This popular catering company has opened a new lunch spot at the Des Moines Art Center
Make this farro salad with cucumber and mint for a filling, refreshing snack or meal. Poughkeepsie Journal
A new lunch restaurant has opened inside the Des Moines Art Center, serving lunch to art aficionados from around the metro.
Tangerine at the Art Center, located at 4700 Grand Ave., has opened its doors, serving lunch five days per week.
The modern, minimalist space with tons of natural light seats 54 inside, but during the upcoming patio season will have 32 additional seats out by the reflective pebble pool with views of sculpture and landscaping.
"Tangerine" is a product of The Tangerine Food Company, owned by lifelong friends Susan Madorsky and Cherry Madole. "We kept the name because we figured people would end up calling us that anyway since our company is Tangerine Food Company," Madorsky said. "We're the 'Tangerine Girls.'"
The lunch menu has a small — but smart — selection of soups, salads, quiche, sandwiches and a hearty burger.
The vegetable panini ($9.50), with caramelized onions, oven roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Swiss cheese and basil pesto, can have a salmon filet ($6) or a seared chicken breast ($4) layered into the mix.
A lighter dish is the lemon salmon with greens and spiced chickpeas ($13.50).
For a more filling option, Dave's Burger #1 is made with ground beef and peppered bacon with slow-roasted tomatoes, garlic-herbed cheese, cheddar and fried leeks, served with a side of new potato salad ($12.50).
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Beer ($3-$5), wine ($7-$9) and non-alcoholic drinks like teas and Coca-Cola products ($2.50-$3) are also on the menu.
Desserts range from homemade ice creams and sorbets served with cocoa syrup and a cornmeal cookie to an almond cake with burnt orange marmalade and chantilly cream ($6 each).
Another option: a sour cream pannacotta with passionfruit gelee, berries and apple crisps.
"The menu was a group effort," Madorsky said. "We wanted to pay homage to what had been done in the past in this space — with the lighter lunches — but also offer a burger."
Several restaurants have lived in the space in previous years, including eateries led by well-known Des Moines chefs Lisa LaValle and David Baruthio.
The Tangerine kitchen is run by executive chef Dave Malfara, 46, who has been working for The Tangerine Food Company since July 2018.
The kitchen veteran has been working in the industry since high school, climbing his way up the culinary ranks in restaurants like Waterfront Seafood Company, Bistro Montage, 801 Chophouse and Baru 66.
"It was my goal to bring more substance to the menu," Malfara said. "I wanted to balance the lightness with more robust items."
Desserts are created by pastry chef Kelsey McCreight Williamson, the head baker at The Tangerine Food Company.
The menu will change over the next few weeks, but there will always be low-carb, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu.
Madorsky and Madole said taking a chance on the restaurant was an easy decision.
"It really came together earlier this year," Madorsky said. "We already had a long relationship with the Art Center because we catered the Art Center gala for many years and we are supporters of the Art Center. We were already in the arts community."
The Tangerine Food Company got its start in 2007 as a catering company. It made Mainframe Studios its home base last year, providing food and beverages for its monthly Open Studio/First Friday events.
"We do all of our off-premise catering out of there," Madorsky said. The space doubles as an event and party venue, seating 350. Tangerine does several events around the metro every week.
"From bris to funerals, you name it, we do it," Madorsky said. The Tangerine Food Company handles graduations, Bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, baby showers, memorial services, engagement parties and corporate events
Madorsky and Madole have a long culinary history as pastry chefs and the two met in Des Moines. "We each have two kids in exactly the same grade, so we met at their school," Madorsky said. "We were both kindred spirits and we got to be friends."
Madorsky has been in the culinary industry since about 1980. The Cleveland, Ohio, native came to Des Moines in 1998 with her husband, a geneticist for Corteva Agriscience (formerly Pioneer). She worked at Mosaix Restaurant and JT's Fine Wines.
Madole moved to Des Moines with her husband, who recently retired from Meredith Corporation. At one point, the couple moved to New York City, where Cherry attended pastry school and received professional training.
"We are cooks first," Madorsky said. "Everyone who works here is a cook first, so we are very food-driven. I think that reflects in our customer service and the kind of customers we click with, because we really care about the food."
All of Tangerine's events are handled by a staff of 13. Many are students from the Iowa Culinary Institute at DMACC, where Madorsky was an instructor. "It's been a great way to cultivate staff," Madorsky said. Reservations are suggested.
Tangerine at the Art Center
Part of The Tangerine Food Company
Address: 4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.
Contact: (515) 271-0332; tangerinefoodco.com; email@example.com; Facebook