• Hold Up Podcast
  • Follow us on Instagram
    • More women are starting to find refuge in running groups
      2 weeks ago by urban_plains More women are starting to find refuge in running groups. Read more by clicking the link in our bio.  #UrbanPlains 
    • Theres a use for that plantchicago and insidetheplant are trying
      5 days ago by urban_plains There’s a use for that:  @plantchicago  and  @insidetheplant  are trying to change the way people think about sustainability. Read more by  @annagracejensen , link in bio.  #UrbanPlains 
    • Hold Up hosts jessiespangler and mitchellkedzior sit down with Megan
      2 weeks ago by urban_plains Hold Up hosts  @jessiespangler  and  @mitchellkedzior  sit down with Megan McKay, the owner and founder of  @peacetreebrewing . Listen in as they discuss her company, her decision to invest in the community, and attempt to figure out why the Midwest loves its beer.  #UrbanPlains 
    • jessiespangler is our social media editor She calls Plainfield Illinois
      4 days ago by urban_plains  @jessiespangler  is our social media editor. She calls Plainfield, Illinois home—“Plainfield is more boring when I’m gone.” She says that  #UrbanPlains  has “encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and I hope that it encourages readers to think a little deeper about the Midwest and everything that it entails.”
    • avriece is our video producer Shes from Washington Missouri Iowa
      2 weeks ago by urban_plains  @avriece  is our video producer. She’s from Washington, Missouri. “Iowa has 75% vowels, and I have 75% no time for that.” Cassie feels that “a lot of stories that have been released during my time here have a lot of impact, and are asking people to take action. So I hope that when people read our stories they will want to do something about the injustices in our country.”  #UrbanPlains 
    • fcm3145 is our audio producer He calls Spokane Washington homeI
      1 week ago by urban_plains  @fcm3145  is our audio producer. He calls Spokane, Washington home—“I may have lived in a lot of places, but after graduation, home is where the story is.” Cade is hoping “readers learn that the Midwest has a lot more to offer than they might expect!”  #UrbanPlains 
    • Women who run together stay together Read more about the
      2 weeks ago by urban_plains Women who run together, stay together. Read more about the dangers women face while running and the rise of women-only running groups such as  @officialblackgirlsrun ,  @261fearless , and Kansas City Express. Read more by social media editor  @jessiespangler , link in bio.  #UrbanPlains 
    • Read the first story in our fourpart series about plantchicago
      4 days ago by urban_plains Read the first story in our four-part series about  @plantchicago  and  @insidetheplant , starting with how they sustain a circular economy within all of the businesses in The Plant. Read more about the unique, no-waste building in Chicago by  @annagracejensen . Link in bio.  #UrbanPlains 
    • courtneykrause speaks her mind on the disparity between men and
      2 weeks ago by urban_plains  @courtney_krause  speaks her mind on the disparity between men and women in the music community. Watch her perform in a video by  @avriece . Link in bio!  #UrbanPlains 
    • Hold up weve got some cool stuff to raffle off
      1 week ago by urban_plains Hold up, we’ve got some cool stuff to raffle off at Hold Up with Mitch and Jessie: Live at Gas Lamp. Join us on Dec. 4 from 7-9 pm at  @gaslampdsm  with a special guest. We’ll be raffling off two signed  @courtney_krause  CDs, two  #UrbanPlains  shirts, two gift certificates for Gas Lamp, and stickers.
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter

El Salvador In Your Backyard

Photos by Gigi Toledo

Eating locally has increased in popularity over the years. According to the National Restaurant Association, 68 percent of consumers would rather eat at a restaurant that is locally owned. There are foodies all over the Midwest looking for the next best place to eat, and it looks like Des Moines residents have found a tasteful new spot right in their backyard.

La Cuscatleca: Restaurant and Pupuseria began offering food back in 2012. Marcial and Miriam Leiva began selling their pupusas, which are a traditional Salvadorian dish with thick corn tortillas stuffed with delicious filling like chopped pork, cheese, beans, zucchini, and other vegetables, at soccer fields. Their success prompted them to open a food truck where they started selling a wider variety of food.  After five years they have encountered amazing success through their commitment to making great Salvadorian food.

“We had the food truck, but the people wanted more so we decided to open up the restaurant,” manager Melissa Mancilla says. “The food truck was always getting super full so we had to grow.  At the beginning we only had pupusas, but we were led to make different foods.” Thanks to this family-owned restaurant’s growing popularity, the owners have been able to revamp their menu and offer more varieties of Latino food like carne asada, shrimp, and fried fish along with their famous Pupusas.

Carne Asada, 2 Pupusas de Frijol con queso, curtido y salsa

Drake University’s La Fuerza Latina (LFL) is a student Latinx organization that hosts networking events, attends conferences, showcases films that represent Latino culture, and visits schools around the Des Moines metro to speak to Latino youths. La Cuscatleca’s growing success drew the organization to have its food truck at a recent fundraising event. This event drew more than 100 people and raised over $500, which was an overall success in the eyes of LFL members. LFL members were excited and proud to have La Cuscatleca’s food on their campus. “Oh everyone loved it—the truck nearly sold out of the ingredients that they brought,” Treasurer Jose Garcia-Fuerte says. “People even kept coming back for seconds.”

La Cuscatleca’s interior design represents their culture, but also other people’s cultures as well. “They know they are coming to eat Salvadorian food, but there are a lot of things that may also remind them of their home countries.” Mancilla says. They strive to provide their customers with wonderful food that reminds them of home and keeps them wanting to come back.

La Cuscatleca’s food has attracted a diverse fanbase that goes beyond Salvadorans. “We do serve a lot of people from El Salvador but we also have a consumer base that goes beyond our culture,” Mancilla says. “Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Mexicans, and Americans—they all come here and eat our food.”

La Cuscatleca is proud to serve Des Moines with its memorable food. Like Mancilla says, “You know local is always better! And if you have local that you like, you’re not going to go anywhere else.”


  • Gigi Toledo

    You can usually find me playing my Nintendo Switch or just hanging out.

You May Also Like

Now Trending: Rent a Chicken

A new program allows city folk to raise farm-fresh food right in their yards.

Growing Food, Growing Communities

Gardens around the Midwest cultivate community and fresh food in urban spaces.

No Coast, High Fashion

Midwestern designers are building clothing brands without a fashion hub.