An hour before free meals were to be distributed, the line of cars spilled out of the parking lot of Baratta's Restaurant and onto South Union Street.  The restaurant was shut down for the day until 3 p.m. Employees were focused on one goal: Make enough food for more than 1,000 people. On Monday, the Italian restaurant served 300 family meals, each...

The coronavirus took the game away from Lisa Birocci Banse in early March. The Des Moines native had flown to Guatemala from her home in State College, Pennsylvania, to play in leagues there. The Iowa softball legend is a member of the Italian Olympic national team. “I wanted to pitch some games and get some live at-bats,” Banse said. The virus had...

If you stuck at home looking for something new and different to explore, this weekend would be the perfect time to take the plunge into the opera world. It's possible you may have heard a famous aria, which is part of an opera, and haven’t even realized it. Arias can pop up when you least expect them to, in unusual places like commercials or movies...

Five dollars at the Iowa State Fair goes further than you think. Know the right stand and a snow cone, some cotton candy, a strawberry shake, a ride down the big slide or even an order of X-Treme Balls (pork tenderloin balled up on a kebob with pickles and onions) will only cost you a Lincoln. But all the Scarpino family wanted for their $5 was a s...

The 10th annual Italian Heritage Festival is taking place in Western Gateway Park this weekend. Hundreds have already filter through the festival, enjoying Italian classics like pizza, pasta and sangria. There are more than 20 vendors at this year’s festival, along with music and family-friendly activities. Additionally, there is a wine and beer ga...

Des Monies City Councilman Joe Gatto will run again for his Ward 4 seat this fall, he announced at a kickoff event last week. Gatto first joined the council in 2014, winning a special election for the seat. He won his first full four-year term in 2015, running unopposed. He'll face at least one challenger — ToyA Johnson, a former libertarian candid...

A popular Des Moines restaurant that closed unexpectedly in March will be reopened by a local restaurateur at the end of summer. Sambetti's, located at 1430 Second Ave. in Des Moines, was purchased by Steve McFadden, owner of the local Grumpy Goat Tavern chain with four locations, Tipsy Crow Tavern in downtown Des Moines and Mickey’s Irish Pub & Gr...

It had been a while since my boyfriend and I had been on a let's-get-dressed-up date, and I was looking forward to going back to one of the first restaurants we'd visited as a couple: The Cosi Cucina Italian Grill in Clive.  The last time Andy and I dined here, the tables were packed, and they included a few teenagers heading to a homecoming dance....

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE – November 7, 2019 And join our Honorary Chair Pat Civitate for our 5th Annual Fundraiser Dinner “An Evening in Puglia” benefitting the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa. We will be featuring the diverse and rich cuisine from the Apulian Region known for burrata, taralli, orecchiette and of course some incredible wines!...

Upon arriving at this unassuming establishment, it can feel as if you have stepped right into a companion’s residence. The simple color scheme and non-glitzy nature of Baratta’s truly fit the south-side neighborhood that surrounds it. My friend and I stopped in on a recent weekday and were seated at the multi-room venue in less than a minute. What...