New Burger Joint, Parenting in the Pandemic, Big Momma's Catering
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October 13, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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The new delivery-only George's Burger Joint will specialize in updated classic-style burgers and sides.


Writer: Wini Moranville

With patio season winding down, George Formaro was seeking ways to offer dining-at-home options that would allow the Orchestrate team to “use the resources we have, meet the current challenges due to the pandemic … and do something fun.

To this end, Formaro, chef-partner at Orchestrate Management, teamed up with Derek Eidson, executive chef-partner at Django, for a new concept: George’s Burger Joint.

The menu is inspired by the great hamburger stands Formaro remembers visiting as a child on road trips with his family in the 1970s. Of course, this being the 2020s, each sandwich will be gussied up for today—e.g., caramelized onion on the patty melt, not-from-the-can ahi tuna on the tuna melt and Graziano mortadella instead of bologna for the fried bologna sandwich. Homemade tots, hand-cut fries (even duck-fat fries, if you’re so inclined), assemble-at-home ice-cream sodas with bottled pop and gelato—you see where this is headed. Fun indeed!

Another specialty: crackly, bubbly-crusted deep-fried apple pies, akin to the hotties served once-upon-a-time at McDonald’s (before McD’s changed their hot-pie modus operandi). To come up with the perfect version, Formaro “went down a rabbit hole,” doing the kind of deep culinary-archeological dig he did when perfecting burger buns for Zombie Burger and biscuits for Gateway’s breakfast sandwiches.

Which is to say, I think we need to try the pie.

Set to open later this week, George’s Burger Joint is a delivery-only operation serviced through GrubHub and DoorDash. Don’t even try to find it: Its home will be in whichever one of Orchestrate’s kitchens is available on a given day.

Keep track of the new venue’s progress on Facebook at George’s Burger Joint.
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"Schitt's Creek," backyard chickens, cat memes. Puppies, John Mulaney, golf bloopers. Those are just some of the things that make dsm team members laugh. And don't we all need to laugh as much as we can these days? As Lord Byron said, "Always laugh when you can; it is cheap medicine." We agree, completely. So what makes you laugh? Let us know, and your response may be shared in an upcoming issue of dsm magazine. Email us at by Oct. 22; until then, we'll leave you with George Carlin's advice to laugh often, laugh loud, laugh long.
Deidre DeJear, a local business owner and dsm contributor, will serve as the moderator for the "Parenting in the Pandemic" virtual discussion Thursday.


Our second iteration of the dsm Lifting the Veil: Life Interrupted by COVID-19 series begins at noon Thursday, with a virtual discussion called "Parenting in the Pandemic." Because parenting has been upended these past several months, this free event will feature tools and techniques to maintain your own well-being while managing uncertainty and stress. Three expert panelists, guided by local business owner and dsm contributor Deidre DeJear, will lead the conversation:

Breanna Young: Licensed mental health counselor and supervisor of the MercyOne Psychiatry Residency Clinic at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines.

Dr. Kelli Hill:
icensed child/adolescent psychologist and director of clinical services for children and adult clinical staff at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.

Rev. Lindsey Braun: Minister
of vitality and outreach at Plymouth Church.

Register for the free event here.
Daron and Andrea Reddick opened Big Momma's Catering in April 2020, serving up all kinds of food for all kinds of events. Photos: Big Momma's Catering.


Writer: Karla Walsh

"OK, girl, you can’t just wing it or eat fast food anymore,” Andrea Reddick remembers telling herself after she had her first of three sons, Aiden, 10 years ago.

Until then, she had relied on a steady diet of fast food and “winging it,” but now she wanted to experiment in the kitchen to help feed her family—and herself. Things really kicked into gear, though, after she graduated from the leadership development master’s program at Drake University. Once she didn’t have classes or need to study for hours each night, she’d experiment in the kitchen up to seven times each week, all while sharing photos and recipes on Facebook to inspire friends and family.

“I wanted to encourage them to be brave in the kitchen,” Reddick says. "I’d answer questions from people about how to make dishes, then others started asking me to just cook for them.”

Even though Reddick had a full-time job at Wells Fargo, she and her husband, Daron (nicknamed Bubba), decided to launch Big Momma’s Catering in April 2020.

“We didn’t think it would go anywhere very quickly, but thought we could set the base during the pandemic and practice,” Andrea says. “But things accelerated really quickly.”

In the past five months, they’ve whipped up everything from charcuterie to brunch to chicken wings for bridal showers, school functions, celebrations of life, Sunday dinners and birthdays. Soul food, birria tacos, lasagna and charcuterie boards are among the top sellers so far, and the Reddicks have a Thanksgiving menu planned as well as future pop-ups.

While the pandemic has certainly created some additional challenges, it also offered an extra dose of clarity, Andrea admits. “Life’s too short to be working every day and not fulfilling yourself,” she says. “My aim is to share food that will inspire you to flash back to childhood—just like what grandma made. I named it Big Momma’s because I imagine I’m going to be that amazing grandma that always bakes them cookies. Something that makes you feel like you’re back at home."

Follow Big Momma’s Catering on Facebook to learn more, place an order and be among the first to know about future events and menu additions.
In Iowa Stage Theatre Company's fall season, Artistic Director Matthew McIver has focused on stories that are relevant to the times, including "Tuesdays With Morrie," the stage adaptation of the best-selling book.


Iowa Stage Theatre Company is in the business of storytelling. While its core model—performing onstage in front of a live audience—has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, the organization is still charging ahead with new ways to tell those stories, virtually. Artistic Director
Matthew McIver said performing this fall was a crucial goal for Iowa Stage Theatre, as it provides a distraction from the uncertainty in the world.

"For us to connect and share, not just a phone call, but a physical viewing of each other and match a face to a name, that's really powerful," McIver said on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast. "If we can find ways to continue to tell stories in this space, that's what's important to us."

The fall season continues on Oct. 20 with a live stream of "Tuesdays With Morrie," the stage adaptation of the best-selling book about a sportswriter who reconnects with a college professor who is battling Lou Gehrig's disease.

McIver believes "Tuesdays With Morrie" is the perfect story for today, as millions around the world have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We thought it was important to recognize that so many people are facing illness, and the end of life, and having to connect with their loved ones through conversations like this, over the phone," McIver said. "We wanted to try to connect with those kinds of experiences that people are having right now with this story, which is incredibly moving."

You can find out more about "Tuesdays With Morrie," including how to buy tickets, here. Listen to the full podcast episode here. You can subscribe to find more interviews like this at Apple Podcast, Google Play Music, Spotify and more.
The conservatory at the Des Moines Botanical Garden will reopen tomorrow.


After closing its indoor spaces because of COVID-19, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden will reopen its conservatory, gardeners show house, art exhibition space and shop tomorrow. The outdoor gardens reopened in July and will continue to be open through the fall, weather permitting.

To ensure social distancing, attendance will be capped and guests will follow a one-way path through the conservatory. Masks are required for guests age 2 and over. General admission tickets must be purchased in advance. Members and those participating in free admission programs do not need advance tickets.  

“As temperatures begin to dip, we know our community depends on the Botanical Garden for a warm, beautiful retreat—and we know that this year, the respite the Garden provides is more important than ever,” Mary Sellers, interim president and CEO, said in a statement.

The Botanical Garden's hours are changing, too. Beginning Oct. 19, the Botanical Garden will be closed on Mondays. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
A complete list of guidelines and frequently asked questions can be found here.
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