We’ve always had a passion and appreciation for flavorful foods – but the true allspice story was born just recently. Having prepared thousands of delicious dinners with good friends in our kitchen, and enjoying wonderful chefs through our notoriously frequent restaurant visits in Des Moines and around the world – we finally decided it was time to share our passion for great flavors by bringing the freshest and widest selection of culinary herbs, spices, oils and balsamic vinegars to Central Iowa.
Allspice is a 100% local and family owned business created by Alexander and Jennifer Rhoads (with great help and input from daughter Greta), longtime Des Moines residents. Alex is a self-professed foodie, but he was a foodie stuck in a decidedly non-foodie profession. So, after much thought and consideration, Alex made a significant career change and allspice was born.
For Alex, there’s nothing better than the thrill of the hunt in tracking down new products, learning about new ways to cook with old favorites and sharing that with others (including writing 300+ spice descriptions on our labels!). He’s dragged the family to spice shops across the country and around the world to see what’s new in the centuries old spice trade – including visiting a tiny shop right out of Dickens on London’s Portobello Road, and giving Jennifer turn-by-turn directions to a famous Australian spice shop in Syndey.
When it came time to find a location and design for the allspice store in Des Moines, we knew that it had to be in the vibrant East Village where we are surrounded by other wonderful, locally-owned shops. After many months of planning, we opened in September, 2010 with Iowa’s first olive oil and balsamic tasting bar, as well as 300+ herbs, spices, flavor extracts, chiles, blends, and fabulous salts and peppers.
In addition to all these fine ingredients, what we really try to do is help you bring great flavors to your table. Food, cooking, and flavor are our passions. We love all kinds of food, from haute French cuisine to aromatic Indian specialities to smokin’ BBQ out back. We’re not trained chefs and we know when to step out of the way and let the Pros from Dover take over (check out our workshops and demonstrations by local chefs). But we also know that there’s nothing better than a great home-cooked meal (try my mother’s sauerbraten). Bottom line: we just love food and the gemütlichkeit created by cooking and eating together. We hope you’ll join us by tasting the allspice experience with us!
-Alex, Jennifer (& Greta, too!)
Special thanks to Substance Architecture & Connie Wilson Design