New: Ballet and Bar Nico
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
October 19, 2022
We create inspiring spaces for our clients while being mindful of their budgets.

Take a look at this creative use of tile to add visual interest with out blowing the budget.
We found the original hexagonal tile floor in a damaged state from a previous plumbing problem. And though we were unable to save it, the original flooring still served as inspiration for the stunning new penny round tile flooring and the subway tile on the shower... Read more.
Bar Nico’s Squash Milpa appetizer consists of roasted squash, plum slices, mustard seeds and a citrus-spiked tahini dip.

3 Can’t-Miss Dishes From the Brand-New Bar Nico

Writer: Karla Walsh

Put that Zoom meeting on mute for 30 seconds, hop on the Bar Nico website and make a reservation to dine at the restaurant, which opened yesterday. After my sneak peek of the space and the menu last week, I can verify that you won’t want to wait any longer than necessary to savor these south-of-the-border-inspired plates. Plus, manager Emily Nelson promises that the lineup will change often, so you’ll want to try these recipes while the season and supplies last.

Bar Nico (428 E. Locust St., which, in a former life, was the Continental), is a welcome, colorful and creative addition to the East Village. The menu echoes the dining room’s aesthetic: bright, fresh and modern yet comforting. This is the latest project from Jason Simon, who also created Alba, Eatery A, Motley School Tavern, and Parlor.

Chef Matt Small has been perfecting his taco strategy since early in the pandemic, when he offered them takeout-style from his kitchen at Alba. They were good then but are even better now. On Bar Nico’s debut menu, he’s showing off the best from his two-plus years of experimentation, research and travel. While produce and meats are all sourced as locally as possible, masa is flown in from Mexico, ground in-house, and transformed into tortillas for the large taco roster. Vegetables, seafood, corn and potato-based dishes are ideal for sharing, and those three-per-order taco platters are definitely sizable enough for a duo as well, especially if you want to add a dessert. (Psst … you do.)

Bourbon, tequila and mezcal star in several of the well-balanced cocktails, and Garrett Dotsch, the general manager from Alba, curated the wine list to feature fresher, lighter, delightful food pairing options. Beers and spiked seltzers are also available.

To pair with those beverages, here are my top three recommendations for your food flight:

  1. Start with the Squash Milpa ($10). Roasted squash and plum slices meet mustard seeds and a citrus-spiked tahini dip that’s somewhat reminiscent of hummus. Scoop up each zesty bite with corn chips.
  2. Savor a trio of Braised Short Rib Tacos ($13). I’ve never thought to use sauerkraut as a taco condiment, but I’m now sold on the concept. Salsa negra, pickled mustard seeds, and a side of lime, radish, cilantro and white onion complete the entree.
  3. Dive into a slice of Dulce de Leche Basque-Style Cheesecake ($9), a generous portion of the cloud-like classic Spanish dessert. Its signature dark top—no, it doesn’t taste burnt—is accented by vanilla whipped cream, dulce de leche sauce and chocolate mole crisps.

Even though Bar Nico is just on the cusp of opening, it appears to be poised to rank among the best East Village venues, bar none.

Bar Nico is open 3 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 428 E. Locust St. See for more details, book your table on Resy, and follow along with new menu additions on Instagram at @barnicodsm.

Company dancer Savannah Cox will play the role of "The Accused" during opening weekend. Photo: Ballet Des Moines.


World Premiere of ‘Salem’ From Ballet Des Moines

Just in time for the season of scares, a new ballet from Ballet Des Moines artistic director Tom Mattingly premieres this weekend at Stoner Theater in the Des Moines Civic Center. “Salem” is inspired by the infamous events of the Salem witch trials, and follows the downfall of a fictional Salem village as fear chokes the townspeople into submission.

The ballet explores the consequences of making judgments out of fear, and mistaking different for dangerous. “Salem” has references to violence, hanging and death, so viewer discretion is advised. For those brave enough to face the magic, tickets to opening weekend are available here. The show begins at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and next weekend Oct. 27-29.

High Leg Sofa Designs vs Low Leg

Five great designs that let you choose high leg or low leg. What choice is perfect for your room? Read more.

"The Firebird” (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, 2:30 p.m.): Award-winning pianist Charlie Albright will join the Des Moines Symphony to perform two concerts at the Des Moines Civic Center this weekend. Albright will perform Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” The symphony will close the evening with Stravinsky's "Firebird.” Tickets available here.

Confluence Brewing celebration (all weekend, times vary): Wish Confluence a happy 10th anniversary and a big congratulations. Beyond making it to double digits, the local brewery also recently took home a gold medal at this year's Great American Beer Festival. Celebrate on their patio, where they’re featuring live music, food trucks and 10 new beer releases. Check the schedule here.

Opening reception at Moberg Gallery (Friday, 5-8 p.m.): Spanish artist Ruben Sánchez will open an exhibit, “Human Nature,” at Moberg Gallery. The exhibit is a celebration of the human condition, about embracing imperfections and our ability to overcome difficult situations. This will be Sánchez’s first solo U.S. exhibit. Snacks and drinks will be available. Find more information here.

Rachel Eckroth, featuring Eric Thompson & Co. (Friday, 7 p.m.): Pianist and vocalist Rachel Eckroth will perform Friday night at Noce. Her newest album, “The Garden,” (2021) was nominated for a Grammy for best contemporary instrumental album. Find tickets here.

Mercantile Market (Sunday, 1-6 p.m.): Des Moines Mercantile will host a pop-up makers market in its parking lot (3707 Sixth Ave.). Find over three dozen local vendors selling handmade goods, clothing and food. There will also be live music by Andrew Hoyt and Anders & Nels Dovre. Halloween costumes are welcome.

Drake professional in residence: Musician, journalist, activist, educator and Drake University alumni Dartanyan Brown will discuss how creativity has threaded itself throughout his life and career in a multimedia presentation. “Jazz, Journalism and the Roots of Creativity: An Evening With Dartanyan Brown” will be Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Sheslow Auditorium (2507 University Ave.). The event is free and open to the public. Brown is currently a professional in residence working with Drake students for the 2022-23 academic year.
Bus shelter celebration: Meet Sheena Rose, the  artist behind the colorful new bus shelters along the Sixth Avenue Corridor, in a celebration event Oct. 28. from 4 to 6 p.m. There will be live music, free food, children’s activities and a gallery of youth-created art. Rose will also give remarks about her work, and a DART bus wrapped in one of Rose’s designs will be unveiled.
Comedy show announced: Comedian and podcaster Nate Bargatze will bring his “The Be Funny Tour” to the Des Moines Civic Center Jan. 22, 2023. The Tennessee native was nominated for a Grammy last year for best comedy album, and has appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” as well as on his own Netflix comedy specials. Tickets to the show are available here.
Musical opening night: “Fiddler on the Roof” opens at the Des Moines Civic Center Oct. 25. The original production won a special Tony Award for being the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher refreshes the stories of tradition and family in this new tour of the classic production, which runs through Oct. 30. Tickets are available here.
Author reading: As part of the 20th anniversary of the DMACC Celebration of Literary Arts, award-winning authors Charles Baxter and Lan Samantha Chang will do a free public reading tonight at 7 p.m. at Beaverdale Books (2629 Beaver Ave.).
Virtual panel: dsm is hosting another Lifting the Veil virtual event Nov. 15. This installment will focus on addiction recovery and mental health resources for adults struggling with substance abuse. Panelists include Alex Piedras, director of multicultural and community outreach, Grand View University/YESS; Cynthia Siedel-Bishop, CEO, Eyerly Ball Community Mental Health; and Juan Pablo Padilla, a mental health counselor with Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. To register to attend the virtual event, click here.
Melissa O’Neil and Aaron Thormodsen of Central Iowa Shelter & Services are working to expand the organization’s capacity to feed both CISS clients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing food insecurity. Photo: Duane Tinkey.

CISS Growing Urban Agrihood

Writer: Andrea Love

Having grown up in West Branch, Melissa O’Neil is very familiar with the farming adage, “You can’t grow land.” This was on her mind in the winter of 2017, her second year as CEO of Central Iowa Shelter & Services, when there were 234 individuals in need of shelter and only 150 emergency shelter beds at CISS. Without the capacity to help all who needed shelter, she discovered 40 people sleeping in tents in the 4-acre water retention basin adjacent to the CISS shelter, exposed to the frigid Iowa temperatures.

Also plaguing her was the fact that despite CISS adding its Mulberry Farms and Food Greenhouse in 2012 to grow food to feed clients and other food-insecure community members, the organization was spending $40,000 to $50,000 a year to purchase additional food. O’Neil knew she needed to get more people sheltered and fed and couldn’t shake the feeling that she was missing something.

“I was asking myself, ‘What are we doing? This is not working,’” she says.

She had hundreds of people in need of shelter, food and jobs. She was surrounded by a community and neighbors she knew wanted to help. And she was looking at land containing Iowa soil, some of the best in the country, yet right now it just held tents.

She was juggling puzzle pieces she didn’t know how to connect.

So O’Neil engaged Shyft Collective, a real estate design firm neighboring CISS, for a strategic planning process. The first step was gathering input on community needs from several neighborhood stakeholders, including CISS clients, staff and volunteers, small business, corporations, health care providers, and local and state government. Through surveys and focus groups, they asked what the most critical elements were for a thriving neighborhood.

“Their response,” she says, “was that we need to create a food-secure community.” Shyft ultimately created a multiphase, multiyear urban development project for the 9 acres surrounding CISS, including additional supportive housing, parks, commercial and retail space, and an agrihood.

Read how O’Neil enlisted the help of the community and Aaron Thormodsen, CISS urban farm manager and former hydroponics researcher and teacher, to make their food-secure development plan a reality in this dsm article.

Iowa Stops Hunger is an ongoing Business Publications Corp. initiative to raise awareness of food insecurity in Iowa and inspire action to combat it.

Business Publications Corporation Inc.

Submit news:
Advertising info:
Membership info:

Copyright © BPC 2022, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign