Lemon Grass Owner Chad Lovan developed a love and appreciation for cooking at a very young age.
“Mostly, I received my cooking skills from both my parents. As a kid, I always helped my parents in the kitchen every night before dinner. We cooked every night. Eating as a family, allows a family to communicate with each other and it helps a family develop such strong relations with one another,” Lovan said.
Lovan is originally from the Des Moines area and later graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in graphic design and marketing. Since that time, Lovan has opened three restaurants and gained over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry.
“My previous restaurant opened in West Des Moines almost eight years ago but it is no longer there. We closed it back in October in order to move it to Adel,” Lovan said.
Lovan’s Lemon Grass Restaurant first opened its doors in Adel in the middle of this past January. Lovan noted that he first made the decision to relocate after seeing the location and liking it. Now, after getting to know the community around him, Lovan hopes to stay in Adel for as long as he is able.
“Moving to Adel, I received a warm welcome from the community. My goal is to stay here for as long as I can cook and have the energy to keep up with myself,” Lovan said.
In addition, the Adel community is also excited to welcome a new kind of cuisine to the downtown area.
“The Adel Partners Chamber is very excited to welcome Lemon Grass Restaurant to Adel. It gives us a more unique dining choice and keeps downtown full and vibrant,” Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce President Deb Bengtson said.
Lovan describes the restaurant as a small but very comfortable family-style environment where everyone is welcome.
“I like a small size restaurant and family style so I have the chance to do something different than other people,” Lovan said.
With a mix of contemporary Asian cuisine incorporated in his menu, Lovan also notes that traveling to the country of Thailand throughout the years has strongly influenced his current menu.
“I always enjoyed traveling to Thailand because of the variety of street food vendors. Street food in Bangkok or other cities provides convenient and delicious ways to get in touch with the rich local culture,” Lovan said.
Lovan especially observes the methods and ingredients used in preparing authentic food from Thailand.
“I had the chance to talk with local vendors about the ingredients or techniques used to cook the food. Some dishes, you should be able to work out the type of food a vendor is selling by observing the ingredients and the way they’re being prepared. Vendors could be seen busily stir frying in an ancient wok, pounding papaya, grilling meat skewers or boiling noodles right in front of the customer,” Lovan said.
Coming up later this year, Lovan hopes to be able to incorporate some exciting new changes to his business.
“In the future, I hope I have the opportunity to do something exciting or creative in the spring or summer,” Lovan said.
Lemon Grass Restaurant is currently open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday, for dinner at 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and is located off of 9th and Main Street.
“For right now we are only open Monday through Friday. The reason I don’t open on the weekends is so I can spend quality time with my kids and my family,” Lovan said. “In the past seven to eight years, I never had the the weekend to spend with my family.”