New to the Agrihood
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July 20, 2022

The design+build process naturally lends itself to sustainable, efficient building and remodeling methods that reduce environmental impact, improve indoor air quality and increase energy efficiency.
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Find colorful charcuterie boards like this one, plus other fresh snacks to go, at the new Middlebrook Mercantile. Photo  courtesy of Grazing Table Charcuterie.

Build-Your-Own Charcuterie at This New Hot Spot

Writer: Karla Walsh

Hop on the Great Western Trail, head 8 miles south and you’ve landed in Cumming (population 536), one of the hopping destinations in Central Iowa on beautiful summer evenings. Beloved as a hub for bikers, the town is also home to Middlebrook Agrihood. Now, you can ride (or drive) to a new spot in the agrihood: Middlebrook Mercantile (4125 Cumming Ave.).

“We consider the Mercantile to be the social hub for the area. We have a full bar, local goods, retail wine and a patio,” says Robert Wilke, the Des Moines-based manager of Middlebrook Mercantile.

The building was constructed in 1900 as a one-room schoolhouse. (Fun fact: Former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin once walked the halls as a young scholar.) In more recent times, the building has housed three different restaurants. But since it never had a kitchen, each iteration struggled to stay open.

With this refresh, Wilke called in some help from a few friends with large followings—and zero requirements for a stove or oven. Guests can snag grab-and-go meals and snacks from the Grateful Chef straight from the refrigerator (save room for the creamy hummus), or order a beautifully curated box of charcuterie from Grazing Table. If you’re feeling creative, choose from the Mercantile’s build-your-own-charcuterie menu, which features Maytag cheeses, Firehook Bakery crackers, and a rotating selection of meats and bison summer sausages.

To wash it all down, you can choose from a menu of Oregon wines hand-picked to be unique for Middlebrook Mercantile, Wilke says. The shop partners with the Gorge Wine Co. out of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and sells exclusive labels from Windhorse Vineyard and Wheatfield Vines. Craft cocktails and beer are also available, as are some home goods, stationery, oils, vinegars, rubs and more—all created by local makers.

As a big fan of Oregon pinot noirs, I’d say that any night the Mercantile is open is a good night to visit. But if I had to make a suggestion as to when to go for your inaugural trip, make it a Friday. That night, you can swing over to the nearby farmers market and stock up on fresh produce while listening to live music. If you plan on July 29, bring a blanket: It’s movie night with a showing of the animated “Aladdin.”

Middlebrook Mercantile is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Keep up with the events, food truck schedule and current menu offerings at and on Facebook.

Drive-By Truckers are celebrating 25 years on their current tour. Photo courtesy of Hoyt Sherman Place.


Choose From Two Concerts on Friday Night

First up, country music star Vince Gill will stop at the Des Moines Civic Center 8 p.m. Friday as part of his current tour. The Grammy Award winner will perform songs from his current album, “Okie,” along with other hits from his 20-album career.

Over the years, Gill has received impressive accolades, including 18 Country Music Association awards and 22 Grammys. He also performed with the Eagles at one time, stepping in after Glenn Frey died. Now, the Country Music Hall of Famer is back on a solo tour. Tickets for the concert are  available here.

Also on Friday, the rock band Drive-By Truckers will perform at Hoyt Sherman Place following the June release of their newest album, “Welcome 2 Club XIII.” Hailing from Athens, Georgia, the group takes inspiration from a mix of genres including country, blues and even pop-punk. There won’t be a set list for the performance, so expect to hear songs from any one of their last 14 albums. Tickets are still available here.
Media & Entertainment Sale

Intelligently engineered, beautifully designed entertainment centers are on sale right now at BY DESIGN.
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"Heathers: The Musical" (all weekend, times vary): How very! The musical based on the 1989 film “Heathers,” chronicling the life and times of Veronica Sawyer and the Heathers clique at Westerburg High, will open at Stoner Theater on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The show will run through July 31. Tickets are available here.

Lani at xBk (Friday, 8 p.m.): Lani is a Colombian-American singer-songwriter based in Des Moines. She will bring her Latinx-pop sound to xBk for free on Friday as part of the venue’s “Live, Local, and Loud!” programming, which offers no-cover concerts and free livestreams to maximize accessibility to live shows. Register for a ticket here.

Improv at Teehee’s (Saturday, 9:30 p.m.): The Improv Comedy Deathmatch 3000 pits three teams of comedians against each other to perform comedy challenges. The audience judges which team takes home the title. Get tickets here.
Honorees announced: dsm magazine is pleased to announce the 2022 Sages Over 70 honorees: Ako Abdul-Samad, Iowa state representative and founder of Creative Visions; Mary Chapman, vice president emeritus, Des Moines Area Community College; Steve Chapman, retired president and CEO, Ruan Transportation; Gene Meyer, retired president, Greater Des Moines Partnership; Janis Ruan, philanthropist and community volunteer; Ivan Webber, retired attorney, Ahlers & Cooney; and Steve Zumbach, retired CPA and attorney, Belin McCormick. A reception will be Nov. 10 at Willow on Grand (6011 Grand Ave.) to celebrate their achievements. Tickets and registration details will be announced soon.

Carousel Day celebration: The Heritage Carousel of Des Moines will celebrate National Carousel Day July 25, with a free event from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be cookies, snow cones, popcorn and entertainment by guitarist Steven Kennedy and the Iowa Scottish Pipes & Drum. Plus, hop on a horse and take a free spin or two.
Wine and ballet: In conjunction with the ballet’s final performance of “Of Gravity and Light” on their summer tour, Winefest Des Moines is offering a VIP experience to celebrate the finale on Aug. 3. Enjoy a picnic dinner by Tangerine, a sparkling wine flight, special seating for the performance, a post-show reception and more. To find more details and to purchase tickets, click here.
New brew alert: Adding to Des Moines’ growing craft beer scene comes Twisted Vine Brewery (112 S.E. Fourth St.) in the East Village. Moving from its previous West Des Moines location, the brewery will have 24 taps inside, plus a dog-friendly patio with an additional 19 taps. The new location is currently open, but needs some time to brew their full Twisted Vine beer selection. An official grand opening will come in August, along with snack offerings. Check out updates and see current brews on tap on their website.
dsm Editor-in-Chief to Retire

After 14 years at Business Publications Corp., Christine Riccelli (pictured) has announced she will retire as dsm editor-in-chief at the end of the year. Riccelli began working at BPC as editor of the magazine in 2008 and was appointed editor-in-chief in 2019.

“For the past 14 years, I’ve had the immense privilege of sharing the stories of the dynamic people, places and things that have shaped the Greater Des Moines community,” Riccelli said. “I’m exceedingly grateful not only to the community for trusting us with their stories but for the opportunity to work with such a talented and creative team both staff members and contributors. I’ve no doubt the best is yet to come for the magazine and for all our products.”

Read the rest of the story in the Business Record here.
Ceramics have become a popular item among shoppers at CKD Home, says owner Courtney Kennedy. Thanks to her discerning eye, you can find one-of-a-kind mugs, bowls, plates and more. Photo: Duane Tinkey.

Local Artisans and Faraway Finds at CKD Home

Writer: Hailey Allen

When you step into CKD Home (520 S.W. Ninth St., Unit 114), a wall of vines and plants hanging just across the room grabs your attention. There’s a sense of vibrancy and growth, both from the botanicals and from the elegant collection of local handmade goods and vintage pieces arranged on the tables and shelves.

Owner Courtney Kennedy opened the shop in 2017 after seeing a gap in the local market for boho-style vintage wares. At her previous job as an interior designer for residential homebuilders, she noticed a boom in client requests for bohemian-influenced goods.

“Sourcing items for clients required our team to scour antique malls, order from online resellers or find a newly made replica from a big-box store, which defeats some of the purpose of the aesthetic,” Kennedy says.

She left that job to strike out on her own, starting the store as a place to collect the vintage pieces people were searching for and sell them locally. After touring the space on Southwest Ninth Street, Courtney and her husband, Alec, signed the lease and have been there since.

At CKD you’ll find vintage tables and chairs from estate sales in Omaha, rugs imported from Turkey, and ceramics made from Des Moines-based Blue Prairie Kitchenware, along with decorative pillows, ramen bowls with handmade chopsticks, antique candlesticks and jewelry and stationery products. “We carefully curate what we bring in, and [Alec and I] travel and source everything ourselves from auctions, estate sales, vintage fairs, even Craigslist finds,” Kennedy says.

Read more about CKD Home, and learn about another local home decor store new to the East Village in this dsm article.
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