21 episodes

Pull up a chair at the Table for Two. Join Jessica Dunker, President and CEO, of the Iowa Restaurant Association, on a tour of the state and spend time with some of Iowa’s award winning restaurateurs, chefs and hospitality professionals. You’ll hear the stories, inspirations and even a few secrets, behind your favorite eating and drinking establishments. You’ll be surprised when you learn which high profile operators say they chose the industry, and which claim the industry chose them. We talk traditions and trends, tastes and tactics– with some of Iowa’s most innovative entrepreneurs. Our conversations will entertain patrons, enlighten operators, and leave everyone hungry for more. Subscribe to Table for Two on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

Table for Two Iowa Restaurant Association

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

Pull up a chair at the Table for Two. Join Jessica Dunker, President and CEO, of the Iowa Restaurant Association, on a tour of the state and spend time with some of Iowa’s award winning restaurateurs, chefs and hospitality professionals. You’ll hear the stories, inspirations and even a few secrets, behind your favorite eating and drinking establishments. You’ll be surprised when you learn which high profile operators say they chose the industry, and which claim the industry chose them. We talk traditions and trends, tastes and tactics– with some of Iowa’s most innovative entrepreneurs. Our conversations will entertain patrons, enlighten operators, and leave everyone hungry for more. Subscribe to Table for Two on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

    3. Chef Lynn Pritchard: Reopened Table 128 Lures Suburban Residents Back to Des Moines Dining Scene

    3. Chef Lynn Pritchard: Reopened Table 128 Lures Suburban Residents Back to Des Moines Dining Scene

    After a nearly three-year hiatus, Chef Lynn Pritchard has finally re-opened his award-winning restaurant Table 128. His one-time suburban destination now draws those in search of his famed farm-to-table dishes to the Gray's Landing neighborhood of Des Moines proper. He’s good-humored about the extended timeline of this highly anticipated relaunch, in part because it has given him the time needed to ensure that every detail of the new space—from the menu to the way sound bounces— deliver the g...

    • 56 min
    2. Taufeek Shah: Living the American Dream, One Spicy Drop at a Time

    2. Taufeek Shah: Living the American Dream, One Spicy Drop at a Time

    Taufeek Shah, founder of Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce, is not your typical small town Iowa boy, although he did grow up in Winthrop, Iowa. The son of immigrant parents—a Filipino mother and a Pakistani father—Taufeek was immersed in a world of diverse cuisines. Inspired by his mother's unique flavor combinations, he set out to bottle her secret sauce and then named his company in her honor. This 2023 Iowa Restaurant Association American Dream Award winner found early adoption for Lola’s creati...

    • 43 min
    1. Dave & Jean Thompson: The Legacy They Hope to Leave Behind

    1. Dave & Jean Thompson: The Legacy They Hope to Leave Behind

    In the first episode of 2024, Jessica sits down at the Table for Two with Dave & Jean Thompson, of District 36, Urban Cellar, Urban Grill and Urban on the Square and the Association's 2023 Restaurateurs of the Year. Technically Dave & Jean are in the process of retiring. The couple has turned over day-to-day operations and management to longtime employees and family but their definition of retirement is not typical. Empowering team members, creating partnership models, and giving that...

    • 48 min
    17. Chef Kevin Scharpf: A Top Chef’s Passion for the Heartland

    17. Chef Kevin Scharpf: A Top Chef’s Passion for the Heartland

    Building upon both the recognition and reputation he garnered as a standout competitor on Bravo’s Top Chef program, Chef Kevin Scharpf could have easily capitalized on his success and opened a restaurant in a major metropolitan market. But this award-winner instead stayed true to his roots—opening his Brazen Open Kitchen and Bar in Dubuque’s up-and-coming historic Millwork District. Today Chef Kevin’s seasonal menus draw patrons from across the country in search of unique dishes featuring hyp...

    • 50 min
    16. Robert Johnson: Fast and Quick are Not the Same

    16. Robert Johnson: Fast and Quick are Not the Same

    It was 1970 something when B-Bops Founder Robert Johnson and his cousin faced a dilemma. Both held car loans and had only one payment saved in the bank. They needed jobs fast and found two possibilities—one in insurance, the other at a local burger joint. Bob took the restaurant job and Des Moines will be forever grateful. He went on to create B-Bop’s, which today has a dozen locations and more on the way. His success has always focused on growing people from wit...

    • 29 min
    15. Matt Johnson: Hospitality Advocate Creating Second Chances

    15. Matt Johnson: Hospitality Advocate Creating Second Chances

    Matt Johnson is a man who has both found, and given, opportunities in the hospitality industry. A director for both the Iowa and National Restaurant Association Boards, he passionately champions hospitality-related issues—from liquor liability insurance to credit card fees. He is also an advocate for people seeking a first job or in need of a second chance. Leveraging the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, he has provided employment to members of the returning population from both sides of the stat...

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

HeatherAyala ,

Love this podcast!

I just listened to the podcast with Amy Walsh who happens to be the owner of Mickeys where I have worked for 5 years. I’ve met Jessica through her visiting us her and she is such a beautiful positive person! Listening to her speak to one of my bosses/friends made me so proud of her and where I work. Jessica got into some of the things that I think work for us so well here, one of them being that Andy and Amy can rely on us to keep this place flowing smoothly when they aren’t here.

I remember one time when Amy and Andy went to Ireland with one of our bartenders who was getting married there a customer said where are the bosses? I said in Ireland with this bartender. They said they just left you alone? I said they raised us well, we know what we are doing. They truly do find staff that just immediately meshes with us. We are all different, all have big personalities, but we all work so well together.

Amy you shined bright like a diamond in your interview! Jessica, I can’t wait to go through the other episodes. I was almost sad the one I was listening to when it was over. Two amazing strong beautiful women leaders in our state and industry. I couldn’t be more proud of either of them!

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