The theater at Hoyt Sherman Place seats 776 on the main floor and 476 in the balcony, often filled to capacity this past year.


One of our favorite gifts this year has been the ongoing transformation of Hoyt Sherman Place from sleepy to energized as an elegant and intimate venue for legendary entertainers as well as bright up-and-comers.

Executive Director Robert Warren starting shaking the cobwebs out of the place two years ago. By this time last year, Warren had doubled the number of performances (from 43 to 87) and told dsm, "I want to put Hoyt Sherman back on the relevance radar."

He has certainly met that goal. The galleries and 1,252-seat theater at Hoyt Sherman Place host more than 300 events annually drawing over 90,000 people. This year, performers have included such diverse luminaries as Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, John Hyatt and Chris Isaak.

More big names are slated in the months ahead, including comedian Kathleen Madigan and musicians Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn in February, and Three Dog Night, Jonny Lang, the NItty Gritty Dirt Band, John Hiatt and "Weird Al" Yankovic in March. Lewis Black performs in April, and the legendary Temptations in June. You can check Hoyt Sherman's calendar here, as additional acts are added.

The community value is hard to miss. Just weeks ago, nonprofit Hoyt Sherman Place received an $85,000 "cultural enrichment" grant from Bravo Greater Des Moines, funded by local hotel-motel tax revenue. 

Our clients’ home includes some lovely Tudor-style characteristics. Their kitchen, however, needed a complete remodel. ‘Before and after’ floor plans show a vastly improved main level layout, opening up the kitchen and allowing for easier access to the family’s yard and pool area. ... Read more »

By Design Furniture & Interior Design presents dsmDining —
These dishes linger in the memory of food writer Wini Moranville. Clockwise from upper left: oysters at Splash, agnolotti at Reed's hollow, ahi tuna at Marlene's, shrimp and grits at Bubba, and spring spinach at Harbinger.


By Wini Moranville

Here’s my yearly roundup of the dishes I remember most fondly from the past 12 months of great eating.

Shrimp & Grits at Bubba–Southern Comforts: Immensely rich and creamy grits are topped with plump Cajun-spiced shrimp, with two bonuses gracing the plate: a sparkling topper of tender-cooked diced collard greens, charred squash, bell pepper and onions and an irresistible drizzle of chili oil that rims the dish. (200 10th St., 515-257-4744;

Spring’s First Spinach at Harbinger: Last spring, I was dazzled by this dish of crinkly spinach, which arrived lightly wilted and slickened up with a soy-ginger vinaigrette and served with a scattering of sautéed mushrooms and a sunny, soft-cooked egg. While you won’t find this dish on the menu right now, I mention it here because it points to the finely tuned, seasonally driven work that chef Joe Tripp is doing at his new-this-year venue. (2724 Ingersoll Ave., 515-244-1314;

Ahi Tuna at Marlene’s at Sevastapol Station: Chef Jacob Demars, who took over the Marlene’s kitchen just this year, has described his food as experimental and artistic, which means he’s not going to create the same dishes again and again. Which also means that the dish I adored last summer—ahi tuna with watermelon, blueberry-beer foam and shaved toasted hazelnuts—isn’t currently on the menu. But as with Harbinger, I mention the dish here, as it is testament to the kind of thrilling and thoroughly inventive food I found at this restaurant. (1938 S.E. Sixth St., 515-288-0898;

Agnolotti at Reed’s Hollow: A bowl of fresh vegetables, mushrooms and ravioli-like pasta squares arrives looking fresh and bright, but in need of something to bring it all together. Then, as you cut into the ravioli squares, out oozes a shitake bisque, which becomes a perfect sauce for the dish. This is the kind of cuisine relevée—heightened, revelatory cooking—that chef Zach Gutweiler brings to Reed’s. (2712 Beaver Ave., 515-777-3625; Facebook: Reed’s Hollow)

Raw Oyster at Splash Seafood Bar and Grill: Oysters have become a go-to starter for me every single time I dine at Splash. I love the way the servers can tell you all about the varieties offered (the selection changes often). I love how the bivalves taste of the sea: fresh and clean and mineraly and funky all at once. And I love the way they’re brought to the table expertly shucked and chilled, surrounded in the shells with plenty of icy liquor. They are one of our city’s best examples of the attention to detail required to make a seemingly simple dish so sublime. (303 Locust St., 515-244-5686;

Creating a warm and inviting condo
My client Cheryl bought a condo to be near to family and give them all a place to hang out whenever she’s in Des Moines since she travels a lot. She asked me to come and help her pick out the furniture for her living room and nook. ... Read more »

Author Dan Gearino will be in Des Moines tomorrow to sign copies of his book "Comic Shop."


Norwalk native Dan Gearino is a business reporter in Columbus, Ohio. Previously he was a Des Moines political writer. But by night, his writing focus is on comic books. Tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 27) Gearino will celebrate the release of his book "Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture" with two events in Des Moines: a 3 p.m. book signing at Beaverdale Books and a happy hour (also with books for sale) at 515 Brewing from 7 to 9 p.m.

"Comic Shop" claims to be the first book to tell the story of the modern comic shop and its unique distribution model, the direct market. To tell this story, Gearino interviewed more than 100 major players in comics retail and publishing. The book includes a guide to 40 of the most interesting comic book stores around the U.S. and Canada and mentions Des Moines' Capes Kafe and the late Cup O' Kryptonite.

Detail of Urchin, sculptor James Bearden's cocktail table made of lengths of metal pipe welded to a metal base.


As the end of the year fast approaches, it's a nice opportunity for us at dsm magazine to reflect on some stories that have stuck with us—including reports on people who are making a difference in their fields of endeavor or in our community as a whole. Click their names to read their inspiring stories (and visit to read many more):
Thomas Ahart, the superintendent who seeks to transform Des Moines public schools.
Simon Estes, who provided such touching details of his journey to become an international opera star.
Sarah Cooper, the unassuming Urbandale woman who sets records as a cross-country "ultracyclist."
James Bearden, a local artist with a national reputation for his "brutalist" sculpture.
McKenna Haase, the inspiring Drake University student who is going places fast as a race-car driver.

All these people reflect the energy of Greater Des Moines and the fun we have at dsm, introducing them to you.

Dining well for less is easy with a "Five-Six-Seven" special at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine. Photo courtesy of Fleming’s.


Some dsm magazine stories from 2017 inspire usas well as provide very useful information. Dining stories are important to us and, based on your comments, are valuable to you. Food writer Wini Moranville is consistently excellent—insightful and carefully detailed in her coverage of local restaurants. One of our favorites this year was "Living Large on a Dime," showing you where you can find remarkable values for your dining dollars. We were also excited to bring you early coverage of the Tea Room, which returned from the ashes of the Younkers fire. And we always enjoy sharing stories of inspiring pivotal moments that shape careers and strengthen our community. Join us in 2018, here and in the pages of dsm magazine, for more of the stories we all love. Happy New Year!

We'll be singing lyrics like "Come on, babe, why don't we paint the town?" when "Chicago" comes to the Civic Center in March.


The musical "Chicago" returns to the Civic Center with five shows packed into three days, March 9-11. Tickets: $35 to $115, available here. Explore the future of other arts and cultural events with a pair of easy-to-use online calendars. We at dsm magazine and the Business Record maintain this calendar with handy filters so you can see just the types of events you're searching for. Looking for even more categories? Check Catch Des Moines.

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