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Drake neighborhood's Papa Keno's closes; owners plan new restaurant in same space


Katie Akin   | Des Moines Register
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The Papa Keno's pizzeria near Drake University has closed permanently, the owners announced on social media Monday.

Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions did not cause the closure, owner Alec Davis said. Instead, he and co-owners Evan Davis, his brother, and Austin Baeth decided to shut it down to make way for a new restaurant in the same space on University Avenue.

"Since we're already in the space, we're hopefully going to have a short timeline to turn around and get going again," Alec Davis said.

The Davis brothers and Baeth opened Papa Keno's in the summer of 2018. The Kansas-based franchise offers New York-style pizza, served in massive slices. Davis declined to share details about what kind of restaurant the trio intends to open in its place, but said he hopes to bring his Iowa roots to the new project.

"We're all, the owners, we're Des Moines natives that live in the city," Alec Davis said. "It felt like a better chance for us to deeper connect with the community and build something that we think reflects our experiences here in Iowa."

Two Papa Keno's locations in the Kansas City area cut ties with Papa Keno's and rebranded in February.

Katie Akin is a retail reporter for the Register. Reach her at kakin@registermedia.com or at 515-284-8041. Follow her on Twitter at @katie_akin.

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