A customer thought Sirwilliam Bekish's food was good — so good, in fact, he offered Bekish a chance to grow.
And little did Bekish know, that customer already owned a free-standing restaurant. He handed Bekish the keys to his dream with new restaurant lease and a new lease on life.
Bekish, a Des Moines home caterer, is opening Sir's restaurant, which will serve a variety of American classics including soul food, seafood, comfort dishes and breakfast platters. The menu includes burgers, chicken and waffles, fried chicken and fish, and pasta dishes.
Its grand opening is at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7 A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4:15 p.m. by FuseDSM. It's a dream come true for Bekish, a Des Moines native who finally took the plunge and opened up his own restaurant after catering from his own kitchen for six years.
Bekish will tell you two things that he's famous for are his chicken and waffles and stuffed pineapples.
The signature waffles are made with Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereals, served with what Bekish is calling rippin' chicken. Seasoned, battered and deep-fried, the chicken breast is cut into strips, so it's easy to pull apart.
A soul food buffet will be served on Sundays that includes fried chicken and catfish, greens, mac and cheese, potato salad, fried cabbage and sweet potatoes.
But the stuffed pineapples are certainly showstoppers. Bekish hollows out whole pineapples and fills them with sweet and tangy rice, topped with teriyaki-grilled chicken, shrimp or steak — or all three — and layered with homemade pineapple salsa with a drizzle of Sriracha and soy sauce.
Bekish, 27, is a Des Moines native and the single father of a 7-year-old son. He lives on the east side near the restaurant.
"I'm the oldest of five," Bekish said. "I come from a troubled home and I took anything to make something. So cooking became an art. I took what we had and made the best from it. I told myself that if I can do this, if I can make something from nothing, I know I can succeed in the food business."
Bekish watched his fan base grow as he catered from his kitchen. One of those fans happened to be Greg Baker.
Baker owns the building where Papa Kerns used to be at 2905 N.E. Hubbell Ave. Financially, Bekish was not ready to make such a big jump into restaurant ownership. But Baker offered a lease anyway.
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Even after Bekish and his father, a contractor, made improvements to the building in exchange for a discount on the lease, Bekish was still unsure of where he was going to get the money to open. That's when Bekish's good friend, Andre Harris, also reached out with support. With that, Sir's Kitchen was born.
"If I've ever been second-guessing of God; that's gone," Bekish said. "Now I'm a business owner at 27 years old. I'm following my dreams, doing what I love."
Right now, Sir's Kitchen serves only nonalcoholic beverages in the 65-seat space, but a beer and wine license is in the works.
Breakfast platters at Sir's Kitchen include eggs, bacon or sausage and toast, but you can also get pancakes; loaded hash browns with ham, peppers onions and cheese; or French toast ($9.95-$13.95). Go for biscuits and gravy ($5.95), or, of course, chicken and waffles ($10.95).
Bekish said that Sir's Signature Burgers are getting a lot of buzz, especially the Hang Over Burger, made with a beef patty, fried egg, bacon and pepper jack cheese, sandwiched with a glazed doughnut ($9.95). Look for fried catfish, chicken and shrimp hoagies and Philly cheese sandwiches made with chicken or steak ($9.95-$12.95).
Wings in several flavors like traditional hot, lemon-pepper, honey-garlic and Parmesan are served with fries. Other shareable items include nachos, loaded fries and onion rings in full and half orders ($5.95-$13.95).
You can even splurge on a VIP Seafood Boil — a filling, sharable feast that includes two pounds of Alaskan King crab, four lobster tails, corn on the cob, beef sausage, mussels, red peppers and Sir's Signature Cajun Butter Sauce for $130. A more affordable version with jumbo shrimp and snow crab is $24.95. Gumbo is also available, served with rice and cornbread ($10.95).
The menu will change over time as Bekish sees what customers like and he will fine tune things as he goes along, he said. And he plans to have a wide variety of homemade desserts, so be sure to save room for some of Bekish's Caramel Twix Cake that he also makes into cupcakes.
Location: 2905 N.E. Hubbell Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; closed Tuesdays; Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact: (515) 864-9092