Community leaders host farewell dinner for Fat Tuesday

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Community leaders held a farewell cookout for Fat Tuesday on Saturday.

After 12 years in business, the Des Moines restaurant is closing its doors due to a shortage of workers, the spread of COVID-19, and owner Steven James’ failing health.

Community leader Rob Johnson, along with others, planned the farewell event.

“This was an opportunity for us to send them out on a high note. If we’re going to go out, we’re going to go out and plateau it. We’re not going to go out at a low point,” said Johnson.

Debra Carr says she helped James start his business through a Des Moines nonprofit.

“I think about the passion that Steven James had to go out to really make his vision a reality, and it’s a bittersweet moment for our community,” said Carr.

Unfortunately, James was not at the event, but his wife, Maria James, helped run the restaurant. At the same time, his sons cooked customer meals.

“It’s just been a blessing to have everybody just support us and know that our food has made them happy,” said Maria James.

The restaurant will close on Sept. 30.

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