Pull Back

The owners were drawn to the vacant century-old grocery store in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood in Des Moines. Though the project did not seek historic tax credits, we needed to work within the local historic district’s zoning guidelines. At the same time, we balanced the owners’ desire to incorporate salvaged materials + themes from their other Smokey Row coffee shops while making the Des Moines restaurant unique.


SSA worked with owners to lay out kitchen + coffee equipment for maximum efficiency. We developed new storefront window designs that were appropriate for the neighborhood + building type but did not falsefly promote the past. We thoroughly documented, discussed + proposed design solutions ranging from site landscaping concept to interior light fixture selection.


SSA threaded the needle between what the owners wanted + what the neighborhood expected. A giant neon sign landmarks the building, with the business drawing in foot, bike, and vehicle traffic via outdoor seating, multiple entrances + a drive-through. The interior continues the fun retro feel with a long diner-style counter, funky booth and table seating, space for live music + rooms for private events.