parables, which runs over three weekends, ending on Aug. 5-8. The rest of the schedule looks like this:

July 16-18 and July 29-Aug. 1 (7:30 p.m.): "Plaza Suite"
July 10, 17, 24, 31 and Aug. 7 (10 a.m.): "Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical," a family show.
July 27 (7:30 p.m.): "Fae Rides Again"

It sure sounds like the production will be top quality as well, with professional stage, lighting and sound set up around the space. And each seat will be adorned with Raygun garb saying "Great Theatre, Butt Outside." Grab your tickets online.
    Tiffany Johnson, Pyramid Theatre Company's producing artistic director, will co-direct "The Gospel at Colonus," a new musical presented in partnership with Des Moines Performing Arts.


    This went on our calendar the moment we heard about it: Pyramid Theatre Company and Des Moines Performing Arts are partnering to present the musical “The Gospel at Colonus” Sept 17-19 at Riverview Park’s amphitheater. Based on Sophocles' tragedy “Oedipus at Colonus,” the show is set at a Black Pentecostal service and features a lively score of gospel and blues music. Focusing on themes of forgiveness, love and redemption, the production—which debuted on Broadway in 1983—translates the 2,400-year-old Greek myth into a modern-day Christian parable that explores Black music, pain and joy.

    One reason we’re confident “The Gospel of Colonus” will be riveting: It’s being co-directed by the dynamic duo of Ken Matt-Martin, a Pyramid co-founder who is now artistic director at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, and Tiffany Johnson, Pyramid’s producing artistic director. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 and 18 and 5 p.m. Sept. 19. Attendance is free; go to or for more information.

    In another innovative collaboration, Pyramid will partner with Des Moines Metro Opera and the Des Moines Art Center to present a 20-minute version of “American Apollo” in July 2022 as part of DMMO’s 50th anniversary season. The opera focuses on Thomas Eugene McKeller, a Black model who served as inspiration for iconic portrait painter John Singer Sargent. DMMO will present the world premiere of the full-length version of the opera during its 2024 season.
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      Dan Koenig is the owner of Ichi Bike in the East Village and Highland Park Ichi Bike Garage.


      This story was a part of our July/Aug. issue, released last week. Read the rest of the publication online.

      Writer: Andrea Love

      When Dan Koenig isn’t customizing bikes for his customers, you’ll likely find him on a bike trail—or near one. Koenig, owner of Ichi Bike in the East Village and Highland Park Ichi Bike Garage, tells us his favorite patio stops along the metro area’s trails for a relaxing refresher of food or drink.

      Captain Roy’s is at Birdland Marina in Union Park, right on the trail. The people there are awesome, and they have good food. They have great outdoor seating next to the river and provide live music.

      Triangle Tap
      on MLK and Douglas. It’s a little off the trail but still pretty close. They have a cozy atmosphere and nice outdoor seating—and Wednesdays are pork chop dinner night.

      Slow Down Coffee Shop is a little off the beaten trail. It’s on Sixth Avenue, up the bike trail and into Highland Park. They have great coffee, and I love the area.

      Cumming Tap is located in the little town of Cumming. I’m allergic to alcohol, so my favorite drink there is ginger ale mixed with lemonade. I love their patio and how it’s right along the trail.

      The Chicken
      is on that same trail going out to Cumming. I like their chicken, and it’s the only chicken shack on that route.
        Confluence Brewing Co.'s backyard beer garden is close to Gray's Lake and its trails. Photo: Confluence Brewing


        Dan Koenig's biking spots are definitely must-do—particularly two of our favorites, the Chicken and Captain Roy's—but if you're looking for more options, here are a few of our staff picks.

        Mullets: Downtown, across the river from Principal Park, this popular eatery has a two-level patio and expansive grounds with picnic tables. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served; the pork tenderloin sandwich is one of the best in town.

        Confluence Brewing:
        Near Gray's Lake on the south side, Confluence Brewing Co. is one of Des Moines' most popular breweries. New brews are released almost weekly, but we recommend the nitro Milk Man milk stout—yes, even in summer.

        Jethro's BBQ Southside:
        If you want to fuel up on ribs, this is the spot to stop. Located along the Great Western Trail at the corner of George Flagg Parkway and Park Avenue, Jethro's also offers Angus steak burgers and made-from-scratch sides.  

        Fox Brewing: In West Des Moines just off the trail, this brewery is near Raccoon River Park. There are a number of seasonals on the menu, including a  shandy called Broken Lawnmower. You can't go wrong with the Fox Trots chocolate milk stout, eitheryes, even in summer.
          Sara Routh will perform July 15 on High Street as a part of the Greater Des Moines Partnership's Out to Lunch series.
          Photo: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden


          There are plenty of reasons to head downtown these days. But here are two series that caught our eye.

          Out to Lunch
          Grab some food and enjoy live entertainment during the free Out to Lunch series, presented by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, every Thursday throughout July. Locations and food trucks vary by date. Here's the full schedule, with the names of the entertainers.

          July 8 (909 Locust St., Federal Home Loan Bank parking lot): Ryne Doughty
          July 15 (High Street between Seventh and Eighth streets): Sara Routh
          July 22 (People's Plaza at the Iowa State Capitol Complex): Bruce Day
          July 29 (15th Street between Grand Avenue and Locust Street): Chris Falcon

          Find more information on the Partnership website.

          Music in the Garden
          This Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden's live music series is back this year, running at 6-9 p.m. every Thursday through September in the outdoor Koehn Garden. The next few artists will be the Cedar Rapids Cobras (July 8), Jake Simon (July 15) and Courtney Krause (July 22).

          Tickets are $10 for adults and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Find the full schedule online.
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