Tony Lemmo and Phil Shires (the culinary team behind Cafe di Scala) joined forces with Lisa Hutchins and Katie Lemmo to open Host in April of last year in the old Flour location at 1220 Locust Street. The concept was comfort foods prepared using products from local farmers who practiced "sustainable and health conscious methods." The restaurant was only open for weekday lunches and then hosted themed dinners and private events at night.
The decision was made in late December, though, to close the restaurant's doors. However, the restaurant's management group wants the public to know that Host still exists; they are just shifting their focus to catering private events. Here is a letter to the restaurant's fans that was shared on the Host's website and Facebook page just a few days ago:
Hello Host Friends,
As you may have heard, Host closed their doors for Lunch and will focus exclusively on hosting private dinner events at our current location and a blossoming catering business. While the decision to close our doors to lunch patrons was an emotional one, it was not a difficult one as private events and catering have accounted for a majority of our business.
We would like to thank all of our devoted followers who visited Host not only to support a locally owned business, but also support the community of Farmers and Artisans we proudly displayed within our mission of serving “Simple, Lovable & Sustainable Comfort Food”.
That being said, we will be looking for a new team to take over the space located at 1220 Locust as we plan to focus exclusively on catering long-term. Until then, you can experience Host by us catering your special event, booking a custom dinner party in our dinning space or attending our next Host Harvest Dinner on which will be held on Wednesday, February 6.
We hope to see you soon & please pass the word!
Tony, Katie, Lisa & Phil
The group went on to announce the menu for the upcoming Host Harvest Dinner that will be held at the restaurant on February 6 at 7 p.m. The dinner will be $50 per person for a 5-course meal with drink pairings. Reservations can be made by contacting Host at (515) 288-2935. Here is the event's menu:
Curried chicken on fried whole wheat tortilla chips with scallions and select La Quercia meats and Iowa cheeses with pickled summer vegetables
Drink Pairing: Adami Prosecco
Carrot bisque with tarragon crème fraiche
Drink Pairing: Millstream John's White Ale
Roasted winter vegetable with whipped chevre, toasted pine nuts and pear reduction
Drink Pairing: Peace Tree Red Rambler
Panko and dijon encrusted chicken breast over creamy risotto and roasted brussels sprouts
Drink Pairing: Peace Tree Blonde Fatale
Nutella & chocolate mousse in pizzelle basket with cherry and port sauce
Drink Pairing: Millstream Back Road Stout