Bellevue riverfront resort a big draw

BELLEVUE, Iowa — On a recent afternoon, Jamie Becker sat in the enclosed patio of Off Shore Bar & Grill. She gestured to the sparkling water of the Mississippi River that frames the backdrop of the Off Shore Resort.

“There’s just some ambiance here, and we felt like if we partner great service and great food, it’s going to be amazing,” said Becker, a partner with Offshore Enterprises LLC.

In 2020, Offshore Enterprises purchased the Bellevue riverfront property that featured a campground, hotel, event center and the then-closed Off Shore Bar & Grill. Becker and her partners, who also own Coconut Cove Resort in southwest Wisconsin, have spent the past six months renovating and gradually reopening existing structures, as well as adding new amenities.

“We tore up concrete floors and started all over,” Becker said. “Everything’s fresh.”

Becker said Offshore Enterprises strove to create a “very Miami” atmosphere with the redesign. The bar, for example, includes many windows and glass-plated doors to provide a clear view of the river and let in natural light.

In addition to reopening existing facilities, Offshore Enterprises expanded the 60-site campground to 174 sites and added new features such as a clubhouse — which includes an arcade and resort store — and a 1.25-acre pond.

Still to come are an inflatable aqua park for the pond, an outdoor pool, a jump pad and a new playground. Becker said the resort, which has about 100 employees, should be in its finished form by Labor Day.

Araceli DeWitt, general manager of the resort’s bar and grill, said the restaurant has completely redesigned its menu, which features burgers, salad, seafood, thin-crust pizza and specialty drinks and desserts.

She said many patrons who frequented the bar in its former iteration have been “pleasantly surprised” by the new offerings at the reopened restaurant.

The restaurant is currently open Thursday to Monday and hosts live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Becker said officials hope to expand their hours as well as their menu offerings throughout the summer.

The 48-room hotel has been filling up on weekends, according to Becker, and the event center is already “90% booked” with weddings for 2022.

DeWitt said resort staff hope to create a destination for tri-state-area residents looking for a quick vacation.

“It’s a local getaway,” she said. “You feel like you’re on the ocean, but really you’re on the Mississippi River.”

Becker agreed, encouraging people to visit the site for a day trip.

“Our emphasis around here is relaxation, good ambiance (and) surrounding yourself with good people,” she said. “I think we’re definitely worth the drive.”