All three called their staffs family and Wade Thompson explained it this way, "It was my dream to begin with and your asking people for it to be their dream too." Des Moines Register


A new restaurant group has been formed in Iowa to take its place alongside the likes of Full Court Press and Orchestrate Hospitality.

Local restaurateurs and bar owners Tom and Annie Baldwin announced on Tuesday the formation of The Dark Side of The Spoon Hospitality Group.

The group's formation brings together a diverse menu of bars, restaurants and nightclubs into one entertainment management organization. With 21 venues under its belt, it forms one of the largest independently owned and operated restaurant groups in Iowa. 

“Today’s an exciting day for our group of venues,” said Tom Baldwin, managing partner of Dark Side of the Spoon. “It’s always been our goal to entertain the world. I want to give the people what they want. The creation of this group gives us a chance to launch in many more markets. It allows us to entertain and employ more people under a unified family banner.”

The name comes from Baldwin’s nod to Pink Floyd and its iconic “Dark Side of The Moon” album. 

Dark Side of The Spoon venues

Here are the entertainment venues that fall under the newly formed Dark Side of The Spoon banner:

  • Wellman’s Pub & Rooftop
  • Wellman’s Pub Ingersoll
  • Annie’s Irish Pub (Des Moines and Omaha)
  • Hush Nightclub
  • Blu Toro Cantina + Grill 
  • The Exchange (Omaha) 
  • The Irish 
  • Shotgun Betty’s
  • 1908 Draught House
  • Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar
  • Peggy’s Tavern
  • Beer Can Alley (Omaha)
  • The Original Draught House (Omaha)
  • The Brewhouse No. 25

Although each venue will maintain its unique brand and voice, Dark Side of the Spoon together will offer opportunities for career advancement through the organization, Baldwin said, along with a larger megaphone for community service and charitable events.

“We strive to be on the cutting edge of entertainment and employment,” he said. “We want every restaurant and bar to look to our quality of service for inspiration. And we want to find out how far we can push that envelope of quality.”

The combined venues also employ over 500 people, making it one of the larger employers in the Des Moines metro. Baldwin also owns an interest in two venues in Minneapolis, Minnesota: Last Call and Uptown Tavern.

The Dark Side of The Spoon Hospitality Group's offices are located at 3939 Grand Ave. in Des Moines. Links to all the Dark Side of the Spoon family of venues can be found at

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