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dsm Restaurant Week includes more than 40 restaurants, each creating special dishes for the occasion, including this peach panzanella wiith blueberry-prosecco vinaigrette at Vino 209 Wine Cafe in Valley Junction.


It’s back—bigger, better and, dare we say, tastier than ever! That’s dsm’s Restaurant Week, Aug. 16-25.

Bigger? Forty-four participating restaurants, the most ever.

Better? Restaurant Week opens this year with a fun kickoff event  from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in Town Square Park, located in the District at Prairie Trail, 1500 S.W. Main St., Ankeny. The District is home to eight locally owned restaurants, ranging from Mediterranean and Mexican to pizza and sushi. The event will feature many of their appetizers as well as complimentary wine and beer, plus the introduction of a signature drink called District Sangria. The Max Wellman Trio will keep us all entertained. We hope to see you there!

Tastier? Our photo sessions confirmed what we suspected based on our sneak peek at the menus—a week of exceptionally flavorful meal choices.

And of course we’re keeping the best aspects of past Restaurant Weeks:
            • 10 days of specialty meals and special deals.
            • $14 for a lunch.
            • $28 for a three-course dinner.
            • A $600 prize-package drawing (enter by submitting receipts; see details here).

Many restaurants will offer both lunch and dinner; some are just offering lunch or dinner, but all are excited to host you and share their latest and greatest.

Craving more details? Visit to learn more, including a list of participating restaurants, and follow the fun on and on Instagram (#dsmrw2019). We also have a handy app (search "dsm restaurant week") and are tweeting while we eat at (@DMRestaurantWk).


Whether you want to hike, bike, golf or swim, Edina is the perfect blend of fun in the sun. With so much to choose from, the hardest part will be deciding what to do first. Need a few ideas for your itinerary? You can’t go wrong with these popular destinations... Read more »

Jacob Demars has become known for his detailed, experimental food such as the beet presentation. According to Demars, when R I opens, they'll start with an a la carte menu (first courses, entrees, desserts). Once settled, they'll add multicourse tasting menus.


By Wini Moranville

"Opening my own restaurant has been my dream since I can remember," says Jacob Demars. "As a young cook you talk every single day about opening your own place."

His time has come. Demars, who has cheffed locally at Marlene's and Trostel's Dish and also produced his "Open Circuit" branded pop-up dinners, is taking over the space recently vacated by Baru 66.

He is naming his place R I Restaurant. The R is for Rockport (Massachusetts), where he's from, and the I is for Iowa, where he landed in 2017.

"R I will be the story of where I started and where I am now, and everything in betweenall the experience that came with that," he explains.

The "in-between" he speaks of includes a restaurant career that began when he was 13 (he's 31 now), and includes stretches in Denver as well as in Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago, including Spiaggia, Elizabeth and Juno (he rose to executive chef at the latter venue).

R I will be driven by various techniques he's mastered through the years (e.g., fermenting, curing, different ways of puréeing), and inspired by the kind of high-end three-Michelin-star places you find in Chicagobut without the high-end price tag.

"There are restaurants where you can't get into the door unless you pay $300 a person," says Demars. Conversely, at RI, starters will cost $8 to $10, and his goal is to keep the entrees under $30.

"We want an upscale-casual restaurant, where you can experience different types of techniques and food, yet feel relaxed about what you're eating and what you're payingand leave the door satisfied," he explains.

He's currently revamping the restaurant's decor. No precise date has been set, but he expects to open sometime this fall.

Keep up with R I on Instagram (@RIRestaurant) or on Facebook (@RIRestaurantIowa).

Activist Dolores Huerta, who will be in Des Moines Sept. 20, says that the "great social changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized and took direct action. It is this right that sustains and nurtures our democracy."


We always look forward to the Chrysalis Foundation’s aptly named "Inspired" luncheon, and this year is no exception: Legendary American labor leader, civil rights activist and feminist Dolores Huerta will share her experiences and insights Sept. 20 at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown.

Now 89, Huerta in 1962
was a co-founder, with Cesar Chavez, of the National Farmworkers Association, which three years later became United Farm Workers. Through her work with the UFW over the years, Huerta has organized workers, negotiated contracts, and advocated for safer working conditions and health benefits for agricultural workers. She’s also worked as a lobbyist and has been active in efforts to elect more Latinos and women to political office.

Among the numerous awards she has received are the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in the United States, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.

The "Inspired" event is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes lunch. Tickets, $75 per person or $60 for those age 35 and younger, are available by clicking here. The Chrysalis Foundation funds programs and organizations focused on the safety, security, education and economic empowerment of Central Iowa girls and women.

Chris Isaak's music and lyrics demonstrate two aspects of his style: As he says, "I have a big voice and some twisted ideas."


The distinctive voice of Chris Isaak will fill Hoyt Sherman Place tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 14). Isaak is known for his his ability to merge a powerful crooner-type voice with flavors of '50's rock and rockabilly, A bandleader as well as a singer/songwriter, his career spans four decades, producing 12 studio albums with songs such as "Wicked Game," "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" and "Somebody’s Crying." Get tickets here.

Violent Femmes: John Sparrow, Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie.


Like your music outdoors? With a variety of great performers? Consider this week's concert at Water Works Park, featuring Ben Folds, the Violent Femmes and Savannah Conley. The amphitheater show starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 (gates open at 5 p.m.). Tickets, starting at $35, are available here.

The park's Lauridsen Amphitheater will fire up again Sept. 7 with country music by Cody Johnson with Mark Chesnutt and Jacob Bryant.

Country singer Luke Bryan performs at the State Fair on Friday.


Oodles of free concerts as well as Grandstand shows continue at the Iowa State Fair, which sadly must end  Sunday, Aug. 18. Shows on the free stages range from country singers Terri Clark, Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss to rocker Steven Adler of Guns n' Roses to Iowa blues legend Bob Dorr. For a list of performers, locations and showtimes, click here. Grandstand option? Click here for information about headliners including Foreigner, Luke Bryan, and Pentatonix, then closing out with Hootie and the Blowfish. For information on all aspects of the fair, visit
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