Fabric swatches and color cards give a hint of the rich decor planned for Bubba.
Fabric swatches and color cards give a hint of the rich decor planned for Bubba.

By Wini Moranville

I thought I was merely looking forward to the upcoming opening of Bubba-Southern Comforts, but now that I’ve toured the work in progress with owner Chris Diebel, I can hardly wait. Unfortunately, I’ll just have to, as the projected opening date has been moved to late July.

I can see why it’s taking so long: The restaurant will be housed in the former site of the Raccoon River Brewing Co. at 10th and Walnut streets, and rather than making a few tweaks here and there, the building has been pretty much gutted to the studs. What I saw was mostly cement and dust, but Diebel’s descriptions of the chandeliers, swags, sconces, wood trims and accent rugs heightened my enthusiasm.

Clearly, this isn’t going to be another bare-bones, industrial-hip, hard-edged spot. Check out the materials board pictured above, which shows swatches from Bubba’s gracious and gentlemanly color scheme.

Expect one of the coolest lounges in Des Moines. “Many local restaurant bars are simply areas where people wait for a table,” Diebel said. “I want people to come and enjoy the lounge itself.” He explained that the goal is to reinterpret the Southern parlor with a modern twist: upholstered furniture, tufted leather couches, wing-backed chairs, all arranged in conversation clusters to encourage patrons to sit a spell.

Equally enticing will be Bubba’s robust bourbon and rye collection. The bar will serve creative twists on the mint julep, in dashing pewter julep cups, of course.

The menu, overseen by executive chef Jammie Monaghan,will encompass the South’s greatest culinary hits–fried chicken, pimento cheese, chicken-fried steak, po-boys, shrimp-and-grits and more.

Keep up with Bubba’s progress at bubbadsm.com.

Wini Moranville covers food and dining for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food – DSM Wini Moranville.

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