A new pizza restaurant is now open in the historic Bricker-Price Block in Earlham
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Attention pizza lovers: A new road trip restaurant has popped up in the Iowa countryside.
The Hare + The Hound is a new eatery located at 105 S. Chestnut Avenue in Earlham. It's located on the first floor of the recently renovated, historic Bricker-Price Block.
The restaurant opened on Feb. 6 but owner Sara Hill, 44, has been spending the past few months fine-tuning the food and service. The Hare + The Hound will host a grand opening celebration May 15-18.
Hill is married to David Baruthio, the James Beard-nominated chef and co-owner behind Baru 66 at 6587 University Avenue in Windsor Heights and Bistro Nomad at 1430 Locust Street in Des Moines. Other bygone venues have included Blue Tomato Kitchen, Saison Kitchen + Bar, Prime Land & Sea and Baru at the Art Center.
Hill and Baruthio, 43, have been married for nine years, but the two met in 2006. For two years before opening Baru 66, they assisted in the opening of the first five-star hotel in Mongolia, Terelj Hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
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"That was my first entrance into the hospitality industry after the jewelry design world," Hill said. Hill graduated from Iowa State in 1997 with a degree in craft design, studying metals, fiber, ceramics and wood.
Since that time, Hill has been learning from Baruthio both at the restaurants and at home, picking up culinary pointers for her own menu at The Hare + The Hound. "I've taken all of his cooking classes," Hill said. "I have to be making things." Hill said she recently perfected her own recipe for tomatillo salsa.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner along with weekend brunch. And the menu keeps expanding. What started out as a menu of handcrafted pizzas, salads and soups has grown to include barbecue, burgers, pasta dishes, steaks and quesadillas.
- Bacon and bleu Caesar salad: Romaine lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, creamy Parmesan dressing and croutons ($9.95)
- Slow-roasted baby back ribs (half rack): Served with jalapeño slaw, barbecue sauce and french fries ($17.95)
- Graziano sausage pasta: Spicy marinara, cream and cavatelli ($13.95)
- Cheeseburger Pizza: Hamburger, red onion, pickles, red sauce, cheddar and mozzarella ($13.95)
- Hawa-Iowa Pizza: Canadian bacon, pineapple, mozzarella cheese and red sauce ($13.95)
Pizzas are Napoli style with a chewy, puffed crust. The electric pizza oven, with its revolving stone, was imported from the Morelli Forni company in Italy. This pizza oven recycles the heat and steam back into the oven and can cook full pies in a mere one minute and 40 seconds.
There are no gluten-free pizzas available at this time, but there are plenty of other options on the main menu. The restaurant makes its own dough and uses Baruthio's own olive oil, Domaine De Kalea Royaume Du Maroc.
Brunch offerings range from egg dishes like huevos rancheros with two eggs, guajillo-black beans, guacamole, jalapeño slaw, chipotle sour cream and breakfast potatoes ($12.95); to griddle favorites like chocolate chip French toast made with chocolate chip brioche and banana compote ($8.95).
Homemade desserts like white cake with Nutella frosting ($5) or chocolate cake with sour cream frosting ($5) has expanded to include dessert pizzas in apple cinnamon or blueberry-lemon ricotta ($9.95 each) and banana-Nutella bread pudding with dulce de leche sauce and vanilla ice cream ($6.95).
A full bar with creative cocktails and a modest wine list by the glass or bottle that covers all the bases is available along with assorted beers by the bottle. A few beers rotating beers will be on tap. Non-alcoholic choices include Coke products, tea and coffee.
Hill knew when she was approached by the owners of the Bricker-Price block about opening a restaurant on the first floor that it would be an excellent fit for her new concept. The restaurant has two dining rooms-one surrounds the open pizza kitchen while the other dining space is centered around a stately bar with cozy booths lining the walls. Buyable art from Olson-Larsen Galleries in West Des Moines decorates the walls.
"David and I both have an interest in Iowa small towns," Hill said. "I'm from the small town of Belmond in north central Iowa and the town rebuilt itself after a tornado in 1966 and I think a lot of small-town pride came from that."
Hill plans to get a lot of her ingredients from her father, Harold's farm in Belmond — especially tomatoes. A few years ago, she helped her father plant over 100 tomato plants and the production has gone up from there.
Hill attributes her background in making custom jewelry for clients for 10 years as a natural segue into becoming a restaurateur with her own focus.
"I found it very gratifying to talk to someone about what they wanted to have as far as a piece of jewelry, turn around and make something better than they expected," Hill said. "It’s very similar in the food world where you talk to somebody about their food or cocktail, see what they like and turn around and make something better than they expected."
The Hare + The Hound
Location: 105 S. Chestnut Ave., first floor, Earlham
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Contact: (515) 360-2109; Facebook