Live in Dubuque Iowa or visiting the area? It’s easy to get wrapped up in just eating at the large chain restaurants, they are near all the biggest shopping areas, with the largest car parks. But you’re missing out! There are plenty of independent restaurants in Dubuque in the Downtown Area that are well worth visiting! Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Dubuque Iowa (recommended for choice and quality of food and good service)!
Updated: March 2021
Downtown Restaurants in Dubuque Iowa
River Rock Kitchen and Tap
Location: 450 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001
River Rock Kitchen and Tap is located along Main Street on the ground floor of the Holiday Inn hotel, opposite the Five Flags Center. As someone that misses British chip shop chips (fries), I’m often not much of a fan of American fries, HOWEVER, I loved the fries at River Rock! They are yummy and chunky and look like a potato has been on a spiral cutter (featured image above)! I also had the warm apple tart with ice cream and an actual pint of shandy (half local beer/half lemonade)! Just like the Vue Rooftop in Iowa City (owned by the same group), it also has an outdoor fire pit!
1st & Main
Location: 101 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001
1st & Main is good enough to tell you right where it is located in the name of the restaurant! It’s in the heart of the Dubuque Street Art area and has a sunshine mural painted on the ‘First Street’ side of it! I had the Breakfast Club sandwich (bacon, egg, ham, turkey, lettuce, tomato – with no cheese or aioli) with sweet potato fries! Their breakfast menu looks awesome, how does pancakes with cinnamon custard and pecans sound?…or biscaffles and sausage gravy?!
Shot Tower Inn
Location: 390 Locust St, Dubuque, IA 52001
The Shot Tower Inn is a big building that looks like a wooden cabin, located on Locust Street! It seems to always be PACKED out which can only mean the food is great right?! They mainly serve up pizzas, pasta and burgers, but for me the highlight was the fried ice cream!
Location: 1072 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001
L.May is another restaurant that I featured alongside the Shot Tower Inn as part of my post about the best places for dessert in Dubuque! They partnered with Betty Jane Candies and serve a dessert that’s made using their chocolates! They pride themselves on being locally owned and being able to give back to the community! When you pay the bill, they even tell you the following:
Closed Tuesday & Wednesdays. They also give a 5% discount when paying with cash!
Location: 180 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001
Vinny Vanucchi’s is almost opposite 1st & Main! It specialises in Italian themed dishes such as pizza and pasta. It’s one of the more expensive options but the dishes are a good size and packed with flavour! I had the Spaghetti Olio…which was one of the only cheese-less dishes! I went as part of a large work Christmas meal and we had a whole private room to ourselves which was nice as we didn’t have to worry about disturbing other diners that were after a quiet meal! They also have a 2nd location in Galena Illinois!
The Kitchen Buffet
Location: 301 Bell St, Dubuque, IA 52001
The Kitchen Buffet is exactly what it says on the tin, an all you can eat buffet! It’s located in the Diamond Jo Casino, so you do have to be over 21 to enter as you have to pass through into the actual casino to get to it. You’ll find: soups, salads, chicken, meat carving stations, fish, different types of potato and of course my favourite, the dessert station! The Kitchen Buffet is closed in Mondays. The Casino also has free parking 24hrs a day, 7 days a week!
Yardarm Riverfront Bar & Grill
1201 Shiras Ave Ext, Dubuque, IA 52001, United States
(Open April – October)
If you’re looking for relaxed riverside dining, the Yardarm Riverfront Bar & Grill is a fun choice. It has tiki bar vibes with a large waterfront deck. There’s a large cocktail menu and food options are mainly appetisers, burgers and wraps. During the summer months they have live music.
Millwork District Restaurants
Brazen Open Kitchen & Bar
Location: 955 Washington St Suite 101, Dubuque, IA 52001
I make it no secret that I love Dubuque’s Millwork District! As I mentioned in a previous post, there were NO freezers at Brazen! They pride themselves on using only the freshest ingredients! Their burgers are massive and their fries are actually potato wedges so that makes me a happy customer!
7 Hills Brewing Company
Location: 1085 Washington St, Dubuque, IA 52001
7 Hills doubles up as a brewery as well as being a restaurant. You can even watch the workers checking the equipment and it has a very unique smell! I loved their pretzel crust pizza! The pizzas at 7 Hills are made on a base that tastes just like a giant soft pretzel! It does mean that even a small pizza is very filling!
Related Reading: A Guide To Dubuque Iowa Breweries
Parking in Dubuque
For the most part, the restaurants in Downtown Dubuque have on street metered parking. However the meters are free on Sundays and after 5pm Monday to Saturday. There are parking garages nearby too or you could park for free down near the Mississippi River Museum and then walk back across the bridge, which comes out on Main St.
Restaurants in the Dubuque Business District
Dubuque Mining Company
555 John F Kennedy Rd #600, Dubuque, IA 52002, United States
Located next to Kennedy Mall is the Dubuque Mining Company. They serve up appetisers, burgers, sandwiches and dinners, including a giant pork tenderloin! Their cocktails are also served in mason jars.
Chain Restaurants in Dubuque
Some of my favourite chain restaurants in Dubuque include:
Red Robin: 2775 NW Arterial, Dubuque, IA 52002
Buffalo Wild Wings: 2805 NW Arterial, Dubuque, IA 52002
Texas Roadhouse: 845 Wacker Dr, Dubuque, IA 52002
HuHot Mongolian Grill: 555 JF Kennedy Rd #685, Kennedy Mall, Dubuque, IA 52002
The Barrel House: 299 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001
Restaurants Near Dubuque
Timmerman’s Supper Club – Illinois
Location: 7777 Timmerman Dr, East Dubuque, IL 61025
Timmerman’s Supper Club do an AMAZING Sunday Brunch and are literally just a short drive across the river in East Dubuque, IL. There have all the usual breakfast choices, including a live omelette station, as well as a lunch station, fruit/veg/salad bar and a HUGE selection of pies for dessert! Part of its draw, is that it sits up on top of a bluff so has some great views!
(Looking back towards Dubuque)
Typically I visited on the morning of the first winter snow and no word of a lie, the hill leading up to Timmerman’s was the CLEAREST road out of all of them! You can’t deny people their breakfast buffets!! It is expensive but worth it for a treat 🙂
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