St. Kilda owner plans ‘surf and turf’ restaurant in East Village

By on July 9, 2018 0

Alexander Hall is turning the success of its 2-year-old Aussie-style cafe near downtown Des Moines into a second restaurant, this time in the city’s East Village neighborhood.

St. Kilda Surf and Turf will open March 1 at 111 E. Grand Ave. in a four-story mixed-use building being constructed north of the new City Hall parking lot.

The London-born, Australian-raised Hall opened the St. Kilda Cafe and Bakery just south of the city center about 18 months ago. It has quickly become a popular spot for foodies looking for fancy avocado toast and other healthy breakfast options.

EXAM:St. Kilda nails Australian coffee concept

St. Kilda Surf and Turf will focus on fish dishes. Hall, which prides itself on offering fresh and healthy food, said the fish and chips will feature grilled fish with chips, in the Australian tradition, instead of breaded and fried fish.

“When people hear fish and chips, they think of the old-fashioned greasy kind,” he said. “Ours will be nothing like that.”

The rest of the menu will feature healthy salads with meat or seafood additions; sandwiches including a Greek souvlaki with grilled chicken, lamb, pork, beef or falafel; fish and veggie tacos; and side dishes. A brunch will be offered on weekends.

The 3,100 square foot restaurant will seat 85 people indoors and another 35 on the outdoor terrace. The space offers views of City Hall, Brenton Skating Plaza and the Des Moines River, he said.

The four-story building located at 111 E. Grand Ave.  in the East Village will be constructed using an environmentally friendly material called solid wood.

The $18 million building is the first in Iowa to be constructed with environmentally friendly solid wood.

“It’s a fantastic space,” Hall said. A large bar will run through the center of the restaurant, which will be decorated with “distressed black metal panels” that will complement the wooden ceiling, he said.

Hall and his wife, Whitney Hall, a native of Des Moines, moved from New York to Iowa to raise a family and open a coffee shop. He had created a handful of cafes in New York.

The couple opened St. Kilda on the ground floor of Harbach Lofts, a former furniture warehouse, which now has retail on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. It is at the intersection of Southwest Fifth Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

St. Kilda Cafe, named after Hall’s hometown in Australia, serves healthy breakfasts – nothing is fried. The cafe was a bigger hit than expected, Hall said.

After:Take a seat at St. Kilda, the trendy downtown brunch

After:Aussie New Yorker plans to teach Des Moines how to properly cook breakfast

Hall wanted to take the concept of a healthy, modern menu and expand it to a restaurant for lunch and dinner.

“I’ve been making coffees for 20 years, and it was time for a change,” he said.

Hall also plans to open a cafe in West Des Moines’ Valley Junction in 2020.