'Fuel up' at this new restaurant in the Wellmark YMCA off the downtown Des Moines skywalk
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A new restaurant recently opened in downtown Des Moines serving a variety of fresh, healthy meals — and it's accessible by skywalk.
From the husband-and-wife team that brought you Beefcake Fuel in West Des Moines just more than a year ago comes Fuel’d Café, located on the lower level of the Wellmark YMCA at 501 Grand Avenue.
"You don't have to be a member of the YMCA to come in here and dine," said Cassie Rodish, 39. She owns the restaurant with her husband of 17 years, Brad, 40.
Brad said that since it is located next to a gym, it would be a great option for people for pre- or post-workout meal options with no additives or sugars.
Right now, a limited menu of wraps, sandwiches, avocado toast and acai bowls are available, but the menu will expand quickly in the next few weeks to include salads, flatbreads and entrees. Most items will cost around $7-8.
"We like to take something that we like to eat and then break it down to its basic ingredients, switch things up and make a healthier version," Brad said. "We love the creative side of it. We like to come up with new and weird things that nobody has ever thought of before."
- Buffalo chicken-stuffed sweet potato with green onions and a side of steamed veggies
- Hawaiian flatbread with marinated grilled chicken and pineapple
- Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan mac and cheese
- 6 homemade acai bowls with assorted toppings like granola, bee pollen, local honey, nuts and berries
"We do very clean eating," Cassie said. "We go as far as making our own seasonings and our own sauces. And the big thing about this location is we have a dual kitchen. They just mirror each other."
Fuel'd boasts a sizable kitchen compared to Beefcake. A vegan kitchen is on one side and a traditional kitchen is on the other, so there is no cross-contamination of animal products onto the plant-based side.
Brad said to look for the vegan menu to expand in the months ahead. The kitchen can also handle any dietary restrictions like food allergies and sensitivities.
About 75 percent of the menu is similar to the menu at Beefcake Fuel, but Cassie said Fuel'd will focus on more grab-and-go items whereas Beefcake is more of a sit-down restaurant with a meal prep kitchen. The line of avocado toasts are unique to the Fuel'd location.
Be sure to bookmark these frequently updated special dining features:
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- The 2019 West Des Moines restaurant list
- Steakhouses of Des Moines: 2019 Edition
Crews at Fuel'd have been working feverishly to get the café open in time for the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series. And they made it — Fuel'd had its soft opening on Wednesday, March 6.
But during the soft opening, the wall of windows facing the pool was taped up with black plastic to reduce the glare for sports photographers. A grand opening is planned for the near future.
"People can see the $30 million view then," Brad said.
Five years ago the couple started doing meal prep plans and nutrition consultation for clients and have expanded from there. Customers looking for the same plans can email the restaurant through its website.
"We also have an app coming out in about a month," Brad said. "People who work near the skywalk can place an order on their phone and then show up and their meal will be ready to go for them. Our goal is to make it quick, make it fast and make it high quality."
Brad said when the Farmers' Market in downtown Des Moines opens up, they will get a lot of ingredients from local farmers.
The two met as servers at an Outback Steakhouse about 20 years ago. They traveled around from store to store and landed in Omaha for a short time.
After Outback, Brad worked in the auto industry for 15 years while Cassie ran a home daycare and was a professional mixed martial artist for six years.
The two moved to Des Moines in 2003 and now live in Waukee with their children.
Location: 501 Grand Ave. (first floor), Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.