Restaurant Week, Fresko, Events Go Virtual
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August 18, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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A new dsm Restaurant Week participant this year, R I Restaurant, has been serving take-home meals during the pandemic, including this salmon, risotto and roasted carrots dish.


Now more than ever, dsm is excited to present the 13th annual Restaurant Week, 10 days of meals and deals starting this Friday, Aug. 21.

As events and activities throughout the city have been forced to change in response to COVID-19, so, too, has Restaurant Week. With the goal of elevating and celebrating our city’s dining scene, this year’s event will give restaurants additional flexibility, with dine-in and carryout options and the freedom to create a menu that works for them. Dine-in dinner menus will range from $30 to $35 per person, while carryout will be $30. Lunches, both dine-in and carryout, will be $15 per person.

Eateries were just starting to reopen when we produced a special section in the July/August issue of dsm magazine, but we hope these stories serve as an appetizer to what's ahead for Restaurant Week. dsm writers Wini Moranville and Karla Walsh shared some of their most memorable dining experiences over the past year, from sensational sweets (canelés, anyone?) to the best burgers. And in an insightful and moving essay, Wini reminisces on 40 years of Des Moines dining.

For the list of this year’s participating restaurants, please visit the Restaurant Week website: Then plan your 10 days of feasting as you show support of your favorite restaurants. And try some new places, too! As Wini sums up so perfectly: “If we expect a city of great restaurants, it will be on us to show up—with gratitude and in full force.”
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Fresko shared this mystery creation on Facebook, hinting that it might make an appearance as a chef's special after the new East Village restaurant opens in the next few weeks. Photo: Fresko.


Writer: Wini Moranville

As a chef told me a couple of years ago, “Farm to table isn’t the headline anymore.” That is, any good restaurant should by now be sourcing fresh, local, seasonal food as much as possible.

So when I was talking to Erick Brown, executive chef/managing partner of Fresko, I had to ask: What is the headline for this new fresh-focused farm-to-table restaurant? How will it distinguish itself from the other local venues already doing great work in this genre?

The answer? Size.

For starters, the menu will be huge: “We’ll have 76 core items on our menu,” Brown says. Choices will include everything from burgers, sushi and street tacos to French toast and Wagyu beef.

But, he says, it’s the far-reaching features that will especially set the menu apart. Rather than being pigeonholed into any category of food, the features, especially, will span the globe. “One day it might be Italian or Mediterranean, then we’ll move into something Indian or South American or Mexican.”

Good ingredients, however, will be the foundation of everything: “We want to focus first on where the food itself comes from,” Brown says. “Then, we’ll figure out how to present it.”

The space itself will also be vast: Located in the Federal Home Loan Bank Building (909 Locust St.), which underwent extensive renovation in 2018, the dining room will seat 245, with additional seating for 70 for private parties. Sounds like we have another downtown hot spotalong the line of Centro, Bubba and Americanaon the horizon. 

Fresko is part of the same restaurant group that includes Louie’s Wine Dive, which has locations in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas in addition to Des Moines. The goal, Brown says, is to “test the waters in a smaller market [Des Moines],” and then possibly expand Fresko other areas.

Brown hails from St. Louis, where he’s lived and worked all his life (save for a stint at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona). His 20-plus years of experience includes long stints at the esteemed Cardwell’s at the Plaza in Frontenac and the St. Louis Racquet Club; he most recently helmed his own culinary consulting firm.

Brown wouldn’t commit to an opening date, but he estimates that a limited menu should be available by the end of this month.

Keep up with Fresko’s latest developments on their Facebook page.

In normal times, the Iowa Pork Lawn Party brings people together for a large picnic with food, wine and fun. This year, because of COVID-19, the event is both virtual and socially distant (depending on your preference). Photo: Iowa Pork Producer's Association.


Greater Des Moines arts, culture and charitable organizations are changing some signature events due to COVID-19. Here are some of the recently announced changes:

Iowa Pork Lawn Party: Winefest Des Moines' annual Iowa Pork Lawn Party will be a hybrid this year. Participants can either take the meal and wine home or head to the Salisbury House lawn for a socially distanced picnic.

Each Winefest pack will include one can of Jasper Winery white, red and sangria wines, two cans of Exile Brewing Co's Ruthie beer, and some favorite Iowa State Fair foods (two pork chops on a stick, two bacon balls, two salads on a stick and one cup of cookies). Tickets are $75 for two, $150 for four and $225 for six. Pickup is 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30.

Jazz, Jewels and Jeans: Oakridge Neighborhood is partnering with Noce on its virtual event, Jazz, Jewels and Jeans, An Evening at Noce. Featuring the Max Wellman Quartet, the show will be streamed live on YouTube and Facebook on Friday, Sept. 11, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Big Blast Gala: The Science Center of Iowa is celebrating its 50th anniversary with its virtual Big Blast Gala, 6:30-8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28. The live event will feature entertainment, speakers and activities throughout the evening, including a virtual silent auction. Tickets are $50.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton is one suffragist who stands out for local artist Mary Kline-Misol, who created this portrait for the exhibit titled "Battle for the Ballot."


Today marks a century since the 19th Amendment was ratified, allowing women the right to vote. Artisan Gallery 218 is hosting an exhibit showcasing works from three artistsMary Kline-Misol, Nancy Briggs and Marybeth Heikesthat celebrate the anniversary.

Kline-Misol's collection, called "Battle for the Ballot," consists of 19 portraits of women who were pioneers of the cause, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells. "For each portrait, I immerse myself and try to channel that particular individual,” Kline-Misol says in this dsm magazine story on the exhibition. “Often, while I’m digging into one woman’s story, I stumble upon my next subject since they helped each other reach the goal. There were thousands of women who put their energy into this, so it was challenging to narrow it down.”

Briggs' "And Yet, They Persist" consists of seven ceramic busts of women who strove to obtain civil rights for women, including Alice Paul, Edna Griffin and Carrie Chapman Catt. Each piece has a name carved on the side and an inspirational quote. "Votes for Women" by Heikes features acrylic collages memorializing suffragists.

The "19th Amendment Centennial Celebration Exhibit" will be on display through Nov. 10.

"Symphony on a Stick" was originally performed in 2015 but has been brought back multiple times in the five years since. Photo: Des Moines Symphony.


This week would have been the final week of the Iowa State Fair, and the Des Moines Symphony is fittingly bringing back "Symphony on a Stick." Performed in 2015, the score celebrates the sights, sounds and attractions of the Iowa State Fair through music and original cinematography.

The symphony will make the show available at 7 p.m. Thursday on Facebook, YouTube and the organization's website. From the butter cow to the lights of the midway, food on a stick and more, you'll get to experience all your favorites in this multimedia celebration of an Iowa classic.

    Local volunteers and vendors are serving daily meals to food-insecure community members. Photo: Central Iowa Shelter and Services.


    The city of Des Moines, Central Iowa Shelter and Services, Urban Dreams and local restaurants have joined to provide $350,000 worth of food to food-insecure Iowans during the pandemic and in response to the derecho last week.

    The Emergency Food Distribution program is funded from a larger pot of COVID-19 relief funds, which was allocated to a variety of community necessities in early May. Local vendors, including Hy-Vee, Latin King, Palm's Caribbean Cuisine and Big Red Truck, will serve at various locations through the end of this week. You can find the full schedule here.

    Language interpreters are available by calling the Iowa COVID-19 English Language Learner (ELL) Help Line at 877-558-2609.

    Iowa Stops Hunger is a yearlong Business Publications Corp. initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.

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