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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In this edition, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Dyersville, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.
A newly opened Dubuque bar hopes to offer a professional atmosphere and serve as a downtown hub for arts and culture.
Esther’s Lounge opened in early December at 123 Main St. in the storefront adjoining popular restaurant and bar 1st & Main.
John Oglesby, who owns both establishments, previously operated the bar Main Street Social at 123 Main. He said he sought to revamp the space and offer a “classier” ambiance at Esther’s Lounge, with high-quality drinks and an emphasis on art and music.
“I want it to be more of a professional environment,” he said, noting that nearby wine bar Wicked Dame served as an inspiration. “I’m just trying to build off what’s already happening on our corner.”
Esther’s Lounge will offer appetizers, small plates and charcuterie boards from the 1st & Main kitchen, with a variety of drink options such as cocktails, wine and bourbon.
The bar will host live performances, with an emphasis on jazz, funk and soul music, as well as spoken word and poetry slams. Karaoke will be held on Thursday nights.
Esther’s Lounge also will serve as the central location for Dubuque Area Arts Collective. The group will host regular art shows at the bar featuring local artists’ work, which will be available for purchase.
“We’re trying to do stuff that’s never been done here and that’s trending in the bigger cities,” Oglesby said.
The bar’s name was selected for its “classy old lady” connotation, according to Oglesby. In a serendipitous twist, Esther is also the name of one of his dogs.
Esther’s Lounge is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 1st & Main at 563-587-8152 or search “Esther’s Lounge” on Facebook.
BREWERY PLANS SATELLITE SPACE
A popular Dyersville brewery soon will open a satellite location in a small community near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Textile Brewing Co., which opened in Dyersville in July 2019, plans to open a taproom in Atkins, Iowa. Owner Tom Olberding said staff members hope to open the site, called Textile TapHaus, in March or April.
This will be the brewery’s second satellite location, following the opening of The Corner Taproom in Cascade, Iowa, in March. Olberding said the owner of the building that houses Corner Taproom recently bought a building in Atkins and approached the Textile team with the idea of opening another taproom.
“We went and looked and decided this was a good fit for us,” he said of the Atkins site.
Olberding said Corner Taproom has been “really well received” in Cascade, and he hopes for a similar reception in Atkins.
“The population in the town’s gone up a lot in the last 20 years, and there really isn’t anything in town for them to go to,” he said. “The people in Atkins that we’ve talked to are excited to have something in town that they can go to and not have to drive to Cedar Rapids. We’re excited to provide that.”
Olberding said Textile TapHaus will offer a full bar with a variety of wine, liquor, beer and cider. The venue also will serve similar food to that offered at Textile’s Dyersville location, including Bavarian pretzels and flatbreads, with the potential for new items such as wings.
Future customers can track the progress of the Atkins taproom by visiting facebook.com/textiletaphaus/.
GALENA B&B TO REOPEN AS INN
For years, Galena resident Jim Ryndak admired the historic building at 1004 Park Ave. in the city that was the longtime home of the Annie Wiggins Guest House bed-and-breakfast.
“It’s a very unique house, and it sits prominently on Park Avenue,” he said. “Every time I’d drive across the river going east, I’d see that house, and I always liked it.”
After the Annie Wiggins Guest House closed in 2020 and the historic home went on the market, Ryndak seized his chance. During the summer of 2021, he purchased the building that he had once loved from afar.
He now is renovating the eight-bedroom structure, which he plans to reopen in late spring as The Mansion on Park Avenue.
Ryndak will operate the business as an inn rather than a bed-and-breakfast. He does not intend to rent out individual rooms, but rather, he will rent out the entire inn for larger gatherings such as family reunions or bachelorette parties.
In rehabbing the home, Ryndak said he is striving to preserve as much of its historic charm as possible.
The three-story, brick house was constructed in 1846 by former Galena Mayor Col. Darius Hunkins, who helped superintend the Illinois Central Railroad and made a fortune in mining and smelting. Much of the original Greek Revival architecture is still intact, from the woodwork and double-hung windows to the pocket doors and hand-carved marble mantels on the fireplaces.
“For the time, it was a fabulous mansion for somebody to have. Even Chicago didn’t have houses like this,” Ryndak said. “There’s high ceilings — 11- to 12-foot ceilings on the first and second floors — so it’s a pretty grand house.”
In tandem with the historic appeal of the inn, guests will enjoy newly renovated kitchens and updated flooring throughout the entire home. Ryndak also is adding central air conditioning and completing other cosmetic work.
The Mansion on Park Avenue will be available on Airbnb.com once it is ready to open this spring.