Aug 10, 2022 - Food and Drink

Panka Peruvian opening second Iowa location near Drake

Mural with sign of "Panka: coming soon" on it
The outside of Panka’s second location. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Mariela Maya, the owner of Panka Peruvian Restaurant along Ingersoll Ave., is opening her second location this October, "Panka Rotisserie Chicken."

Driving the news: Rotisserie chicken is so big in Peru, the country's signature dish, "pollo a la brasa," even has its own holiday.

  • Maya wants to bring the juicy, crisp-skinned dish to Des Moines in a casual restaurant setting.

State of play: Panka's second location will open in the Drake neighborhood at 3018 Forest Ave., the former location of Fong's on Forest.

Details: The preparation is what makes this rotisserie chicken different from your grocery store variety. It's spiced with Peruvian yellow pepper and marinated for 24-48 hours.

  • Maya then cooks it over charcoal in an oven she brought from Peru.

She also plans on serving "pan con chicharrón" — a pork belly sandwich with fried sweet potatoes and pickled onions, as well as "anticuchos" — a cow heart kabob.

  • "People get a little afraid sometimes to try it, but it's really good," Maya said. "It's very tender."

The big picture: Maya opened Panka Peruvian Restaurant in Des Moines just one year before the pandemic hit and vowed, "never again in my life."

  • But following the challenges —and successes — of her first restaurant, she said she's excited to broaden into another venture and show, "girls can do this too."
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