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Tursi's Latin King gets new owners for the first time in 38 years

Kansas City-based restauranteur Whitney VinZant bought the iconic Italian spot from Bob Tursi, who's staying on as a consultant.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Latin King, an iconic Italian restaurant that has operated in Des Moines for 73 years, has a new owner for just the third time in its existence.

Kansas City-based restauranteur Whitney VinZant, who also owns Louie’s Wine Dive and the newly-opened Fresko in Des Moines, has purchased Latin King from Bob Tursi, who will remain on staff as a consultant.

Latin King was originally established by Jim and Rose Pigneri in 1947. Bob and Amy Tursi bought the place in 1983 and have operated it ever since.

Tursi is working closely with VinZant, who said all management and team members will be retained in their current positions.

“We’ve known about Latin King for many, many years and we have enjoyed and created memories there,” VinZant said.  “We have a tremendous amount of respect for what the legacy of Latin King is.”

VinZant said that a new patio area and restrooms will be opened in the near future, and he’s also planning on a new cocktail and wine menu.