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A new fast-casual restaurant in Johnston offers healthy wraps, bowls, salads and "shake-ups" for people who are looking for a healthy meal option.

The Health House, located at 8481 Birchwood Court in Johnston, opened on Monday in the 6,000-square-foot space that formerly housed an Okoboji Grill.  

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Each dish at Health House is unique. Diners can customize build-your-own orders with a variety of proteins, vegetables, sauces and dressings.

"Our concept is 'premium fast casual,'" owner Rick Davis said. "You build your food like you build your house." And that means diners go through a six-step 'building' process.

Building the house

  • Step 1: Pick the lot: Choose either a wrap, bowl, salad or shake-up, meaning all the ingredients are shaken together.
  • Step 2: Lay the foundation: Choose your base, such as house rice, superfood salad mix, romaine mix or black bean salsa.
  • Step 3: Frame the walls: Choose your protein like pork tenderloin, Brazilian picanha steak, hormone-free chicken, Argentine red shrimp, ahi tuna, salmon, and vegan items like succotash and chorizo. Fish can be used for poke-style dishes.
  • Step 4: Interior decorate: Pick three veggie or cheese options like asparagus, edamame, feta cheese and Colby jack.
  • Step 5: Add the furniture: For $1 extra, add premium toppings like egg, bacon, guacamole or sour cream.
  • Step 6: Dip in the hot tub: Have your creation dressed or drizzled with homemade sauces and dressings like acai vinaigrette, ponzu, house barbecue, balsamic vinaigrette or Thai peanut.

Dishes start at $6.99 and go up from there, depending on the protein and the toppings. 

Rick Davis, a Des Moines resident, has worked in mortgage banking for 20 years — 13 of those in the metro. Even though he has been the custom lender of over 2,300 homes in the Des Moines metro, he has decided to throw his hat into the ring of restaurant ownership.

"I've been trying to eat healthy for longevity," Davis said. "It's right up there with sleeping properly."

Davis said it was his goal to bring a healthy dining option to that part of town. 

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Smoothies with plenty of protein are available ($6.99), as are Coke products ($2-3), premium coffees ($2-5) and kombucha ($5-6). There's even draft beer and wine ($4-16). Desserts include bite-size snacks and soft serve — açaí sorbet, protein frozen yogurt or a swirl of the two served in a bowl and topped with granola, berries, nuts and dark chocolate chips ($6). 

Davis hired two veteran Des Moines chefs to run the kitchen: Ben Smith, 26, and William Rutherford, 40. The two can put together food for nearly any diet — keto, paleo, vegan and vegetarian. Everything is made from scratch, even the sauces like sugar-free ketchup and side dishes.

An in-house nutrition consultant, Dominick Carapella, will help customers fine-tune meal prep plans according to individual needs for convenience. Food is packaged according to the person's plan to be enjoyed for a few days of worry-free eating. 

Other spaces in the 60-seat restaurant include private rooms that accommodate 12 and 25, along with a patio that will seat 40 more.

Davis said he plans to teach 'lunch and learn' classes in the private rooms for people who take his consultation courses on real estate or retirement plans. In fact, Davis has reserved 800 square feet of the building to meld his classes with healthy food, named Right Size Housing.

Diners can order online and pick up their orders inside, use the drive-through or have food delivered using a delivery service.

Davis said he will launch a "cheat day brunch" menu on May 1 that will include egg dishes and griddle favorites. A grand opening is in the works for the weeks ahead.

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Health House

Location: 8481 Birchwood Ct., Johnston

Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 410-9699;; Facebook


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