“Hang on, let me get this man his tiramisu and I’ll be right back to chat.”
For owner Bob Tursi at Latin King, juggling work and hospitality is second nature. He wants to give us his undivided attention, his guests his undivided attention, and his staff his undivided attention. For those who have never met the man, you may think that would add up to just a little bit for everyone. Yet somehow, Tursi manages to fulfill everyone’s demands and needs with the same warm friendliness and genuine camaraderie you’d expect from an old friend.
It’s probably why the Latin King, a pillar on the east side for food and service, was voted the second-best restaurant in central Iowa again.
“It’s the same philosophy we’ve always had,” Tursi said. “Put a great meal on a clean plate, put a great drink in a clean glass, and treat people how you want to be treated. There are very few places in town where the owner still greets you when you walk in and opens your bottle of wine at your table.”
Tursi stresses that he’s not trying to win any medals by being in his restaurant to greet people and chat with regulars. It’s his passion. It’s what he does.
“Some people are made for the restaurant industry and get it, some people aren’t,” he said.
While Tursi strives to continuously better his east side institution, he and his son, RJ, are tapping into another passion — beer — with Exile Brewing Co., currently in the works downtown at 1514 Walnut St. The pair have been to Germany to shop for quality used brewing equipment to use in the brew pub, which is expected to open next year.
But Latin King will always be his priority, Tursi says.
“All I can do is thank the people who come in,” he said. “We try our best not to let anybody down. People have high expectations, and they keep getting higher and higher. We’ll always strive to meet those.”
Where: 2200 Hubbell Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4-11 p.m. Friday; 4-11 p.m. Saturday.
Info: Go to tursislatinking.com.