New Des Moines Restaurants
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September 21, 2022
Thank you to all who braved the weather to come and see us at the Tour of Remodeled Homes!

We cherish the opportunity each year to share our work with you and learn about your upcoming projects. If you missed this year’s tour but would like to learn more about how we can help bring your dream remodel to life, contact us today! Read more.
Blu Thai’s spicy snapper dish is served with a tomato chutney on a bed of sliced cabbage and carrots. Photographer: Duane Tinkey

Four New Restaurants to Check Out

Writer: Seeta Mangra-Stubbs

Blu Thai and Sushi: Toward the end of 2020, Blu Thai and Sushi closed its location in the East Village but the owners promised to return, and they have. Located in the old Fighting Burrito downtown by the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, the new space is bright and airy, and the food is even better than before. I had a simple chicken fried rice that felt like pure comfort, and my dining companion had me try massaman curry, which I’ll be ordering next time. (309 13th St.;

Cafe Con Leche: At the corner of East 29th Street and Hubbell Avenue, Cafe Con Leche provides Des Moines with a much-needed Mexican cafe. They serve breakfast and lunch like chilaquiles, tortas and crepes, but you can also pop in for coffee, chocolate Abuelita and a variety of conchas (a sweet bread). I didn’t know conchas with sprinkles were a thing. We’re looking forward to returning for the horchata and Gansito milkshakes. (Gansito is a strawberry-and-cream-flavored cake topped with chocolate.) (2905 Hubbell Ave.;

Cajun Belle: While Cajun Belle can be tricky to get to, it’s easy to order online and swing by for friendly service. The owner, a Texas native, adds one more kolaches option to Central Iowa with savory and dessert selections as well as gumbo. The fresh, sweet-smelling bread was hard to resist on the drive home. I found the Cajun Belle (boudin or sausage) kolache on the dry side, but the flavors grabbed my attention. (5460 Merle Hay Road;

Pura Social Club: I fell a little in love with Pura Social Club in the East Village’s Lyon Apartments. The minimalist, black interior doesn’t try to compete with the excellent view of downtown; nor does it detract from the amazing food from chef David Malfara. The reasonably priced tapas we tried—patatas bravas and chicken and waffle tacos—were big on flavor and presentation. It’s a versatile restaurant that, depending on the time, brings night club vibes or an outstanding date night eatery.

Sharon Isbin will join the Des Moines Symphony for its inaugural Harriet S. and J. Locke Macomber Concert. Photo courtesy Des Moines Symphony.


Symphony Season Debut to Feature Star Guitarist

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Sharon Isbin will join the Des Moines Symphony this weekend, Sept. 24-25, to kick off the orchestra’s 85th season at the Des Moines Civic Center.   

The first half of the concert will feature a trio of American composers, including the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ “Heartland Canons.” In the second half, Isbin will perform Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un gentilhombre,” and more than 100 musicians will conclude the concert with Ravel’s passionate “Daphnis et Chloe.”

Saturday’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s is at 2:30 p.m. There will be free community screenings of the Saturday concert at three Central Iowa venues: the Prairie Meadows Riviera Stage at Riverview Park in Des Moines, Johnston Town Center, and Ames’ Band Shell Park.

Tickets to the Civic Center performances are $15-$70 and are available online at or at the Civic Center ticket office.
Don't Overlook Area Rugs

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Sips and the City and Grand Tasting (Friday and Saturday 6-9 p.m.): Gear up for Winefest Des Moines’ back-to-back events this weekend at Cowles Commons and Capital Square. Get together with friends after work on Friday for Sips and the City, featuring a variety of wines and gourmet appetizers. Saturday evening’s Grand Tasting will be a night to dress up and enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared by Des Moines restaurants and caterers paired with wines from visiting wineries and importers. Get tickets online and lend a hand and volunteer if you can.

Oktoberfest Des Moines 2022 (Friday and Saturday 3 p.m.-1 a.m.):
Head downtown to 101 Fourth St. for Des Moines’ take on this annual German celebration, including bier maiden and stein-holding competitions. Prizes will go to those dressed in authentic German attire. Tickets are $17 in advance and $25 at the door.

Latino Heritage Festival (Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.): Western Gateway Park will be filled with the sights, smells and tastes of Latin America. Check out more than 20 food vendors, including La Michoacana and Sabores de Mexico. Also, take a lesson in salsa dancing, view displays from Iowa Latino artists and engage with Latino heritage at cultural booths.

Des Moines Streetstyle Open (Thursday start at 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday starts at 1 p.m.): Skate DSM is hosting the second annual Streetstyle Open at locations throughout downtown where skaters from the Midwest and around the world will compete in contests for cash prizes. View the stops and after-party locations online.

Glow Wild 2022 (Saturday 3-8 p.m.): The sixth annual Glow Wild event at Jester Park Nature Center features family-friendly fun for all ages including live music, horse-drawn wagon rides, bouldering and more. The event will celebrate National Public Lands Day. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-17).

Mixed Media (Friday 7:30 p.m.): Mixed Media will kick off the Civic Music Association’s 97th season with a concert at Sheslow Auditorium on the Drake University campus. The saxophone quartet is from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. Tickets are $25-$60 and available online.
Banned Books Week: The ACLU of Iowa recognizes Banned Books Week this week, noting the increased number of book challenges nationwide. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. The books challenged the most were by or about Black or LGBTQ people. A list of books that have been challenged in Iowa is available online.
Iowa artists in Paris: Indigenous violinist, composer and producer Geneviève Salamone of West Des Moines will play original music for multiple Paris Fashion Week events next week. Her performances will also work to raise awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis. Three Indigenous female business owners from Iowa will join Salamone in Paris: Alicia Velasquez, an Iowa City-based designer and jeweler; Jenni Machir a photographer, model and owner of Farmhouse Studios in West Des Moines; and Yvette Webster, owner of the venue Baqara in Newton.
November/December dsm unveiling: Join us as we unveil the November/December issue of dsm magazine on Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Iowa Culinary Institute on the DMACC Ankeny campus. Attendance will be limited, so don’t dawdle: Register here to attend.
Hunger Action proclamation: Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation Sept. 14 declaring September as Hunger Action Month, citing the high numbers of people who are food insecure in Iowa, and the effects food insecurity can have on a person’s health, education and the economy. Reynolds called on Iowans to fight hunger and food insecurity by volunteering and donating. Business Publications Corp. and its publications, including dsm and ia magazines and the Business Record, began their Iowa Stops Hunger campaign in 2020 to raise awareness of food insecurity in Iowa and inspire action to combat it.
Harper is a 4-year-old golden retriever whose mom, Anne Gaer, took her to enjoy Yappy Hour at the Surety Hotel Courtyard. Harper’s soulful eyes and beautiful red coat drew plenty of attention. Photographer: Joe Crimmings

Where to Go to Drink With Your Dog

Writer: Lisa Holderness Brown

We adore our dogs. Actually, we’re obsessed. During the homebound months of the pandemic, pet ownership skyrocketed to an estimated 70% of U.S. households, and pet spending increased 35% in the past year. Luckily for all puppy pawrents in Greater Des Moines who want to pal around with their dogs in public, there are plenty of playful choices.

Because of changes in the Iowa Administrative Code in 2021, now any restaurant or bar can have pet dogs (not just service dogs) on an outdoor patio. Here’s a spotlight on some of the newest places to drink or dine with your furry best friend. Continue reading on
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