Biz Buzz: Longtime friends to open deli; Dubuque insurance company moves; Maquoketa bar revamped

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In this edition, we highlight developments in Elizabeth, Ill., and Dubuque and Maquoketa, Iowa.

Two Jo Daviess County women with a shared dream of owning their own business will open a deli next month in Elizabeth.

Carrie Clark, of Galena, and Susan Hanley, of Elizabeth, will open Lola’s Deli at 102 N. Main St. in mid-January. The restaurant will offer sliced-to-order deli meats and cheeses, sandwiches and salads, as well as breakfast items, such as omelets, breakfast sandwiches and burritos.

Longtime friends Clark and Hanley were chatting casually during a golf outing when they realized their shared goal to open a business.

“I told her I had this idea for a sandwich shop and I was thinking about a deli, and it turned out Susan had the same vision,” Clark said. “She always wanted to have her own place.”

After considering locations in Galena, the pair found an ideal site in Elizabeth. The building previously served as the longtime home of Welcome Inn, a popular restaurant that closed in 2019.

Clark said the friends hope to fill a niche for Elizabeth-area customers by providing more local, fresh food options. They also envision the deli as a breakfast or lunch stop for tourists and those visiting from the Chicago area.

“They can stop here, and we can fill their stomachs with great food,” Hanley said.

The name Lola’s Deli stands for “Laugh Often, Love Always,” a positive motto that the two women hope to embody with their business.

“We built it into our philosophy and what we want this place to represent for ourselves and our customers and our community,” Hanley said. “We want people to come back again and again and feel welcome and that this is a great place to visit.”

Tentative hours of operation for Lola’s Deli will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. To track the progress of the deli as it prepares to open, visit facebook.com/LolasDeliOfficial.

DUBUQUE INSURANCE COMPANY MOVES

By the end of the week, a Dubuque insurance company will operate out of a new location.

Friedman Insurance Assured Partners, formerly located at 880 Locust St., is moving to 501 Bell St. Company officials aim to be settled in their new location by Thursday, Dec. 30, according to President Scott DeSousa.

He noted that the move is “bittersweet,” as the insurance company has operated in Dubuque’s downtown district for more than 60 years. But the business’ expanding workforce prompted the need for more space, spurring the move to the Port of Dubuque area.

“We’ve been growing quite a bit, and we’ve added quite a number of employees, so we’re kind of outgrowing our space,” DeSousa said. “This (new location) will give us room to grow.”

He said the company has 42 employees, and he would like to see that number increase to about 55 by the end of 2022.

Friedman Insurance’s new site is on the fourth floor of the Bell Street building, which also houses educational publisher McGraw-Hill. However, the insurance company will temporarily operate on the third floor while renovations are finalized, including the addition of a conference room and updates to the reception area.

Friedman Insurance can be reached at 563-556-0272.

MAQUOKETA BAR COMPLETES RENOVATIONS

A historic hotel in Maquoketa recently completed a major renovation of its bar and event space.

The Decker House Hotel opened The Maquoketa Cave, a bar on the hotel’s lower level, last month.

Leslie Jacobsen, bar manager and events coordinator, said the hotel has been in operation since 1875. Over the years, its many owners operated the bar under various names, from The Buffalo Room to The Dugout to The Den.

She said current owner Nathan Woodward, who purchased the hotel in December 2020, undertook a “massive remodel” of the bar beginning in January.

The 11-month renovation included updates to plumbing and electricity, the installation of hand-printed, period-appropriate wallpaper and the addition of restored antique booths and an old beer cooler from the hotel’s former days.

“It was a lot of black, dark colors, so this really brightened up the space,” Jacobsen said. “ … A lot of thought went into the renovation … about what would make for a really nice experience for customers.”

The Maquoketa Cave offers a small-plate food menu, with options such as meat and cheese platters and house-made soup. Jacobsen said hotel staff soon plan to introduce pizza as well.

On the drink menu, patrons can choose from local and nonlocal wines and beers, including options from Maquoketa Brewing. Cocktails and martinis are also available, along with nonalcoholic beverages, such as coffee, hot chocolate and root beer.

Jacobsen said The Maquoketa Cave offers karaoke every Friday night and hosts live comedians on the third Saturday of each month.

“We’re trying to bring a facet of the food and beverage and entertainment industry that Maquoketa doesn’t really have right now, and we hope that people appreciate that,” she said.

The Maquoketa Cave is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and 4 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The business can be reached at 563-652-1875.