Beverage Lab and Tasting Room Arrive in Des Moines’ East Village

By on January 28, 2022 0

Next month, the East Village gains another dining venue from a well-established Des Moines chef.

The chef behind Table 128 plans to open 503: A Drink Lab & Tasting Room in early February.

Here are five things you need to know about Lynn Pritchard’s latest restaurant.

Who is Lynn Pritchard?

Pritchard is the chef and owner behind Table 128, an upscale modern American restaurant with a focus on seasonal ingredients and artistic presentations. The 10-year-old restaurant recently moved from its original location at 12695 University Ave., Suite 140 in Clive to relaunch as a Table 128 2.0 in Downtown Des Moines. St Kilda Cafe and Bakery took over the Clive space with plans to open in March.

The second iteration of Table 128 is still a work in progress with an uncertain opening date, Pritchard said, which is why 503 is a great opportunity to bring its longtime staff back to work after the doors closed at Clive in July 2021.

“I’m so excited to be working with them again,” Pritchard said. “That’s why this thing is going to take off, because they figured it out.”

Where will 503: A Drink Lab & Tasting Room go?

This is the third food outlet to occupy space at 503 E. Locust St. in the past year. Over the summer, the short-lived Dobré Tasting Room opened, and more recently, local hotel group Des Moines Does Things planned to launch Japanese vinyl lounge Do Not Disturb there.

After the pet store Jett & Monkey’s vacated the space, building owner Loyd Ogle worked with a restoration consultant to open Dobre tasting room in July 2021. Dobré served resurrected historic dishes in its small kitchen, but the project only lasted a few months before closing.

Nick Tillinghast, founder of the Des Moines Does Things hotel group, saw the opportunity to open a Japanese-style listening bar in the space and began work on Do Not Disturb. Tillinghast even brought Gombehr artists Mia and Colin Behr will paint a funky mural similar to that of the Secret Admirer patio.

However, progress stalled as Tillinghast focused on DMDT’s other four sites – Hello, Marjorie; Secret admirer ; Good news, darling; and Bellhop – and ultimately he decided to free up the space to Pritchard, who is taking design in a different direction.

“I’m thrilled for Lynn and her team. 503 is going to be a great addition to the neighborhood,” Tillinghast said. “The DND concept will stay in my back pocket and will be revisited when the time is better.”

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What is on the menu?

The new 503 will take a decidedly more experimental approach than the 128 board, Pritchard said. Working from the small kitchen first installed for Dobré, Kitchen Team 503 will serve casual small plates – perfect for a before or after dinner snack – at a more affordable price than Table 128.


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“We will have a maximum of nine menu items, two of which will be sweet and the rest will be savory,” Pritchard said. “There are no boundaries or definitions; the menu will be changing, seasonal, fun, exciting and very juxtaposed between hot and cooler foods.”

Of the seven savory dishes, two will come off the menu at Table 128 so that 503 visitors can get a taste of what’s available across the city. Expect to see a new menu every one to two weeks.

What will 503 serve as a drink?

Driven by Pritchard’s own journey to consume less alcohol, 503 will serve thoughtful and complex non-alcoholic beverages in addition to a standard cocktail menu.

“Over the past 12 to 15 years, I’ve seen these alcohol levels go up more and more,” Pritchard said. “If you want to go out for a night out, you can’t without drinking a sugar bomb.”

The soft drink program will serve as a healthy alternative to the social ritual of occasional drinking.

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When does 503 open?

The new 503 can only accommodate 53 people, which is considerable for the cramped interior. Diners will have a choice of bar seating, highs, lows and an indoor dining area for larger parties. However, reservations are not required.

“I want it to be a very walkable place, and I hope it’s a destination, but I also realize it’s going to be a before and after theater thing,” Pritchard said.

He hopes the cozy quarters and relaxed seating arrangement will inspire a sense of community in the space, which will serve from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Mark your calendar and get a first look at the new 503: a beverage lab and tasting room around February 8 or 9.

Elle Wignall covers meals for the registry. Join her at Follow her on Twitter @ElleWignallDMR.