TH EXCLUSIVE: Deli, grocery store, bakery to open in historic Dubuque building

A local developer plans to open a deli, grocery store and bakery at the site of a historic Dubuque building.

Tim Conlon, president and CEO of Conlon Construction Co., envisions a new deli and grocery store at 620 S. Grandview Ave., along with a bakery at the nearby building located on 333 Bryant St.

Conlon described the project as an effort by him and his family to restore the historic structure at 620 S. Grandview Ave., first built in 1891, to something closer to its original identity.

“We’re going to take it back to incorporate all the details that had been there in the past,” he said. “It was a grocery store when I was growing up there. It’s part of the history of people who grew up there.”

Conlon purchased the building popularly known as the “Milk House” early last year after the former business occupying it — Milk House Artisan Eatery, Baked Goods & Catering — closed after permit issues came to light amid pushback from neighbors over the business’ planned expansion.

Conlon said the new business he has planned for the historic building would sell coffee, deli sandwiches and a variety of grocery goods, including olive oil, cheese, produce and dairy products, along with serving a selection of wines and beers.

Conlon also purchased the property located just north of the Milk House building, which will serve as the site of an accompanying bakery, while offices will occupy the bakery’s second floor.

The project will include an extensive renovation and restoration of the Milk House building, including adding a small expansion on its western side to allow for patron seating.

“We would have an attached room that would provide minimal seating, so people can eat a sandwich at the deli,” Conlon said. “It’s not going to be a full-service restaurant. It’s a deli with seating.”

Conlon said he intends to demolish the current building at 333 Bryant St. and construct a new one in its place for the bakery.

Conlon said that with the new business, he plans to avoid the issues faced by the previous business that drew complaints from nearby residents.

Prior to the closing of Milk House Artisan Eatery, neighbors said the business created several problems related to parking, noise and garbage.

Conlon said he intends to work closely with neighbors to ensure that all of their concerns are addressed. Along with sending out letters to surrounding residents, he held a community meeting at the Milk House earlier this month to discuss his plans.

He said he ultimately sees the business as a local amenity more than a citywide attraction.

“We want to be able to serve people who walk through the neighborhood and live here,” he said. “We want to take it back to the local grocery store idea.”

Charles Lane, who lives near the Milk House on South Grandview Avenue, said he was unaware that another business is planned at the historic building but that he hopes it avoids the problems he experienced with the previous business.

“It would get to a point where there was no parking available at all,” Lane said. “That is something I don’t want to see happen again.”

A pair of requested zoning changes related to the development are expected to be considered in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, May 26, the Dubuque Zoning Board of Adjustment will review a requested variance to allow for a planned unit development zoning for the property.

On June 1, the city’s Zoning Advisory Commission will vote on a request to rezone the Milk House property from neighborhood commercial and moderate density multiple-family residential to planned commercial. If the commission agrees to recommend the rezoning, it would come before the Dubuque City Council.

If the zoning changes are approved, Conlon said he anticipates construction will begin early this summer, with a planned opening of the new business sometime in spring 2023.

Conlon estimated that about five employees per shift will be needed to run the business and projected that about 20 people total will be hired.