A new kind of dining at The Foundry in Valley Junction (WDM Iowa)

This new bar/food truck emporium/hangout is something new for the Des Moines area, as far as I know. Located inside a former 1890’s red-brick rail car repair shop and iron foundry,  The Foundry’s “Hall” is both rustic and high-tech, with long wooden tables and benches but also lots of gi-normous (over 6 foot high) computerized screens on the wall that broadcast sports shows and movies as well as let you know when your order is ready.

cozy space inside The Hall

To order food from a food truck in attendance (they rotate), you go up to a computer kiosk, tap on the name of the food truck you’re interested in to get its menu, tap what you want to order, pay using a credit card (not sure if you can use cash) and wait for your name to pop up on the overhead screen and then pick up your order.  No server involved, that we could tell. At least for the food.

Ordering at the kiosk

But you do order drinks from a server.  And we bought some coffee (from downtown’s Horizon Line, which sadly was way too bitter) from a real human being standing behind a coffee cart. We went on a Sunday midday so it wasn’t an ideal time to assess the place but it did offer the makings of a fine Bloody Mary Bar. There were only two food trucks there when we visited but guessing there are more and not sure if there is a schedule.

The food can also be ordered by downloading an app for “The Hall.”

The Hall also has great spaces to hang out and play board games (also provided). Happenings including Tuesday trivia nights, Wednesday card nights and pop-up events from ballet to beer bingo to movie screenings and sports game-watching. On December 17, there’s a homemade gift market for last-minute holiday shoppers.

On tap for next year is some sort of kitchen operation that’s a nonprofit seeking to combat hunger and homelessness, plus provide skills training – so that will be interesting to see – and a distillery.

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