Vibes Kitchen & Bar opens a new patio space in downtown Des Moines

Two years after venturing into restaurant ownership, one Des Moines partnership is hoping to bring new life to a well-situated patio bar downtown.

The team behind Rico’s at Drake opens Vibes Kitchen & Bar at 1303 Walnut St. on Friday. The Grumpy Goat Tavern previously occupied the space, but the owners of Vibes envision taking the space in a different direction.

“When you come in here, we want to send that message of, ‘Hey, new owner, new team, new concept,” said Vibes floor manager Tony Truong. His sister, Thi Truong, and his nephew, JaRon Crews, in partnership with Rico and Elma Gafford, are the owners of the new business.

Those new vibes begin at the door, where a bright neon “Vibes” sign greets customers and a backdrop of greenery carries through into the lounge’s interior.

Vibes Kitchen & Bar part owner Elma Gafford and floor manager Tony Truong pose for a photo at the restaurant.

Velvety green stools flank a long bar and tables, and the fanning leaves of birds of paradise plants line the booths. Greenery arrangements in recycled Patron bottles from Rico’s decorate the tables. Large parties can rent a separate party space with games and its own garage door that opens to the adjoining sidewalk. The bar back opens to the east-facing, covered patio for dual indoor and outdoor service.