Must-haves at Tumea & Sons

by Tessa Leone

When I moved to Indianola nearly four years ago, I had no idea that I was moving to a town with no Italian restaurants.

Think about it, where do you go when you’ve got an intense craving for a great plate of pasta with a side of meatballs? Where can you find a sizzling plate of toasted ravioli or a steaming casserole dish of sausage cavatelli?

I grew up on the south side of Des Moines in an area known as Little Italy. There are more authentic Italian restaurants on this one side of town than there are there are in the other three sides combined.

The first Italian club in Des Moines began in 1898 to accommodate a large Italian population that lacked the language skills and confidence to join social welfare projects and organizations; since then there has always been an active and unified Italian society operating in Southern Des Moines.

Because of this ethnic concentration you get great Italian dining that you won’t find anywhere else.It kills me to know that so few Simpson students know this.

Where do you load up on carbohydrates before your track meet against Central? And where do you celebrate your great midterm grades? My plan is to share with you my insider knowledge on the treasure chest of eateries residing right in your backyard.

Etiquette tells me that I should tell you about Tumea & Sons Restaurant and Lounge first. I have worked there for the past three years waitressing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening (in case you’d like to stop in and see me sometime).

It’s located just off of Indianola Road on 1st Street. If you’re coming in on Highway 69, stay on it until you reach Indianola road and turn left. Follow this road past the Italian Cultural Center (the building with the huge color mural) and continue on until you reach 1st Street.

Take a right and within a few blocks you will see Tumea’s on the right-hand side.

They are open for lunches from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and dinners from 4:30-9 p.m. They’re open weekends from 4:30-10 p.m.There is always a Tumea brother on sight either cooking or bartending and they love to see new faces (if you get a chance tell them Tessa sent you.)

The dress code is casual and there is a full bar with daily happy hour drink specials.

Now let’s get serious: the menu. I have three favorites and I’m sure at least one of them will be sure to satisfy any food craving you may have.

First: Chicken Asiago- two tender, seasoned chicken breasts atop a bed of angel hair pasta, covered in a light, oily, Alfredo sauce with onions, peppers and olives. Is your mouth watering yet?

Second: Chicken Diablo- what happens when you mix red sauce, white sauce and some hot Italian seasoning? Diablo sauce, of course.

This dish consists of two chicken breasts above penne noodles and smothered in Tumea’s mouth-watering Diablo sauce. It’s one of our most popular and is well-known throughout Des Moines.

Three: Penne Salcissia- red sauce mixed with white, and Graziano’s ground spicy Italian sausage and penne noodles. It’s is also known as ‘Johnny’s pasta.’

Long story short, you need to visit the south side for some authentic Italian food that will wake up your tastebuds and put a satisfied smile on your face.

Tessa is a senior majoring in art and journalism. You can visit and keep up with her blog at