Teddy Maroons on Ingersoll closes, makes way for Ames mainstay Whiskey River – Des Moines Register
Opened to much anticipation on Des Moines’ Ingersoll Avenue business strip in late 2018, Teddy Maroons is no more.
Founded under the auspices of the Orchestrate Hospitality group, the pub and bistro is now Des Moines’ first branch of the Whiskey River chain, which was launched in Ames in 2010 and established an outpost in Ankeny in 2016.
Nicki Romare, who with husband Joe founded Whiskey River, said she began talking to one of Teddy Maroon’s founding partners, Kolby Jones, early this year about the switchover. Former managing partner Chris Diebel of Orchestrate bowed out and Romare is now working with Jones in the new venture.
The switchover, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, debuted Oct. 19 after a quick but extensive makeover, Romare said.
Teddy Maroons — the name was a mashup derived from the founding partners’ alma maters, Roosevelt and Dowling high schools — occupied a dramatic, contemporary space with a patio overlooking the street at 2301 Ingersoll Ave.
“The location is amazing,” Romare said. But the feeling inside, she said, was “a bit stark.”
She said the redo, in keeping with the theme at the other Whiskey Rivers, is “cozy, really relaxed and inviting.”
Teddy Maroons fans, however, can rest assured that some of their favorites will carry over from the days under the cuisine-forward Orchestrate group, home of restaurants such as Bubba, Centro, Django and Zombie Burger. Romare said they include the entrees, which aren’t a part of the sandwich-oriented menu at the other Whiskey River locations, some sauces, salads and the popular roasted brussels sprouts.
Another holdover: Teddy Maroons’ signature Moscow mule flights.
“You don’t want to fix something that’s not broken,” Romare said.
Whiskey River’s contributions, in addition to an array of sandwiches and burgers, will include favorites from the other locations, such as the southwest Reuben and barbecue pork egg rolls, she said. Brunch will be served Saturday and Sunday, with loaded bloody Marys and mimosas.
As the rebranded location opens, heavy-duty construction is continuing on Ingersoll Avenue, where the streetscape is undergoing a $17 million makeover that eventually will extend from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to 31st Street. Romare said she is optimistic that the work that began last spring on the stretch in front of the bar is winding down. She added that direct access from Ingersoll to the parking lot behind the building has reopened, so “it won’t be difficult to get in and out.”
She said she previously had eyed Des Moines locations for an expansion of Whiskey River, which has built a solid following in Ankeny and Ames, including a No. 1 ranking on user-generated Yelp’s list of the college town’s 10 best bars.
“There have been a couple of opportunities, but they didn’t seem right,” she said, adding that the Ingersoll location “has an amazing vibe and energy.”