dsmWeekly: March 23, 2022
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March 23, 2022

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The buttermilk fried chicken at Tupelo Honey brings a fresh dose of Southern comfort food to Des Moines.

ICYMI: New Restaurant Tupelo Honey Now Open

By Karla Walsh

When I asked chef Eric Gabrynowicz—four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, executive chef and vice president of culinary at Tupelo Honey—which dish on the menu was his personal favorite, he laughed, paused and called his mom to mind.

His mom, he tells us, was on a diet most of her life and would try to re-create comfort foods with lighter twists. One of the most disastrous meal makeovers? An ultra-dry meatloaf. Luckily, Gabrynowicz’s bourbon-glazed, peppercorn-crusted, full-octane beef and chorizo meatloaf is in a totally different class—and is now not only the chef’s own favorite, but a bestseller among Tupelo Honey’s 19 locations. It was one of several highlights on the tasting menu a friend and I snacked our way through at a preview tasting at the downtown Des Moines location, which opened yesterday.

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar was started in the early 2000s in Asheville, North Carolina, with an eye toward farm-to-table cuisine in an airy, bright, Southern dining room. Throughout all of their dozen-plus restaurants, each seasonally rotating menu and design scheme is customized to fit the local scene.

By the way, Tupelo Honey owner Steve Frabitore tells dsm that he decided on Iowa’s capital city as a new home for his quickly expanding brand because the company tries to commit to cities with a lot of growth potential—and then grow with them. As a result, they have signed a 20-year lease at their local location at 665 Grand Ave., on the ground floor of the Miesblock building.

The dining room is complete with a floral mural by local artist Jenna Brownlee, colorful wallpaper that’s a nod to what it looks like to fly over cornfields, plus plenty of plants floating from edge to edge of the ceiling in macrame baskets. Adjacent to the space, a 44-seat patio will open soon. Pups will be welcome there and even will have their own separate menu.

Click here to read five recommendations on what to order on your first visit.
This year's four headlining authors for the DSM Book Festival, left to right: Dawnie Walton, Imbolo Mbue, Stephanie Land and Angeline Boulley.


The DSM Book Festival Returns

Readers rejoice! The city's annual celebration of literature, the DSM Book Festival, is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Capital Square (400 Locust St.). Programming includes author presentations, panel discussions, writing workshops and more.

The headlining authors for this year are Angeline Boulley, "Firekeeper's Daughter"; Stephanie Land, "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Way to Survive"; Imbolo Mbue, "Behold the Dreamers" and "How Beautiful We Were"; and Dawnie Walton, "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev." Walton earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2018.

Other highlights include a Just for Kids section with story times and an open play, food vendors, and a bar from Ricochet. For more details and specific presentation times, click
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“Long Day's Journey Into Night” (Friday through Sunday, hours vary): Iowa Stage Theatre Company will open Eugene O'Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” at Stoner Theater in the Des Moines Civic Center on Friday. Originally published in 1956 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1957, the four-act play portrays one summer day in the dysfunctional Tyrone family. The semiautobiographical play is widely regarded as O’Neill’s finest work. It runs through April 3. See the Des Moines Performing Arts website for ticket information.

“Singin’ in the Rain” (Friday through Sunday, hours vary): Forced to close after only two performances in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak, this production of the classic musical will reopen Friday at Des Moines Community Playhouse, with much of its original cast. For a full list of showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit the Playhouse website. To read more about the show, which runs through April 10, check out this dsm story.

All Iowa Auto Show (Friday and Sunday, hours vary): Car enthusiasts can head to the Iowa Events Center this weekend to get an up-close look at everything from extra-large trucks to luxury sports cars. The event will be held in Hy-Vee Hall; admission is free.

Improv Comedy Deathmatch 3000 (Friday, 9:30 p.m.): Teehee’s Comedy Club will present this show in which three teams of three comedians compete against one another by improvising their way through challenges. The goal? To determine who’s the funniest. Tickets are available here.

Katy Guillen & the Drive (Saturday, 8 p.m.): This Kansas City-based duo will perform at xBk, with Guillen on guitar and vocals, and Stephanie Williams on drums. Their sound is inspired by artists like Led Zeppelin and Patty Griffin. For tickets and venue information, click here.
Books for sale: The Central Library is holding its Big Book Sale through March 27. Stop by to purchase books, CDs and DVDs; proceeds benefit the library.
Wine and cheese: Winefest is partnering with the Cheese Shop for the Virtual Cheese + Wine School event April 2 at 6:30 p.m. Purchase your tickets here to gain access to the event, and pick up your two cheeses paired with two bottles of wine from the Cheese Shop on April 1 or 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Festival alert: Gross Domestic Product will return April 23. On hiatus since 2019, the festival will pick up where it left off, supporting Iowa musicians and boosting exposure of up-and-comers. A dozen performances will take place at downtown venues; Des Moines musicians include Allegra Hernandez, Bouquet, LVVMAKING, Natalie Lowe, and Us Vs Them. For more information and to see the lineup of artists and venues, visit the festival's webpage. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

Two new shows announced: Country superstar Vince Gill will play the Des Moines Civic Center July 22. Featured on the tour will be vocalist Wendy Moten, who appeared on "The Voice" in 2021. Then on July 28, actor, comedian and podcast host Tom Segura will bring his “I’m Coming Everywhere – World Tour” to the Civic Center. Segura is known for his Netflix specials including “Ball Hog” (2020) and “Disgraceful” (2018). Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. and can be found here.

Easter Meals
Hope Ministries will deliver more than 1,000 Easter meals on April 16 to people who are struggling and homebound, as well as serve a special holiday meal to those in need on-site at Hope Ministries. Volunteers are needed to help distribute and serve meals; if you are interested in helping, visit their volunteer page to register and find more information. Iowa Stops Hunger is an ongoing Business Publications Corp. initiative to raise awareness of food insecurity and inspire action to combat it. For more stories, go to our Iowa Stops Hunger website.

The path at Greenwood Park’s pond descends below water level—giving visitors a fun opportunity to view the water up close. The Greenwood Park Discovery Wetland project (1993) was a civic beautification and educational project conducted by the Des Moines Founders Garden Club. Photo: Duane Tinkey

Frederick Law Olmsted and 'Parks for All People'

Parks are certainly worth celebrating—and that’s exactly what will happen during “Olmsted 200 Week: Celebrating Parks for All People” March 26-31. Presented by the Des Moines Founders Garden Club, the event will include a range of free activities—such as horticulture talks, films and guided trail walks through local parks—at various venues. The week will conclude at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates with actor Kirk Brown portraying the life of Frederick Law Olmsted.

And who is this Olmsted? Known as the father of American landscape architecture, he was famous for designing many well-known urban parks, including New York City’s Central Park. His work continues to influence landscape and garden designers today. Olmsted (1822-1903) just might be “the most important American historical figure that the average person knows least about,” according to the Founders Garden Club.

For a full schedule, visit All events are open to the public; however, registration is required for some events.
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