The idea for Splash was given birth on the water in 1998 by an avid Key's fisherman, Bruce Gerleman. His fishing expeditions took him all over the Florida Keys where he discovered exotic meals cooked by the 'Islanders'. Inspired by the varied styles and flavors of the food, he began gathering recipes from Key West, Islamorada and Key Largo. In the tradition of this island-style cooking, Splash was created.
Splash Seafood Bar & Grill opened in September 1998 in the historic Homestead Building, at the corner of 3rd and Locust, across from the Civic Center in Downtown Des Moines. Gerleman brought to his hometown of Des Moines, a five star restaurant that serves seafood in a fun and exciting atmosphere. According to Gerleman, a real estate developer, "I wanted to bring the same quality and attention to detail that we have accomplished in so many of my historic renovations to Splash."
Local artist and designer, Saley Nong, was commissioned to interpret undersea life in a mural art form. Her colorful and playful, abstract work is a striking contrast to the huge saltwater aquariums full of beautiful coral and tropical ocean fish that surround the tables in the atrium dining level. Amazingly, the 275 lb. mounted Blue Marlin patrolling this area is dwarfed by the menacing 11-foot-long mounted Tiger Shark that dominates it.