CEDAR RAPIDS — A staple of the Des Moines food scene is headed to the New Bohemia District.
Full Court Press, the company behind Fong’s Pizza in downtown Des Moines, plans to bring the pizza restaurant to NewBo by early May, company President Andrew Massoth told The Gazette Tuesday.
The NewBo Fong’s will occupy the space vacated Friday by Betas Restaurant, formerly known as Bata’s, 1006 Third St. SE.
Fong’s menu is infused with Chinese food twists such as Crab Rangoon and General Tso’s chicken pizzas, as well as more traditional pizza joint fare.
Full Court Press opened the first Fong’s in a former Chinese restaurant in Des Moines’ downtown Court District. They kept the Chinese decoration and added a tiki bar.
The NewBo restaurant will be similar in style and menu to the downtown Des Moines location. There also will be an emphasis on locally made craft beer, Massoth said.
Massoth said Full Court Press has had its eye on Cedar Rapids for a while.
“It’s our type of market where we’ve had success before where it’s on the rise but still has room for some other exciting concepts and not a duplication of something else that’s right in the immediate area,” he said.
Massoth said he and his business partners see the NewBo area as similar to Des Moines’s downtown and East Village districts. When Full Court Press opened its first restaurants in Des Moines, he said it was a gamble, but the city’s growth followed.
“In the end, what we always said about Des Moines is there’s always only going to be one downtown. The suburbs, you can do well for a while, but they jump around in popularity whereas downtown eventually becomes where it’s at if there’s enough effort by the city and different entrepreneurs,” he said.
Full Court Press operates a number of other restaurants primarily in the Des Moines metro area, including Buzzard Billy’s, el Bait Shop and the Iowa Taproom.
The Fong’s in Cedar Rapids will mark that restaurant’s third location, including the one in downtown Des Moines and one in Ankeny.
AN UPDATE ON BETAS
The owner of Betas closed that restaurant Friday as he prepares to open a new restaurant in Marion. On Tuesday, owner Joel Kane said gift cards purchased for use at Betas will be valid at his new restaurant, which will be called Lost and Found.
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