Restaurant News You Need To Know

Sample a small plate of Filet Mignon Wellington at Aura, a new take on American cuisine through the Wasabi restaurant group. Photo: Duane Tinkey

Writer: Karla Walsh

Food news, fast! Nope, we’re not talking about fast food chains here, but there’s a lot moving and shaking within the restaurant world these days. So to catch you up quick, here’s a rapid-fire round of what’s new and next in Des Moines dining.

Jason Simon expands his food family: AlbaEatery AHarbinger (which Simon owns in partnership with chef Joe Tripp) and Motley School Tavern are about to have a couple of new siblings. Restaurateur Jason Simon confirmed that he purchased the former Saints Pub + Patio space at 4041 Urbandale Ave. in Beaverdale. He’s also progressing with plans to transform 428 E. Locust St. (which used to be the Continental) into an upscale Mexican concept. Opening dates for both are still to come.

Basic Bird lands its own brick and mortar: No word yet on where, but Joe Tripp’s Korean fried chicken concept that has been operating out of Harbinger will soon have its own storefront. Stay tuned at for more.

Aura opens today: Jay Wang, the mastermind behind the Wasabi group and Papaya Asian Street Food, is opening the doors at his latest West Des Moines spot (12851 University Ave.) at 3 p.m. today. Read more about Aura, a new American-style restaurant, in our March/April issue. (By the way, Des Fresh Foods, also mentioned in that story, is officially open now at 550 S.W. Ninth St.)

Franka expands: Hot on the heels of the December opening of their East Village location (111 E. Grand Ave., Suite 101)—which used to house St. Kilda Surf and Turf—Franka Pizzeria, a wood-fired pizza brand, is opening a second location in the former RedRossa space in Clive, co-owner Whitney Hall verified.

Two food trucks settle into Johnston: Starting as food trucks and now adding restaurants to their fleets, Flame and Charlotte’s Kitchen recently opened brick and mortars. Cure your chicken cravings at Charlotte’s Kitchen (6150 Merle Hay Road, Johnston) and swing by Flame the Taqueria (5765 Merle Hay Road, Johnston) for a Mexican street food fix.

Ingersoll just keeps getting better: Landing its second location at 2301 Ingersoll Ave. (where BAH Brazilian Steakhouse previously lived), Thai Flavors will open soon. Watch their Facebook page for more details.

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