Photo: Connor McCourtney
Drake University students have a new place to eat in the neighborhood: Haiku. The new restaurant under West Village has its grand opening Friday.
Haiku serves sushi and a mixture of Asian cuisine, such as Japanese, Thai and Chinese.
The opening will feature a well-known Asian tradition that brings good luck–a lion dance.
Owner Ken Lin, wanted to add something different and unique to attract people to the ceremony.
“It’s something extra to put on a show,” Lin said. “It will be really different for Iowa.”
Lin had the idea to start the restaurant three years ago. He wanted something out of the ordinary that appealed to a younger age. When a spot opened under Drake West Village, he knew he had to jump at the opportunity.
“We chose the Drake area because the location was great, it was great timing and the idea matched with what the community is known for,” Lin said.
Lin wanted his restaurant to have something different than others, and he did that with a special type of lighting. He wanted a red or blue color, but when they bought the building, the final choice was clear: “Drake blue.”
“The lights bring a more modern feeling to the restaurant, something we wanted to bring to the area,” Lin said.
Lin wants Haiku to be not only for students, but also for the local community.
“There are not many places in town where you can relax and not worry about anything,” Lin said. “This is a good place to socialize and network, and you only have to walk right across the street.”
Not sure what to order? All applicants had to memorize the menu and fill in the blanks, including ingredients and prices, so they will be sure to help you out.
Michelle Markiewicz had never waitressed before, so she was worried about the interview. She said that Lin told all applicants to know the menu, but did not tell them exactly what they would be doing.
“I realize now that it’s easier to communicate with customers if you know everything that is on the menu,” Markiewicz said.
Both Lin and Markiewicz believe Haiku will be successful because of the price range and uniqueness of the restaurant. On average, a meal costs around $10.
“We definitely thought about the students during the planning,” Lin said. “You can’t expect students to pay for an expensive meal, so we made the meals at an attractive price.”
The grand opening of Haiku will take place Friday, Feb. 18. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and members from Urbandale, West Des Moines and Des Moines Chambers of Commerce.
Haiku is open daily from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. for dine-in or carryout. For more information, or to order call 515-277-6704.