Popular Dubuque eatery to open new location this week

Foodie Garage Eatery

Location: 1046 Central Ave. 

Hours starting April 8: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Phone: 563-845-0131

Online: foodie-garage-eatery.business.site and facebook.com/foodiegaragedbq

Chuck Bowers has seen anticipation growing among customers for the opening of a new location of a popular Dubuque eatery.

“I wish I had a nickel for every time someone stopped by or called,” said Bowers, co-owner of Foodie Garage Eatery.

Foodie Garage Eatery will open its new Central Avenue location on Friday, April 8, with a menu available for both dine-in and carry out.

Owners Chuck and Alysia Bowers opened Foodie Garage at 1091 University Ave. in November 2019. That location closed March 27 in anticipation of the Central Avenue location opening.

“We’re just excited to be back open and see all of our regular customers again,” Alysia said.

The Central Avenue location initially was set to be the second Foodie Garage in Dubuque, and the University Avenue space would have been a takeout spot.

However, Chuck and Alysia decided only to operate one restaurant because of ongoing staffing shortages. It also took about a year for the couple to get the Central Avenue space ready to open because it was hard to find time to be away from their University Avenue restaurant.

“We were running on a skeleton staff,” Chuck said. “My staff are very, very important to me, and I don’t want them to burn out.”

He said the biggest difference between the two locations is the size of the kitchen. At 1,000 square feet, the kitchen at the Central Avenue location is more than double the size of the old one. All of the equipment is brand new, as well.

The seating capacity is similar to that of the previous location, with 10 tables that can seat 44 customers at a time.

Chuck said the restaurant likely will have lines to get a seat, adding that he estimates the eatery was serving 600 to 700 people a day on University Avenue between dine-in and carry-out.

Chuck and Alysia stressed the need for customers to be patient, especially as staff get used to using new kitchen equipment and working in a new space.

“I’d rather have a place be full all the time than have a place half full,” Alysia said. “And I think we’ll be able to turn them out faster eventually. With a bigger kitchen, we’ll be more efficient.”

The new location has the same car theme as the previous one, but all of the tables are new and all of the décor is handmade.

Two of the tables are made from car parts. One booth includes the front of an old Mercury and has car seats instead of traditional booth seating. Another table is propped up on a piece from a 1962 Chevy.

“You’ll never see stuff like this again,” Alysia said. “Everything in here, we designed and built.”

The menu will remain the same as it was at the old location with breakfast options, wraps, salads, steaks and 62 burger options.

“Everything we make is all fresh,” Alysia said. “We hand-cut all the vegetables. If you order a steak, we’re cutting it right off the loin. It makes a big difference.”

Chuck said the restaurant initially started with 24 burgers when he and Alysia opened Foodie Garage, but the list grew to top 60 as he thought up new options.

The burgers even have garnered statewide attention. Both this year and last year, Foodie Garage was voted as having one of Iowa’s top 10 burgers in a list produced by Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. This year’s best burger will be announced next month.

“We hope to be No. 1 this year,” Chuck said. “Last year, we were No. 2.”

Chuck said he is excited for people finally to come in and see the new location, as a lot of work went into creating the space.

“Our goal wasn’t to be bigger,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s better to be the best rather than to be bigger. Our goal is always to have good food, good customer service, good conversation and be a place for people to have fun.”

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