Aaron Byrd started Street Eats DSM six years ago. “I do everything,” Byrd says.
Writer: Karla Walsh
Photographer: Bob Blanchard
Throughout the summer, we at dsm have made a concerted effort to include a more diverse mix in our local food coverage and beyond. Sign up for our dsmWeekly email newsletter here to follow along as we highlight food businesses owned by people of color—watch for the “At the Table With …” section. To kick things off, we focused on Black-owned businesses (more to come!). Support them now and often in the months and years to come, because where we spend our money and how we use our voices matter.
1. Street Eats DSM
Known for owner Aaron Byrd’s mac and cheese grilled cheese, this popular food truck was launched on the heels of his varied career working in the restaurant industry. “I named it Street Eats DSM because I didn’t want to specialize in tacos, burgers, pizza—I do everything,” says Byrd (pictured above). “I needed the concept to be flexible.”
The truck entered the scene six years ago, and since then, Byrd has been rocking the catering and wedding circuit and serving at breweries and office buildings during lunch breaks. We might be even more excited about Byrd’s latest flight, Sugarfoot Mobile Bar, which, at press time, was expected to take off in July. (facebook.com/streeteatsdsm)
2. Coaches Kolaches
Opened by former Iowa State University and Iowa Barnstormer football player Brent Curvey, the kolaches (a stuffed yeast bread pastry) at this shop are a savory delight. For breakfast, you’ll find steak, sausage, bacon, egg and/or cheese hiding inside the fluffy dough, and come lunch, ham and sausage are on the menu. (8257 University Ave., Clive; another location was expected to open late summer in the Drake neighborhood; restaurantji.com/ia/clive/coaches-kolaches-/)
3. Fat Tuesday
While most of us are staying closer to home these days, it is still possible to enjoy a taste of the Big Easy. New Orleans-inspired Cajun fare is front and center at Fat Tuesday, where generous portions of jambalaya, etouffee, gumbo and po’ boys almost but not quite make it impossible to save room for the sides of greens, coleslaw and more. (6112 S.W. Ninth St.; fattuesday-restaurant.com)
4. Artis T’s Catering and Events
Chef Art Moore has worked in the culinary industry since he was 15. Eventually, Moore landed at Fat Tuesday, where he was lead cook and assisted with the catering division as the brick and mortar opened. Those days of stirring pots of gumbo and frying catfish helped Moore spot a hole in the market. “At the time, Patton’s [which is now closed] and Fat Tuesday were the only soul food restaurants here that were serving fried chicken, fish, red beans and rice, and chicken and waffles,” he recalls. “I wanted to offer more options that offered that cuisine, and mix in some classic Kansas City barbecue.”
So in the summer of 2013, Moore pulled together a business plan for Chef Artis T’s Catering and Events with the help of his wife, Jessica, who is the business manager. They cater and host private cooking classes, and Moore has his sights set on launching a food truck and a barbecue trailer. (chefartis.com)
5. G.G.’s Chicken and Waffles
What started as a disappointing meal turned into a business opportunity for Garrison Goodlett, owner of G.G.’s Chicken and Waffles. “In 2018, my wife and I went to the West Coast and waited in line at a famous chicken and waffles place for over an hour. My wife was getting hangry!” Goodlett says, laughing at the memory. “Once we got the food, we were like, ‘Is this it? I’ve made chicken at my church better than this.’ That planted the seed.”
In 2019, he officially launched his business and applied for a vendor spot at the Downtown Farmers’ Market, and later, at the Valley Junction market. Their worthy “cheat day” food may someday be sold in its own brick and mortar, Goodlett hopes, but in the meantime, find their upcoming schedule on Facebook (where he shares entertaining recipe demo videos) and Instagram @ggschickenandwaffles. (ggschickenandwaffles.com)
6. Wingz on Wheelz
With its fried catfish, homemade mac and cheese, and wings (naturally), this food truck is known for its comfort food. Every Wednesday, wings are 50 cents each. Feeling really hungry? You can order 100 at a time. (1817 University Ave.; find menus and more on Facebook)
7. Veggie Thumper
Vegan comfort food does exist! With creative and colorful twists on classic recipes like a Philly “Cheesesteak,” Smoky Red Bean Burger and Hot “Sausage” Open-Face Sandwich, every homemade recipe served from this food bus is 100% vegan.
Get your fix at the Beaverdale Farmers Market, Tuesdays from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and at Franklin Junior High (4801 Franklin Ave.) and Ace Hardware (4808 University Ave.) on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. (veggiethumper.com)
8. Mustang Grill
Named after the Dallas Center-Grimes mascot, this neighborhood bar and grill offers loaded breakfast plates, saucy ribs and more. If you’re craving a few fried snacks, flip to the appetizer menu and consider sharing some fried pickles, pretzel bites or crispitos (stuffed and fried tortilla rolls). (213 S.E. Main St., Grimes; mustanggrillgrimes.com)
9. Palm’s Caribbean Cuisine
Known for specialties including Jamaican jerk chicken and jollof rice, Palm’s Carribean Cuisine has been acing fusion fare since early 2020, thanks to Amara Sama, the cook and co-owner, along with his wife, Dionne Sama. Liberian and Jamaican cuisine meet in one made-from-scratch package that you can taste through catering (for groups of 10 to 150) and at festivals, farmers markets and other large gatherings.
Each menu item is based on those Sama enjoyed as a child raised on a steady diet of Liberian food cooked by his stepmom and Jamaican fare from his uncle’s kitchen. At press time, the pickup menu available at the Mickle Center twice a month included $20 preorder meals for two with one entree, two sides and two Jamaican beef patties; and $40 meals for four to six with two entrees, two sides and four beef patties. (1620 Pleasant St.; palmscaribbeandsm.com).