W. VinZant Restaurants serves inspired dining of many flavors and ranges to be guests’ dining destination for every day and occasion built upon dedication to our guests and betterment of our community.
Louie’s Wine Dive was founded from humble roots by converting a small worn Jewish Bagel store and a Vietnamese seamstress studio into a small but warm wine dive. The fun and funky ambiance renowned at Louie’s Wine Dive came with time and the big personalities who have made Louie’s Wine Dive home throughout the years. Today, numerous rising stars are at the helm of Louie’s Wine Dive, which has catapulted the performance of this beloved restaurant.
BRGR Kitchen + Bar & Taco Republic: BRGR and Taco Republic were acquired in spring of 2019 marking the completion of our first significant transaction. Why’d we do it? Well, have you dined at these restaurants? The experience is second to none with craveable products, burgers and beer and tacos and margaritas! Hamburgers and tacos are next level at BRGR and Taco Republic!
Taco Trucks & Romaine Calm Catering: W.VinZant Restaurants launches its Private Event and Truck Business under company catering arm Romaine Calm. Romaine Calm designs and launches two additional Taco Trucks, including the “Big Blu” truck and the smaller, more transportable yellow “Taquito” truck, later followed by the BRGR Burger Trailer for private events. Romaine Calm has the people and resources to perfect every need for private events with the style and product quality of W.VinZant Restaurants.
W.VinZant Restaurants launches Fresko Natural Food in downtown Des Moines designing it to marry with Iowa’s bounty of natural food. Fresko is designed and built using sustainable material complimenting the product and methods applied Fresko’s food and beverage. Fresko partners with numerous Iowa farms, including cattle, pork, protein, dairy, cheese, and produce producers. In the first year of operation, Fresko wins the most Des Moines, ‘City Awards’ ever awarded a restaurant!
W.VinZant Restaurants acquired Gram & Dun during the darkest days of the Covid pandemic with the belief that an all-star team could be created to lead Gram & Dun into the future. New food and beverage menus, kitchen and beverage stations, dining room and kitchen designs were implemented and the result has been as inspiring as dining al fresco on Gram & Dun’s vaunted patio.
W.VinZant Restaurants launches modern, casual inspired Va Bene. The goal, make simple, delicious Italian fare allowing rich ingredients to stand on their own complimented by a full bar of creative Italian inspired cocktails and wines.
Terravecchia in an east Des Moines Icon… Founded in 1947 by transplanted Latin Quarter, New York resident Jim Pigneri, The Latin King has defined Italian fare in Iowa and beyond for over 75 years. W.VinZant Restaurants was honored to undertake the reins from The Latin King’s second owner-operator Bobby Tursi, who famously commented, “I sold it to Whitney (W.VinZant Restaurants) because I knew they’d keep the diamond polished!” The Latin King won Des Moines ‘City Award’ for Italian Food and Fine Dining 2022 and will soon feature a new extensive patio in Spring of 2023!
Founded with a “late-night knock on the door,” Mary Zerngast discovered the reputation of her famous fried chicken recipe had spread far and wide, and so in 1942 she opened the door to Chicken Mary’s restaurant out of her country-side home near Pittsburg, Kansas. Mary’s chicken recipe has not changed and is as delicious today as it was back then and the Chicken Mary’s reputation is now nationwide. Check out more about Chicken Mary’s on the Food Network’s, “Battle of the Chicken Wars.”
The BrewTop Pub & Patio: Whether you want to grab a beer and a bite to a eat while watching your team or go see a musical group and dance all night, The BrewTop Pub & Patio brings guests the ultimate entertainment dining experience!
Who We Are
Meet the Team
Whitney Vinzant -
Corey Gonzalez -
Corey has been Chief Operating Office for W VinZant Restaurants since November 2009.
Corey strategically focuses his passion of driving a unique dining experience that focuses on every guest every time. Corey believes the best marketing happens within your walls and this has led to a combined fourteen regional restaurants in counting. Corey graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2004, with a degree in Marketing. Prior to joining Louie’s Wine Dive, Gonzalez worked as the Senior Account Executive for The International PGA Golf Tournament and Colorado AvidGolfer magazine where he sold corporate hospitality and advertising on behalf of numerous national brands. Corey is married to his wife Angie and currently has two daughters Gia and Ivy, and a son Cruz.
Kristene King Thrall -
Chief Strategy Officer
Kristene has enjoyed a decades long career in hospitality holding every position in a restaurant. From designing cocktail menus as Bar Director to helping to create the pastry menu while being a Pastry Chef, she has become an expert in systems and operations. Kristene excels at improving costs and educating teams on sales success. She has led 100+ students to accreditation with the Court of Master Sommeliers and currently spearheads all training programs, HR and pop up concepts.
Kristene King Thrall
Chief Strategy Officer
Grecia Lucas -
Grecia is the Marketing Director for W. Vinzant Restaurants and has worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years starting as a host. The marketing journey began in 2011 with BRGR Kitchen & Bar, Urban Table and Gram & Dun. Later joining W. Vinzant Restaurants in 2019.
Working with 8 brands and 14 restaurants in Kansas City, KCMO, Iowa, and St. Louis, ranging from casual to fine dining has allowed growth and development of skills in design, operations, App development, online ordering, website design, and so much more.
Family is a very important part of Grecia’s life, as well as baking, furniture restoration and interior design.
Marie Jones -
Mikita Burton -
Social Media Director
Social Media Director
Courtney Hayde -
In my free time, I’m usually playing ball with my 4 dogs and trying new restaurants. Or possibly planning my own family and friend gathering!
Kari Amensen -
As a former elementary school teacher, Kari has lots of expertise in keeping things organized, scheduling, and managing groups of people. She enjoys working with people and helping them achieve their goals. This lends itself perfectly to arranging vendors and ensuring client satisfaction for scheduled events.
Jeff Thrall -
When not at work he enjoys travel, cooking and gardening with his amazing wife, Kristene.
Erick Brown -
Thomas Pelkey -
“For me, food is an expression of gratitude.” An evolution of how an ingredient was harvested from a certain pasture, body of water, or farmer, to get to my cutting board. Ending a result of a pleasant experience or memory for one another, brings contentment to my everyday life.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Thomas began developing an appreciation for food at a young age, growing up with a mother and father who privileged hunting & fishing. Also being able to and still to this day cherishing memories with his grandmother from Italian descent whose food is next to great, as the best restaurant in the world.
After graduating culinary school in 2012, Thomas worked his way through the kitchen at Story, while still trailing in some of Kansas City’s best restaurants. Thomas made a move to NYC after submitting a cover letter & resume to some of the countries / world’s best restaurants. Having worked in NYC for 3 months he spent time in the Michelin star kitchens of Le Bernardin, Per Se, Nomad, & Marea. After returning to Kansas City in 2013 he accepted the sous chef position back at Story & during that year the restaurant was nominated for its first James Beard award. Seven years of gaining a great deal of knowledge from mentor chef Carl Thorne Thomsen, Thomas made a positive career choice to join W. Vinzant Restaurants.
Thomas began working at Louie’s Wine Dive in 2017 gaining his first executive chef position. Upon Joining the restaurants of Vinzant, Thomas has worked his way up the realms, developing dishes and menus for other sister restaurants of Vinzant & gaining the title of Regional Chef for his KC market restaurants. After the purchase of Gram & Dun in 2020 Thomas had found a new home with the company, becoming executive chef for the iconic Kansas City restaurant.
Outside of the restaurants, Thomas enjoys spending most time with his wife and three children.Teaching his 3 boy’s sports, how to hunt and fish, just as his folks taught him. If he is not spending time with his family, he finds peace in his blind duck hunting, scouting for new hunting grounds, casting a fishing line, or just simply reading a book.