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Spaghetti Works owners say “perception of crime” in the area forced them to close




On Tuesday, KCCI spoke with some Spaghetti Works customers who were upset to find the doors locked to one of their favorite downtown restaurants. “I think it’s sad that it’s going. I didn’t know it was,” said Lana Parrott. “I’m sorry to see it close. It’s been here for years. I started eating here about 43 years ago.” Gary Parrott said. It’s the end of an area for one of the first major Court Avenue restaurants to open its doors. but after 45 years, the owners of Spaghetti Works say times have changed.”It’s very difficult. We’ve been discussing this for the last three years,”[ads1]; said Shelly Stokes, the president of Spaghetti Works. Stokes said her two Omaha-based Spaghetti Works restaurants weathered the pandemic downturn. The Des Moines restaurant never did. The restaurant was permanently closed on Monday. Now more than 50 employees are out of a job. Stokes blamed the shift on more stay-at-home office workers in downtown Des Moines. She also said the perception of crime in the Court Avenue area kept customers away, which led to the closing.”There is a perception in the Des Moines area that Court Ave. is not safe. I don’t agree with that perception,” Stokes said .Des Moines City Councilman Josh Mandelbaum is aware of this crime perception. That’s why the city hired a consultant last fall to come up with new solutions for Court Avenue.” In recent years, there have been a lot of shootings around several Court Avenue bars. And a solution to put up security fences a few years ago didn’t fit well with Spaghetti Works owners.” You have to change people’s mindset, and this is the mindset they’ve had for the last two or three years. It’s going to be an uphill battle,” Stokes said. The city of Des Moines hopes to get a look at the consultant’s report soon. Spaghetti Works is considering selling its space to a future business — perhaps another restaurant.

On Tuesday, KCCI spoke with some Spaghetti Works customers who were upset to find the doors locked to one of their favorite downtown restaurants.

“I think it’s sad that it’s going. I didn’t know it was,” said Lana Parrott.

“I’m sorry to see it close. It’s been here for years. I started eating here about 43 years ago,” Gary Parrot said.

It’s the end of an area for one of the first major Court Avenue restaurants to open its doors. but after 45 years, the owners of Spaghetti Works say times have changed.

“It’s very difficult. We’ve been discussing this for the last three years,” said Shelly Stokes, president of Spaghetti Works.

Stokes said her two Omaha-based Spaghetti Works restaurants weathered the pandemic downturn. The Des Moines restaurant never did. The restaurant was permanently closed on Monday. Now more than 50 employees are out of a job.

Stokes blamed the shift on more stay-at-home office workers in downtown Des Moines. She also said the perception of crime in the Court Avenue area kept customers away, which led to the closing.

“There is a perception in the Des Moines area that Court Ave. is not safe. I don’t agree with that perception,” Stokes said.

Des Moines City Councilman Josh Mandelbaum is aware of this crime perception. Therefore, last autumn the city hired a consultant to come up with new solutions for Court Avenue.

“We need to revitalize the Court Ave. district. We need that diversity of experience so everyone feels comfortable there,” Mandelbaum said.

In recent years, there have been numerous shootings surrounding several Court Avenue bars. And a solution to erect security fences a few years ago did not sit well with the owners of Spaghetti Works.

“You have to change people’s mindset and this is the mindset they’ve had for the last two or three years. It’s going to be an uphill battle,” Stokes said.

The city of Des Moines hopes to get a look at the consultant’s report soon. Spaghetti Works is considering selling its space to a future business — perhaps another restaurant.



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