Des Moines Couple Cooking Up Early Success Opening Diner in Pandemic

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Nestled along Ingersoll Avenue, a new diner in Des Moines is serving up burgers and a dose of nostalgia.

“The old laminate tables and chairs are kind of like how we used to grow up back in the day,” said customer Kevin Moreland.

Based on Saturday’s grand opening, the vintage feel at Lachele’s Fine Foods has potential for future success. “I kind of envisioned we’d have this nice little diner and yesterday showed me I have a little monster on my hands,” said Cory Wendel, co-owner of Lachele’s Fine Foods.

The signature smash burgers were a smash hit. “We went into the day with 250 patties and we ended up adding another 75, so we did about 325 cheeseburgers,” said Wendel. The fandom caused the business to run out of food and close after just six hours. “We ended up doing 160 pounds of French fries, which is what essentially shut us down,” Wendel said.

In a time of uncertainty, it was one of the few temporary or indefinite closures not linked to COVID-19. “We are only 1,100 square feet, so that’s kind of an amazing feat. My staff did the best job they possibly could have. It was great,” said Wendel.

The business was back open Sunday for brunch. “I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting,” Moreland said. Driving from Waukee, Moreland says he understands the hype. “It was great. I think he is going to do very well here. Very warm, very inviting, and the food is spot on,” said Moreland.

Lined with old family pictures from locations across the state, Wendel hopes patrons get a welcoming feel upon entering. “I knew what I needed to put in here was a sense of family and community, and we wanted to get it back to the old school. Our food is simple, it is classic,” said Wendel.

Getting a green light from family to open your first restaurant in the middle of a pandemic and Iowa winter is not ideal. Wendel says it’s all in the name. Lachele is his wife and co-owner. “I told her I wanted to start a restaurant during a pandemic and she told me I was crazy and I said ‘I’ll name it after you’ and she said ‘OK,'” Wendel said.

It’s a family-owned business that hopes to bring the community together, one bite at a time. “I want them to feel warmth when they walk in the door,” said Wendel.

Lachele’s Fine Foods is located at 2716 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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