Biz Buzz: Dubuque DQ to reopen; lumber company launches in Elkader; Galena eatery planned

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-state area. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and Elkader, Iowa, and Galena, Ill.

A popular Dubuque restaurant is poised to reopen next week, providing a comforting reminder that spring is right around the corner.

Dairy Queen at 2300 Rhomberg Ave. will open on March 17, according to owner Vicki Blake.

Signs of life are already abundant at the longtime Dairy Queen location, where staff members are prepping the facility, placing orders and conducting interviews in preparation for the start of the new season.

“I expect us to be very busy when we first open,” said Blake. “People are always excited to get out and enjoy the spring weather.”

Blake and the rest of the staff are hoping for a more typical year in 2021.

Last year, when the Dairy Queen opened on March 11, it was still life-as-usual in the U.S. By the end of that week, however, COVID-19 had begun to fundamentally alter life throughout the country.

Blake said the pandemic caused a host of issues last year.

At various points, employees were out for extended time because of exposure to the virus or symptoms of illness. On top of that, the pandemic disrupted supply chains and elevated costs.

“We never knew what shipments were coming from one week to the next,” Blake said.

Blake decided not to pass these price increases along to customers, meaning the Dairy Queen frequently took a hit financially on some of its menu items.

This year will not mark a complete return to normalcy.

Blake is still figuring out whether some of the restaurant’s seating will be closed at the start of the year. Meanwhile, customers must still abide by mask-wearing and social-distancing requirements.

The Dairy Queen at 2300 Rhomberg can be reached at 563-582-2727.


A new business is breathing life into a prominent site in Elkader, Iowa.

Meuser Lumber opened at 24411 Highway 13 North in early 2021, according to office administrator Leslie Popham. The business occupies a piece of land that was previously home to Builders FirstSource and has long served as a lumber yard in the Elkader community.

Popham said Meuser Lumber will be able to meet customers’ lumber needs, as well as supply a wide variety of other products.

“We also have paint, tools, plumbing and electrical equipment, kitchen and bathroom items, and a lot of other things that a hardware store would have,” Popham said.

Mueser Lumber’s history dates back to 1907 and the business has another location in Guttenberg.

Popham said business activity has slowly but steadily increased since its arrival in town.

“It is starting to pick up more, and more people are coming in for quotes,” she said.

Ann Gibney, director of the Elkader Area Chamber of Commerce, said Meuser Lumber is a great addition to the community.

“It’s a great new business in a very noticeable location,” she said. “After (Builders FirstSource) closed down, there was kind of a hole in the community. It’s great to see new businesses opening in Elkader, especially during these times.”

The business employs seven workers in Elkader. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. It can be reached at 563-245-2513.


A new restaurant and bar soon will bring a diverse menu and international flair to downtown Galena.

Bread & Vine Bakery will open its doors next month at 217 S. Main St., according to owner Eric Bonnetain. The restaurant will feature a small-plate concept and serve imported cheeses, specialty meats, pastries, sandwiches and more.

Bonnetain has spent his career working in the restaurant and hotel industries, traveling around the world to open new locations and create new concepts. His travels have served as inspiration for this venture.

“I am taking things from all the different places I have been and incorporating (those lessons) into the food I have here,” he said.

Bonnetain said he was working in China when COVID-19 hit the country. He lost his job and returned to the U.S.

Shortly thereafter, he took a trip to Galena with his wife.

“I noticed that this little town was busy, even in the middle of COVID,” he said.

Bonnetain learned about the property at 217 S. Main St., contacted the landlord and submitted a concept for his business. He took over the lease in September and started construction shortly thereafter, transforming what used to be The Pink Boutique clothing store into what will soon become a new restaurant.

“We have gutted the whole place: the floors, the walls and everything,” he said.

In addition to its indoor seating, Bread & Vine Bakery will offer a vast outdoor dining area with 40 to 50 seats

Bonnetain hopes the diversity of the business will be a key to its success. The business will offer a wide selection of pastries and cakes, as well as a large selection of sandwiches.

The space features a bar that will serve specialty cocktails and a bakery that will make different breads and croissants.

Bread & Vine Bakery also will have a catering arm, which he hopes will tap into the sizable number of large gatherings and events in Galena.

Over the course of his life, Bonnetain has lived in multiple major U.S. metro areas and most recently resided in Miami. He now lives in The Galena Territory.

While Bread & Vine Bakery is not planning to open until mid-April, the business already is generating a fair amount of buzz.

“Everywhere I go, every time I walk into a store in Galena, they are asking, ‘When will you open?’” Bonnetain said. “It is crazy the number of people asking about it.”