Well-known Dubuque chef, restaurant owner buys Galena eatery

Otto’s Place

ADDRESS: 100 Bouthillier St., Galena, Illinois

HOURS: Otto’s Place is currently closed during the ownership transition but will reopen on Thursday, Dec. 8. The restaurant will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

PHONE: 815-776-0240


https: facebook.com/OttosPlace

GALENA, Ill. — The owner of a popular Dubuque restaurant has taken the helm at a Galena eatery.

Kevin Scharpf, owner and chef at Brazen Open Kitchen + Bar in Dubuque, is the new owner of Otto’s Place in Galena, along with his wife, Lyndsi Scharpf.

The couple and their two children live in Galena, and the restaurant at 100 Bouthillier St. has become their go-to spot for a family breakfast, according to Kevin Scharpf.

“We’ve loved (Otto’s Place) for many, many years, so … this means a lot to my wife and I,” he said of the purchase. “This restaurant’s far more than just a restaurant. It’s our first opportunity to really be able to be a part of that Galena experience, which is really exciting to us.”

Scharpf appeared on the Bravo television reality show “Top Chef” in 2018 and also was a semifinalist for the top chef in the Midwest in this year’s James Beard Awards. He is also the co-founder of the Dubuque-based nonprofit Project Rooted and the owner of Birds. food truck.

Otto’s Place opened in 2011, according to former owner Megan Carter, who assumed ownership of the restaurant in 2019. She said the restaurant’s original owners named it in honor of former Galena resident Otto Sallman, who constructed the building in 1899 and reportedly wanted to open a restaurant there but never had the chance to do so.

Carter said 90% of the restaurant’s menu items are made from scratch, and the eatery has become well known for its biscuits and gravy, egg tacos, quiche and corned beef or sweet potato hash.

When she started to consider selling the restaurant this year, she approached the Scharpfs and was delighted when they accepted.

“They had frequented Otto’s, and it sounded like that place was really special to them,” Carter said. “I’m glad that they’re the new owners, and I think they can really take it to the next level, culinary-wise. I think this will be great for them, great for the restaurant and great for Galena. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Scharpf said he doesn’t plan to make major changes to the current Otto’s menu and atmosphere, although he eventually hopes to add dinner service to the restaurant’s offerings.

“We want to respect its history and all the amazing things that all the previous owners have done, and we also want to come in and make it a little bit of ours, too,” he said, later adding, “We want to be a reliable place for breakfast or lunch that you can count on, a place that becomes a family favorite.”