There's always been an eclectic spark to downtown Des Moines' 4th St., nestled between Walnut St. and Court Ave.
- Punk kids could watch their friends play at Vaudeville Mews. Newscasters made Java Joe's their home base. It's the birthplace of crab rangoon pizza.
- If the halls of The Randolph Hotel could talk — boy, what they would say.
But the pandemic came hard for the area known for its vibrant nightlife and unique entertainment options.
Driving the news: On Tuesday, Java Joe's announced its closing up shop, adding to the loss of the neighboring Vaudeville Mews from last year.
- It’s moving to Ankeny at North Ankeny Boulevard near Hy-Vee.
What they're saying: "2020, it was really slow," said Jamie Bailey, who manages Dapper DSM, a barbershop on 4th Street. "Hardly anybody was out in the street walking around."
- Things were "sketchy" last year, Bailey said, especially when the nearby office workers stopped coming by over lunch.
Between the lines: Beyond the pandemic, some residents questioned on social media if the business loss was self-inflicted by the city, as they dealt with delayed construction from the neighboring 5th Avenue parking garage.
The bottom line: "If something does come, I hope it's something cool so people can still enjoy it," Bailey said.
- "And hopefully, it's not like a law office or something."
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