On Des Moines’ south side, peppers grow as freely as turf grass. Italian-Americans here eat them like candy. They can and freeze them. They put them in sauce, on pizza or in eggs, fry them up with olive oil and potatoes, or even spread them on bread as an alternative to peanut butter. Among all the pepper love, a really good one stands out. An immi...

While many restaurants try to entice customers with the next new thing, I have to respect the timeless allure of Noah's Ark, an old school Italian-American eatery that's been slinging classic pasta and pizza for nearly 70 years.   The restaurant was started in 1946 by Noah Lacona, a man who wanted to introduce pizza to Des Moines. His busine...

The Italian American Heritage Festival of Iowa is now accepting vendor applications for our 2013 festival to be held July 26-27, 2013 at the Western Gateway Park in Downtown Des Moines.   Vendor applications will be accepted through April 15, 2013.   To be a part of this year's festival, please fill out the 2013 Vendor Application For...

I'm calling Luigi's Italian Restaurante a Des Moines underdog. And, in my book, it's already won a royal title: Move over and share the Italian throne Latin King and Baratta's. Luigi's is an underdog mostly because of location. It is adjacent to a mobile home park on one of the city's busiest streets.   A median forces south-bound...

Viva L'Italia: the Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa will take place on Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26 in Des Moines' Western Gateway Park. The fifth annual event will run from 11:00 a.m. Friday until 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning and from Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning.   This year's Viva L'Italia w...

by C. Acevedo Marino's is a mom-and-pop spaghetti joint with a solid command of old-fashioned Italian fare. In that respect, it earns three stars. But Marino's deserves five huge stars for its virtuoso dessert: the gorgeously luscious, worth-a-trip tiramisu.   Owners John and Ellen Marino moved the longtime restaurant earlier this year...

A very popular flip chart at our past festivals has been the Wedding Album Display. Some of the pictures in the large album date back to the early 1900′s and others are more recent. The first album is complete and we are now gathering photographs for a second album flip chart.

Thank you to all of the volunteers and attendees of the 16th annual St. Joseph Altar Celebration, held at the Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa on March 18th and 19th, 2013. Doors opened at 5:30 PM on Monday, March 18th. Msgr. Frank Chiodo, pastor of St. Anthony parish in Des Moines, blessed the altar following the children's "tupa tupa" (k...

The Italian American Heritage Festival enters its second day in Gateway Park on Saturday. Italian entertainment and cuisine are highlights of the fourth annual celebration.   "With more space than ever before, we have added additional entertainment acts, expanded our cultural exhibits, enhanced our activity offerings to include everyone in...

by C. Acevedo   If restaurants were baseball pitches, Mezzodi's would be a lob straight down the middle — no tricks or curves, just familiar Italian-American fare done well. To find Mezzodi's, head to Fleur Drive — the restaurant is right by Fleur Cinema and a short distance from the airport.   They updated the menu but kept one...