Biz Buzz: New clubhouse unveiled; coffee shop to open 2nd location in Dubuque; outdoor dining event set for downtown

The new clubhouse at Lacoma Golf Club in East Dubuque, Ill., offers an outdoor patio as one of its new features. PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Kettering

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from around the tri-states each Monday. This week, we highlight developments in Dubuque and East Dubuque, Ill.

Crews recently completed a new clubhouse at Lacoma Golf Club in East Dubuque, marking another major milestone as the business recovers from a devastating fire in January 2019.

Co-owner Sarah Cunningham said the new clubhouse is roughly the same size as the one that was destroyed. However, the new space — which is all located on one level — is laid out in a far more efficient way that allows patrons to get around with greater ease.

It features a full kitchen, an outdoor patio, a pro shop and a banquet space capable of serving 100 people.

“From the sneak peeks that customers have had, they have given us some really great feedback,” said Cunningham. “They’re excited to have a new space that was designed in a smart way.”

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, officials at Lacoma erected a pole barn that served as a temporary clubhouse. Cunningham said officials will continue to use this structure as a facility that can host larger banquets and events.

Throughout the current

season, the spread of COVID-19 has forced Lacoma to adopt strict limitations.

Many of these recently eased, but Cunningham said it still isn’t business as usual: Tee times are spaced out further than usual, and golf carts can only be used by one person at a time.

Access to the new clubhouse also has been impacted. Customers only can enter the pro shop in small numbers and are required to wear masks; the bar must be accessed via a walk-up window; and the food can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio.

“We thought there’d be a big celebration,” she said. “Instead, we have just quietly moved in.”

Even so, she is confident people will enjoy the new space even more once they fully experience it.

“This was a rare opportunity to create something brand new, and we knew exactly what we wanted and needed to do with it,” Cunningham said.

Lacoma Golf Club can be reached at 815-747-3874.

NEW COFFEEHOUSE LOCATION

Lacoma isn’t the only business pushing forward in the aftermath of a fire.

Tim Rusk, general manager of Charlotte’s Coffee House in Dubuque, confirmed it will open a new coffee shop at the corner of University Avenue and North Grandview Avenue about mid-summer.

The new shop will be located in Hartig Drug, 1600 University Ave. It will feature a walk-up, indoor counter as well as a drive-thru option.

This will be the second location for Charlotte’s Coffee House, which will continue to operate at 1104 White St. The location was severely damaged by a fire in the summer of 2018 but reopened the following summer.

“With COVID, I think a lot of people are trying to get back to normal, but we’re all realizing it is going to be a new normal,” Rusk said. “A lot more people might find a drive-thru — and that convenience factor — to be more appealing these days.”

Four or five new employees will be hired to staff the new location.

It will be open seven days per week and feature the full menu of beverages available at the White Street location, with the exception of alcoholic drinks. The food menu will be “slightly reduced” but still feature favorites such as paninis, acai and burritos.

“We’ll have the same level of quality here,” said Rusk.

OUTDOOR DINING EVENT planned

An upcoming series of outdoor dining events aims to aid local restaurants struggling amid the pandemic.

Dubuque Main Street announced an “outdoor dining series” that will take place on five days later this month. On each occasion, a different portion of the downtown will be closed to traffic, allowing restaurants in that stretch to expand seating into the street.

Michaela Freiburger, a program specialist for Dubuque Main Street, thinks the event will be a hit for restaurants and customers alike.

“This hasn’t been done yet in Dubuque on this scale,” she said. “But we think that getting these people outside in June will be a great opportunity.”

Each outdoor dining event will stretch from noon until 7:30 p.m. The first one is slated for Friday, June 19, while others will be held on Saturday, June 20; Sunday, June 21; Thursday, June 25; and Friday, June 26.

The outdoor dining events will take place in various locations throughout the downtown, including portions of Main Street and the Millwork District.

Freiburger hopes these events provide a shot in the arm for struggling local eateries.

“Many restaurants still are not opening for dine-in customers, and many have a capacity that isn’t anywhere close to normal,” she said. “In a lot of cases, they’ve gone from having a large staff to only having the owners running the show.”

Specifics on the location of each outdoor dining event, as well as the restaurants participating, will be updated at downtowndubuque.org by Tuesday, June 9.