Three friends open sports bar on Ingersoll Avenue as a salute to Des Moines community
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A new "dining depot" has moved into the Ingersoll neighborhood, featuring plenty of daily specials, happy hours and kicked-up, locally-sourced bar fare.
The Station on Ingersoll opened Oct. 10 at 3124 Ingersoll Avenue in the former location of Zimm's Food & Spirits, which closed after 26 years in operation at the end of May.
The restaurant is first and foremost a sports bar, but with classic pub fare made with as many local ingredients as possible.
The clean, sleek space with Arturo Torres prints offers a variety of seating options such asbooths, high top tables, bar seating and regular tables.
Co-owners T.J. Rushing, 33, Alex Mason, 32, and Willie Dugan, 41, are equal partners in the sports-forward concept. Dugan is Mason's brother-in-law and lives in the Kansas City area with his family.
The three decided they liked the simple definition of the word "station" as a gathering or meeting place.
"We wanted to provide the Ingersoll area with a true modern sports bar, and we wanted to have really high-quality pub fare," Rushing said. "We wanted to have local food and all sports, all the time. That's the motto."
The 4,800-square-foot space seats 120, plus a private party room that seats 40. An outdoor patio will add additional seating during the warmer months.
Paying homage to the building's previous history, a framed Zimm's menu and memorabilia from The Duck Blind hang on the wall in the private party space. The building is decorated with hand-painted murals by friend and Des Moines artist Jenna Brownlee.
Mason said all sports-watching packages will be available for game-watching, including NBA, MLB, soccer and hockey, so anyone can see any televised sports event taking place around the globe.
Mason was recently inspired by a Ted Talk he watched the owner of Chobani yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya, explain his campaign of community responsibility.
"We want to emphasize our commitment to the community," Mason said. "We really want to give back. I think we've been blessed with this opportunity. It's important for us to use this platform that we have to show gratitude and give back."
On Monday, for First Responders' Day, The Station is offering free cheeseburger and fries baskets to all first responders who dine at the restaurant.
The Station's executive chef, Brian Petering, 38, is an Eagle, Colorado, native and a Le Cordon Bleu Minneapolis grad. He has a 24-year restaurant pedigree in Idaho, Kansas and Minnesota and most recently, Splash Seafood and Jethro's in Des Moines.
Brewer Meats delivers ground beef daily to the restaurant using Petering's exact specifications — an 81:19 lean to fat ratio, using Iowa Premium Beef. All the cattle is sourced from within 100 miles.
The Station gets its bread from Rotella's Italian Bakery on Des Moines' south side, and, of course, sausage and other Italian ingredients from Graziano Brothers. And there's fresh produce from Rinehart Farms in Boone and Farm Table Delivery.
"I'm trying to source as much locally as I can," Petering said.
Petering's eyes lit up as he described his Nacho Graziano appetizer, a bed of warm fried wonton chips topped with Graziano sausage, banana peppers, house queso, mozzarella and giardiniera relish — one of his favorite ingredients ($10). "Everyone in town has nachos, so I wanted to make them unique," he said.
Petering said he has always wanted to bring back classic salads like the wedge and the cobb to the menu. Another menu item Petering suggested is a seasonal burger highlighting the best in Iowa ingredients that will change throughout the year.
Other highlights include:
- Wisconsin "Kicked Up" Curds — Served with house marinara and garlic aioli ($8)
- Cobb Salad — Salad blend with chicken breast, chopped egg, tomato, onion, bacon, avocado and Maytag blue cheese ($10)
- Seasonal Burger — Iowa ground beef, local bun, giardiniera, banana peppers, Graziano sausage, house marinara and garlic aioli ($10)
- Crispy chicken sandwich — hand-breaded with tomato, lettuce or tomato in regular or buffalo-style ($9; add cheese for $1)
Burgers and sandwiches come with bottomless fries or a choice of a station salad, cheese fries or cottage cheese for $2.49 extra.
A kids' menu includes a grilled cheese sandwich, burger, dino nuggets or a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich ($5 each, served with a choice of side).
Petering said he wanted to keep the menu small and manageable to start, and he will add more dishes and desserts to the menu in the future.
A depot of drinks
A full bar is available at The Station. Eight local, domestic and import beers are on tap, and the restaurant also features assorted bottled and canned beer.
Mason came up with a list of sports-themed mule cocktails like the O'Driscoll, made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, ginger beer and lime; and the Madison Square Garden, a mix of Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint Vodka, ginger beer and lime ($6.50 each). Wine selections include red, white, and prosecco (by the glass, $5-$10; by the bottle, $35-$41).
Happy hour is 3-6 p.m. from Monday-Saturday and includes mules, well drinks and beer, but there are daily food and drink specials. Every Wednesday, all 16-ounce draughts, canned and bottled beer are $2.75 from open to close.
A station-ary friendship
Rushing and Mason grew up in the same Beaverdale neighborhood and went to high school together at Des Moines Hoover. The two met while working at the now-closed Silvestrini's Pizza at 5418 Douglas Avenue.
After the two went off to college, Rushing to Iowa State and Mason to University of Iowa and then AmeriCorps. Rushing then worked for Buffalo Wild Wings, and Mason worked for GoodSons in Beaverdale.
Rushing is also a freelance sports journalist and has written high school basketball stories and columns for the Des Moines Register, among other publications.
"It was crazy, because we were both working at our other jobs while doing this," Mason said.
Mason met Dugan seven years ago, and the three have been friends ever since. Their idea for the restaurant started coming together about two years ago, and plans solidified as soon as the Zimm's space became available. The Station employs about 35 people.
Dugan has prior experience with sports bar ownership — Maloney's Sports Bar & Grill in Kansas City — but sold his partnership and opened a data company called Lead Group.
"The three of us make a really good team," Mason said.
Rushing is married, and Mason is getting married in January in Las Vegas. Both live with their families in Des Moines.
The three hope to open other locations across the metro on Fleur Drive and Beaver Avenue, and perhaps one in West Glen.
"That's the dream," Mason said.
The Station on Ingersoll
Location: 3124 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.