DES MOINES, Iowa — Like many local restaurants, Harbinger, located in Des Moines closed at the beginning of the pandemic. As a fine dining restaurant, the owner, Joe Tripp, said transitioning to carryout orders didn’t fit Harbinger’s business model.
“We definitely rely on local produce and local meat vendors to put a certain product on the plate that I don’t think translates well in a to-go box,” Tripp said. “So ultimately we’re about service and making people feel at home. And since we lost that part of our business, it seemed better to just kind of try to refocus it rather than force it into a to-go box.”
Tripp said well before the pandemic he had been wanting to open a more casual restaurant and was looking for a second location.
So instead of forcing Harbinger into a to-go restaurant, the Des Moines native created an entirely new service, called Basic Bird, a carryout restaurant serving Korean fried chicken.
According to Tripp, Basic Bird has been very successful.
In fact, the Korean eatery has not only helped fund Harbinger’s reopening and saved key employees’ jobs, but also servers that were let go last year will be back when Harbinger opens next month.
“We’ve always wanted to reopen. Doing Basic Bird is definitely going to be something that we move forward to in the future as we look for space for, but ultimately everyone here is passionate about service and about hospitality and about what we put on the plate,” Tripp said. “So we’re looking forward to being open, for the first time in over a year and being able to offer that again.”
Harbinger will reopen on May 11th. Tripp said Basic Bird will be available at Harbinger every Sunday.