Lucky Lotus, a new pan-Asian eatery on Ingersoll, tells a family's story of immigration with its food
Love Pho? Now you can make this traditional Vietnamese street food for yourself at home. There’s nothing better than diving into a warm bowl of soup during cold winter months or if you’re feeling under the weather.
A new Ingersoll restaurant with East Side origins and a pink facade is bringing Asian food to "Restaurant Road."
Lucky Lotus, located at 2721 Ingersoll Ave. in the former location of Krunkwich Ramen House, opened Friday.
The restaurant serves Laotian, Vietnamese and Chinese specialties like scallion pancake wraps, bún, pho, curries, fried rice and noodle dishes in a space that seats about 68 people.
The fast-casual restaurant features largely the same menu as Café Fuzion, a popular pan-Asian restaurant formerly located at 1240 E. 14th Street. In fact, the owners of the restaurant are the children of the owners of Café Fuzion.
Brothers, Kevin Chen, 26, and Souriyno Chen, 30, are honoring their parents, Seng, 60, and Dala, 54, by carrying on the 14-year culinary legacy of their parents, who still take part in the restaurant.
The brothers are Des Moines natives and took over the Krunkwich space in June for renovations. Kevin graduated from East High School and Souriyno graduated from Lincoln.
"A lotus is a flower and in Asian cultures, it symbolizes rebirth and regeneration," said Souriyno. "We wanted to let this new place blossom."
The dining room at Lucky Lotus is bright and airy, full of recognizable treasures from Café Fuzion. Seating options under strung paper lanterns and a painted vintage tin ceiling include banquette seating and several larger tables for groups.
New decor elements include an alcove featuring a tribute to family history using heirloom photos transformed to look like movie posters depicting their mother's journey of immigration to the U.S.
A menu board hangs near the entrance listing available dishes for dine-in and takeout. Customers order at the counter and are given a numbered table tent to let servers know where to deliver the food.
Prices range from $4 for egg rolls to $15 for Lucky Curry Fish — fried fish with red curry, bamboo shoots, bell pepper, onion and Thai basil. Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options abound.
Here are a few selections from the menu of snacks, salads, curries and stews, noodles, soups, fried rice and sweets:
- Crispy Rice Wraps (2) — Crispy coconut rice, lettuce, carrots, vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs ($5)
- T.P.C. — Taiwanese popcorn chicken ($6)
- Lucky Veggie Bún Noodle Salad — Vermicelli noodles, veggie egg rolls, tofu, nam khao (Laotian crispy rice salad), cucumber, bean sprouts, carrot, tomato and lettuce with citrus peanut vinaigrette ($11)
- Non Instant Noodles — Egg noodles and bean sprouts tosses in a sweet and savory sauce and topped with scallions, fried shallots and a fried egg ($12)
- Mee Khati — Red curry noodle soup with rice noodles, sliced cabbage, carrots, mint, scallions, cilantro and minced pork ($10)
- After School Fried Rice — Chinese sausage, eggs, peas, onions and scallions ($10)
Traditional favorites include spring and summer rolls, papaya salad, pad thai, laap, drunken noodles and pad see ew.
Desserts range from sesame balls, lotus blossom cookies and sweet rice with mango ($5 each).
Non-alcoholic beverage options include lychee lemonade, Vietnamese iced coffee, Thai tea, green milk tea (all $4) and Coke products.
Bottled beer is offered at Lucky Lotus such as Kirin Ichiban, Singha, Chang, Lucky Buddha and Tsingtao, along with red, white, and rose wine by the glass ($9-$12).
Rebirth and regeneration
Souriyno recently moved back to Des Moines after living with his husband in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I really wanted to invest a lot more in the community," Souriyno said. "And what better way to do that than to invest with what my parents built and also my younger brother and give it a new breath of fresh air."
A third brother currently lives in Chicago and also contributed to the restaurant, designing the logo and doing marketing.
"We've been around food all our life," said Souriyno. "Our family's really big into cooking and we have humongous family gatherings most Sundays making a huge feast. Food has been everything for our family."
Souriyno said it's nothing for family gatherings to reach 30 to 40 people in total.
"I want it to be a fun, hip spot for any age group to come in and really enjoy themselves and be surrounded great ambiance," Kevin said. "Stay a little while, hang out and enjoy each other's company."
The restaurant will employ nine to 12 people. A delivery service will be available through GrubHub and other services.
Location: 2721 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Contact: (515) 262-8488; Facebook