New physical location of Dubuque BBQ restaurant ‘dream’ for owner

Howling BBQ

Location: 1091 University Ave. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Contact: 563-663-9085 or email

Online: and on Facebook at

A Dubuque man has expanded his barbecue business from a food truck to a physical location.

Howling BBQ opened last week at 1091 University Ave., across the street from Happy Joe’s Pizza. The space was previously the home of Foodie Garage until that eatery moved to 1046 Central Ave. in April.

“It’s a dream come true,” said owner Jonathon Moore. “My wife (Gretchen) and I have been talking about it forever, and we’re happy it finally pulled together.”

Moore said he has been making barbecue for 30 years and has always dreamed of starting his own restaurant.

But it wasn’t until Moore was recovering from surgery in a hospital that he got the idea to start Howling BBQ, which officially launched with a food truck in July 2021.

“I didn’t have the funds or the resources to start my own restaurant,” he said. “I was in the hospital, and the ‘Great Food Truck Race’ was on, and I thought, ‘That’s what I’ll do, I’ll get a food truck.’”

Since then, Moore said he had been keeping an eye out for a physical restaurant space. Moore said he was able to find a Realtor with the help of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, which led to the University Avenue location.

Chamber President Molly Grover said she thinks Howling BBQ will be a good addition to Dubuque’s restaurant scene. She noted that the eatery’s banana pudding, which is made from scratch and includes vanilla wafers, is “to die for.”

“We’re so thrilled to continue seeing small businesses, in particular restaurants, open in our community,” she said. “Having locally-owned restaurants like Howling BBQ really adds to the uniqueness and character and flair of a community, and it certainly makes us a draw to others.”

Howling BBQ’s menu consists of items featuring pulled pork, brisket and ribs. Moore said he is currently still smoking the meat in his food truck but hopes to expand with chicken items after smokers are up and running at the restaurant.

Customers can also choose to have pulled pork or brisket with tacos, quesadillas, nachos, loaded mac and cheese and loaded sidewinder fries. All items come with Moore’s homemade sauce and rub.

“They’ve been 10 years in the making,” Moore said with a laugh.

Howling BBQ is open for both dine-in and takeout, and Moore said he hopes to add delivery in the future. He added that he plans to still run the food truck once the season starts up again in the spring.

Customers can order at the counter or from QR codes located at every table. In addition, customers can order online from home and receive notifications on the status of their order, Moore said.

“We’ve been really busy at times,” Moore said. “I called my wife one day and said, ‘I’m buried, come in here.’ But it’s been going good. It’s a good location. There’s a lot of traffic that goes by.”