Biz Buzz: Dubuque food truck offers bold flavors; coffee shop opens in SW Wisconsin; new life for old cabin

business tips sought

Do you have an interesting story or news tip to share about a local business? Ideas can be shared with business editor Jeff Montgomery by calling 563-588-5753 or by emailing

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In this edition, we highlight developments in Dubuque; Cuba City, Wis.; and St. Donatus, Iowa.

A Dubuque business that focuses on unique offerings and bold flavors has expanded its local presence with the recent launch of a food truck.

Versus, which specializes in Asian-style street food, debuted its food truck on Wednesday, according to co-owner Lucas Miller. He emphasized that the business aims to push the boundaries of customers’ culinary expectations.

“What people can expect is something different than what they are used to,” he said. “The whole concept behind the business is ‘our flavors versus your taste buds.’”

Miller said he hatched that general concept years ago with the help of his late friend, Sam Ellerbeck, who remains an inspiration for the business years after he died.

Miller operates Versus along with his wife, Liberty Miller, and his best friend, Ken Giang.

The eatery has been serving local residents since 2019, primarily doing business out of a 10-foot-by-10-foot tent that popped up at various local events and festivals.

The food truck will allow Versus to reach new clients, Miller said.

It already has set up shop in the Port of Dubuque and outside of Kava Kafé on Dubuque’s North End. It will continue to seek out new destinations.

“We’re looking for any place that has high visibility and good foot traffic,” Miller said.

Specialties of Versus include its Vietnamese egg rolls, a Filipino rice bowl and a Banh Mi sandwich served on a French baguette.

Miller believes area residents slowly but surely are coming around to the idea of trying new foods that come from different parts of the world.

“People were a little skeptical at first,” Miller said. “We’ve had to push people to try different things. But we have started getting busier over time and more people are taking a liking to it.”

Versus can be reached at 563-663-6113. Customers can follow the business at

Meeting a need

A husband-and-wife duo is meeting a community need with the recent opening of a coffee shop in Cuba City.

Steve and Gina Curran opened Java Jeeves at 301 S. Main St. last week, according to Steve Curran. The Currans decided to open the business after a recent community survey revealed that a new coffee shop was in high demand among local residents.

So far, Cuba City residents have responded to the business just as the Currans had hoped.

“People have been very, very receptive,” Steve said. “They’re impressed with what we’ve done to the building and they’re glad we are here. This community was definitely waiting for a coffee shop.”

Java Jeeves also serves a variety of food, with an emphasis on breakfast items. Croissants, muffins, breakfast burritos and a sausage-egg-and-cheese biscuit are among the staples.

The Currans bring a wealth of business experience to the table. They have owned a construction company for the past 22 years and owned a bar for 15.

Steve is thankful that these joint entrepreneurial efforts have resulted in even more time with his spouse.

“I am working with my best friend,” he said. “We have done this together for a long time now.”

Java Jeeves opens at 6:30 a.m. daily. It closes at 1:30 p.m. on weekdays and will shut down slightly earlier on Saturdays and Sundays.

New life for old cabin

A St. Donatus resident with a fondness for old homes has given a historic log cabin a new lease on life. And now, he is sharing the home with guests who want to experience a stay of their own.

Steve Ehlinger opened Woodenhead cabin to guests in November, nearly two years after he initially discovered the structure in Bernard, Iowa. The log cabin, which was constructed in the 1840s, immediately captured his attention.

“I really like older homes,” Ehlinger explained. “I live in an old stone house from the 1800s that I bought back in 1980. Historic homes have always interested me.”

In January 2020, when Ehlinger first happened upon the cabin, crews were in the beginning stages of demolishing it. He quickly came to an agreement to buy it, saving the home from its impending demise.

Ehlinger arranged for the cabin to be transported to St. Donatus in August 2020, relocating the home to its current address at 105 Dubildchen Drive. He then dove into the lengthy renovation process.

“There was a lot to be done,” he said. “We had to redo all the chinking between the logs, put in new floor systems, a new roof, new windows and doors.”

He also constructed an additional bathroom and attached a two-car garage to the cabin.

In the brief time it has been open to customers, Ehlinger has received positive feedback. He believes that the property gives customers a chance to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life and enjoy a more peaceful environment.

“It has a nice hillbilly vibe, being out in the country,” Ehlinger joked. “It is also very welcoming and cozy inside.”

Ehlinger has worked closely with his son, Alec Ehlinger, to get Woodenhead up and running. Alec now serves as the manager of the property.

Woodenhead can be reached at 563-599-4683.