This Italian restaurant is being resurrected, and it's coming to Windsor Heights
Sound Like A Pasta Expert: Impress your friends, family, and the waiter.
An Italian restaurant that closed in October 2016 is making a comeback almost two years later. It will be serving its most popular dishes in a new location at 6611 University Avenue Windsor Heights.
Blue Tomato Kitchen, formerly located at 860 1st St., West Des Moines, is being given new life in the 50-seat space that once housed Saison Kitchen + Bar. But Saison isn't closing completely. Saison Pub will remain on one side of the building and Blue Tomato Kitchen will serve often-requested Italian specialties like pasta and pizza in the main dining room.
Based on popular demand, husband-and-wife owners Sara Hill and David Baruthio made the decision to turn the modern atmosphere of Saison Kitchen + Pub into a more family-friendly space.
"We decided to go in this direction because clearly it was what people wanted," Baruthio said. "It just makes sense for us to do that. It's what we did with Blue Tomato from the very beginning."
Saison Pub and Blue Tomato Kitchen each have their own entrances, but Baruthio said the menu has been combined so that the dishes can be enjoyed on either side, whether you're watching a game or dining with family and friends. Saison Pub kept the bar the same with its games, high-top tables and TVs.
Executive Chef Wallace Fanklin Jr., formerly of Whiskey House in Ankeny, is heading up the menu's rebranding. He has plans to bring more vegan and vegetarian options to the menu in the weeks ahead.
Baruthio's children inspired him to open Blue Tomato, noting the foods they eat every day in France, which includes a lot of pasta and pizza and other easy, unpretentious Italian-style dishes.
The menu features all of the more popular items from Blue Tomato's repertoire, like Graziano sausage penne with marinara, cream and Parmesan ($14.95); the spaghetti carbonara with bacon, egg, cream and Parmesan ($13.95); and the chicken piccata with lightly breaded sautéed chicken breast, white wine, butter, capers, Parmesan, fresh herbs and spaghetti ($14.95).
Appetizers range from house-cut Parmesan fries with aioli ($4.95) and mozzarella sticks with marinara ($7.95) to a Bacon + Blue Caesar salad with bleu cheese, hard-boiled eggs, romaine lettuce, creamy Parmesan dressing and croutons ($8.95 for a side salad; $12.95 for a dinner salad). A shareable antipasti platter with pickled veggies, olives, prosciutto and salami is also available ($14.95).
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Pub Bite options like fish and chips, made with beer-battered Atlantic cod with french fries and garlic aioli ($15.95) and a bacon cheddar Angus burger served with fries and aioli ($11.95). Look for a classic Iowa tenderloin sandwich and a Greek chicken pita, as well.
Blue Tomato's hand-rolled personal-sized pizzas are also making a comeback in various topping combinations ($13.95 each; $1 for each additional topping). Vegetarian options like Margherita pizza with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and red sauce along with goat cheese pizza with red onions make an appearance. For $2 more, enjoy a specialty pizza like the carnivore pizza with bacon, Graziano sausage, salami and pepperoni.
Children under 8 years of age accompanied by an adult eat for free, with a choice of buttered pasta, cheese pizza or chicken fingers ($3.95 to $4.95).
Italian wines by the glass and bottle will be featured to complement the classic Italian dishes on the menu. But a full cocktail bar is available along with Coke products for non-alcoholic soft drink choices.
For lunch, Baruthio said there will be a more time-saving express formula for the menu, full of quick pasta and salad options. The pub side will not be open for lunch, but on Saturdays, a pop-up French bakery will operate from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. where fresh pastries, croissants and tarts will be offered.
Sunday brunch will be served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A private room seats 16 people and a covered outdoor patio offers additional seating during good weather.
In November 2016, Blue Tomato Kitchen moved its menu to the Prime Land & Sea location at 1261 Eighth St. in West Des Moines. Prime Land & Sea closed at the end of summer last year.
Blue Tomato Kitchen and Saison Pub
Location: 6611 University Ave., Windsor Heights
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays. French bakery pop-up at Saison Pub: Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Contact: (515) 279-0114; Facebook
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