Bluff Strokes Mississippi River Art Workshops Paint Dubuque

Wes's Underground Guide to Dubuque:

In-the-Way and Out-of-the-Way Places Where Dubuquers like to hang out




Thank you, McGoo's Pizza, for being an event sponsor for Bluff Strokes 2016!



Eating in Out in Dubuque

Dubuque is blessed with a large number of locally owned and locally loved eateries, ranging from pubs and dives to supper clubs to crafted dining.  Dubuquers love to hang out, sometimes frequenting the same taverns and restaurants for decades.  Because Dubuque has been built up since well before the civil war, many older buildings have been spruced up with new decor - and many have stayed just as they were 50 or more years ago.  Also, Dubuquers like their value.  You may be pleasantly surprised that prices are generally lower than in larger cities.  Explore and enjoy!


Warning!  This list covers a broad range of cultural parameters.  Some are neighborhood hangouts, some are a little long in the tooth, some are hoity-toity; but our focus is local spots frequented by locals.


Up-scale restaurants in historic renovations

Brazen, 955 Washington, 563-587-8899 (Historic Millwork, also great painting location!)

L May, 1072 Main, 563-556-0505                                                                                                                             

Pepper Sprout, 378 Main, 563-556-2167                                                                                                                            

Carolines, 200 Main, 563-556-2167


Special places, less expensive

Stone Cliff Winery, 600 Star Brewery Dr, 563-583-6100  Pizzas and lighter fare; beautiful setting on the Riverwalk (Site of our Quick Paint on Weds 10/12)

1st & Main, literally at 1st St & Main St, 563-587-8152 Interesting bar food, salads, flatbreads (Cool graffiti wall to paint!  Included in Nocturne boundaries)

The Smokestack, 62 E 7th, no phone Open W-F 4 pm to 2 am, S 5 pm to 2 am, urban club atmosphere, good food, serve late                           


Supper Clubs – Tradition of the upper Midwest, usually rural, big bar up front, traditional drinks, simple cuisine.

Breitbach’s, 563 Balltown Rd, Sherrill, 563-552-2220   Oldest restaurant in IA                                                                                                

Moracco, 1413 Rockdale Rd, 563-582-2947   The sign came in spelled wrong, so they changed the name of the restaurant

Timmerman’s, 7777 Timmerman Dr, E Dubuque, 815-747-3316      Beautiful view.  You wonder if Sinatra will walk in.

Buddy’s Clubhouse, 304 E 24th, 563-588-9932

Kalmus’, 100 Main, St Donatus, 563-773-2480   Good restaurant with its own gas pump.  Hints of native Luxemburg.



MaGoos Pizza, 1875 University, 563-845-0604   Great individual sized gourmet wood fired pizzas.  (One of our Sponsors!)

Mario’s, 13th & Main, 563-556-9424  Old World Dubuque favorite, inexpensive but good Italian food                             

Marcos, 2022 Central, 563-588-0007

Mi Ranchito, 1091 University, 563-553-0653

Lina’s Thai Bistro, 563-588-2345  Excellent Thai in a strip mall.  Try the crispy lettuce wraps.

Europa Café, 563-845-0778  Good European in a strip mall.

Town Clock Inn, 799 Main, 563-556-1022  Good local pizza, strange location

Shot Tower Inn, 390 Locust, 563-556-1601  Local pizza and sandwich fav


Bar and Pub Food and Better – Interesting older buildings and renovations

Catfish Charlie’s, 1630 E 16th St, 563-582-8600  Eat by the river

First and Main, 1st and Main, 563-587-8152

Lot One, 100 Main, 563-587-0200   Peanut butter on a burger?

Vinni Vinnuchis, 180 Main, 563-588-9600

Mason Dixon, 163 Main, 563-582-3445

Copper Kettle, 2987 Jackson, 563-845-0567  Recent restoration has become new north-end go-to spot. (Another great painting spot, across from old Brewery)


Diner – Inexpensive, no frills, local - breakfast and lunch

Dottie’s Café, 504 Central, 563-556-9617

Sunshine Family Restaurant

Burnt Toast, 1220 Iowa St, 563-556-0494

Point Café, 2370 Rhomberg, 563-513-6328


Traditional Dubuque neighborhood bars, grills – not fancy, but long time Dubuquer hangouts

Pauls Tavern, 563-556-9944, cheap beer, great burger, Dubuque must

Murphs Tap, 55 Locust, 563-556-9896

The Bridge, 31 Locust, 563-557-7280

Denny’s Lux Club, 3050 Asbury, 563-557-0880 Lunch only

The Dog House Lounge, 1646 Asbury Rd, 563-556-7611

Happy’s, 2323 Rockdale Rd, 563-556-9743

West End Tap, 1701 Asbury, 563-556-9647  West enders swear by their burgers.


Home Brewed Beer

Jubeks New World Brewery, 115 W 11th St, 775-375-5692, W 4-8, S 4-11, No tvs, great beer, make a friend


Coffee Houses    (For some reason, Dubuque has attracted a lot of coffee houses and yoga places since the AU grew up.)

East Mill Bakery, 620 S Grandview, 563-580-1175  Best English muffings anywhere, excellent breakfast and lunch items (Perfect painting location!  This is where the schoolkids walk by every day, just like when it was "The Milk House")  Also, they will be providing treats and coffee on Sunday and Friday.

Jitterz, 1073 Main, 557-3838, laid back atmosphere, nice breakfast and lunch items

Monk’s, 373 Bluff, 563-585-0719, hip and funky coffee house with full bar and big beer selection

Inspire Café, 955 Washington, 563-583-8338, industrial chic coffee house, wine, all meals

One Mean Bean, 2728 Asbury, 563-565-1601  Fav for studying, pastries only

Charlotte’s, 1104 White, 563-231-3716  Quaintly decorated, good breakfast, lunch items (Another great painting spot!  They will provide scones and coffee Monday-Thursday at Steeple Square)

Manna Java, 700 Locust, 563-588-3105 Inside the Roshek Building



Stone Cliff Winery, 600 Star Brewery Dr, 563-583-6100  Tasting room in historic brewery on Riverwalk

Park Farm Winery, 15159 Thielen Rd. Bankston, 563-557-3727  ½ hour drive in country to beautiful spot; wood fired pizza          

Sunset Ridge Winery, 12645 US 52, 563-552-7243

Barrel Head Winery, 995 Laudeville Rd, 563-556-7073


Take-out for a picnic

Jack’s Chicken Palace, 1107 University, 588-2003  Take-out only, fun to wait, great chicken and onion rings

Hy Vee Deli – not local, but all Hy Vee’s in town have deli’s, salad bars, prepared meals for take-out and eat-in


Local Made Treats - Must try

Betty Jane Candy, 3049 Asbury, 563-582-4668  Local chocolate maker since  1938; gremlins included in Oscar Awards gift pacts

Trappestine Caramels, 8400 Abby Hill Lane, 563-556-6330  nice country drive for caramels made by contemplative nuns

Beecher’s Ice Cream, 1691 Asbury Rd, 563-556-2623  Great ice cream, large portions

East Mill Bakery, 620 S Grandview, 563-580-1175  Best English muffings anywhere, excellent breakfast and lunch items