800.798.7098   •   563.556.4200
200 Main Street   •   Dubuque, IA 52001

Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. Meet The Team: Fiona Howard


    Fiona_Howard_Restaurant_ManagerName: Fiona Howard

    Title: Caroline’s Restaurant Manager

    Hometown: Hanover, IL

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? 3 years

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque? I have loved food, wine and restaurants from the first meal I had in a fine dining establishment. My first job as a busser at Café Italia solidified this love. I continued working in restaurants, resorts and hotels around the country.  During my years in the Hotel Restaurant Management School at Cornell University, I worked at the Statler Hotel as a banquet supervisor.  I can say I have deeply loved every job I have had in the restaurant and hospitality industry.  When I moved to Dubuque three years ago, I started as the Restaurant Supervisor in Caroline’s.  It has been a little over a year since I took over my current position as Restaurant Manager.

    What are you most passionate about professionally? I love food and wine. It is magic for me! When my guests or my team gets that look of awe and surprised delight after experiencing a perfect pairing I want to jump up and down in joy.  Ok, I may have done that once or twice.

    What are you passionate about personally? Words are my personal passion. I write poetry, read books, talk (a lot) and play Boggle with my friends and family. My favorite way to spend a free weekend is to curl up with my cat and read a good book.

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Art Museum, walking around downtown, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, swimming in the river and going to the great restaurants.

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? I love the history and the wonderful people who work here. This is a family and when our guests visit, they join our family for that time.

    What is your personal motto? Moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess!

    Describe your typical work day: I’m typically here in the afternoon, preparing for the evening’s guest. The dinner team starts arriving at 4:00 pm. It’s at that time, we try the feature and choose a wine to pair with it.  We will have a quick pre-shift powwow and open the doors at 4:30 pm. Guests start arriving and I am like the director of a theater production. We have rehearsed and I trust the cast to execute a flawless performance. We smile and dance through the evening with the goal of wowing our audience. Each perfectly poured wine, beautifully presented plate of food and smiling interaction is orchestrated by me. It is like magic! I enjoy speaking to our guests, telling them about local history and everything Dubuque. My team works hard and when they leave at the end of the night, it is with a satisfaction no other industry can give.

    Please share a go-to fun-fact about yourself: I sing Swedish folk songs on command.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Come see me at Caroline’s.  I can’t wait to see you!

  2. Meet the Team: Dan Lott

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque?
     “4 ½ years”

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?
    “I started working here while attending University of Wisconsin Platteville and enjoyed it so much that I decided to stay. I started as a banquet server and was promoted to banquet captain. During that time I was also working security in the Riverboat Lounge, and was later promoted to Interim Head of Security. Then in September of 2016 I accepted the Beverage Manager position.”

    What are you most passionate about professionally? “My favorite part of my job is continuing to grow and learn. I really enjoy discovering new flavor combinations and flexing my creative side to building new and fun cocktails.”

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “Good coffee and an even better book.”

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “Spending Sunday afternoons at Council Hill Station. What draws me to it is its overly casual atmosphere and authenticity of the Americana jam sessions.  Oh, and the beer.”

    What do you enjoy most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? “It’s a big city luxury in a small city location.”

    What is your personal motto? “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

    Please share a fun fact about yourself. “I built my first car engine when I was 16.”

    Contact Dan via email at bevmanager@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at 563.588.5580.  

  3. Meet the Team: Kayla Balke

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I just started my career with Hotel Julien Dubuque in January 2017. I already love it!”

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?
    “I have worked in many different capacities in Hospitality since High School. I have always been drawn to service because of the passionate people one is able to meet on a daily basis. I attended Loras College where I was a member of the Track and Field team majoring in Public Relations. Through my education I developed a great love for event planning and managing.”

    What are you most passionate about professionally? “I am very focused on making positive experiences for clients through creativity. I believe the most effective way to do this is by being obsessive over the details to make an event memorable and personalized.”

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “I enjoy studying trends in art and fashion by reading blogs, magazines and going to shows. I am also a HUGE lover of nature. Anytime I get the chance to get out and go for a run or hike is a good day. My labordoodle, Roman, and family are also a huge part of my life and try a see them a much as possible.”

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “I am from Iowa City so I am a pretty big Hawkeye and Cubbies fan! I love to go out and watch sports with friends. I enjoy going to the Mines of Spain for a hike or to take photos, Brazen to eat dinner, and I absolutely love to spend time with family or friends at Park Farm Winery. Inspire Cafe in the Millwork District is also my go to coffee and hang out space. All of the emerging art galleries are also on my list of things to do very soon! ”

    What do you enjoy most about your position at Hotel Julien Dubuque? “There is so much I like about my job, but I think the best part is working with couples to create an event like none other they will ever have again in their life. It is an honor to be involved in the milestone of marriage!”

    What is your personal motto? “Nothing but your best!”

    Please share a fun fact about yourself. “I have a twin sister, Molly. She is a pretty cool girl.”

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? “Go Duhawks!”

    Contact Kayla via email at weddings@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at 563.588.5568.  

  4. 4th of July Celebrations, 2016

    There’s nothing quite like watching Independence Day fireworks illuminate the sky over the Mississippi River.  For those of you who will be celebrating the Fourth of July in Dubuque this year, here’s a peek at what is going on in the area:

    Saturday, July 2nd:

    1:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Golden Knight Practice Jump, Kennedy Mall
    Complete with military displays, complimentary American flags from Richardson Motors, games for children, and a bounce house from 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm.

    Sunday, July 3rd:

    6:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Salute to Our Heroes Air Show, Lock and Dam No. 11
    Featuring: Air Show Announcer, Military Swearing in Ceremony, Aerostars Demonstration Team, Golden Knights Parachute Team, US Army Special Operations Semi, Mike Wiskus, Lucas Oil Pitts Plane,  US Navy F-18 Hornet, Blackhawk Helicopter, P-51 Mustang, Japanese Zero, De Havilland Vampire Jet, Tribute to our Troops, and Missing Man Formation

    Dusk: Fireworks Spectacular!

    Monday, July 4th:

    7:00 am – 12:00 pm: Dubuque Farmers’ Market
    Iowa’s longest running Farmers’ Market is held around Dubuque’s City Hall, 1300 Iowa St., featuring the area’s finest selection of local produce, meats, wines, cheese, crafts, and more.

    11:00 am – 4:00 pm: Ice Cream Social at the Historic Mathias Ham House
    The Fourth of July Ice Cream Social, sponsored by the Dubuque County Historical Society, celebrates and old-fashioned Independence Day at the historic Ham House by Eagle Point Park. The afternoon event features music, food, tours of the mansion, and historic games for kids. For more information, visit RiverMuseum.com.


    Enjoy family time outside with a historic sightseeing cruise aboard The Spirit of Dubuque paddleboat.

    If you’re looking for something adventurous, consider a scenic hike at Dubuque’s Mines of Spain State Park and be sure to check out Julien Dubuque’s Monument, a National Historic Landmark.

    Take in magnificent views of the city of Dubuque and the Mississippi River by visiting The Fenelon Place Elevator.  Located at 512 Fenelon Place, the Elevator has been described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway at 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place.

    Wishing you a wonderful and safe Fourth of July holiday from Hotel Julien Dubuque!

  5. Find Your Way to Al’s Place

    Hotel Julien Dubuque’s popular summer scavenger hunt is back! Follow our Facebook Page for clues that will lead you to this year’s grand prize — a two-night stay in the Capone Suite, $100 to Caroline’s Restaurant, and a Couples Massage at Potosa Spa!


    CLUE #1 – Coins taste great when people need me.
    CLUE #2 – At times, I can be too big, too small, or just perfect.
    CLUE #3 – Weather doesn’t bother me, though I do need ongoing care.
    CLUE #4 – Hamburgers can be ordered this way and so can I.
    CLUE #5 – Above me and below me changes often.
    CLUE #6 – Taking mine is not good!
    CLUE #7 – What I say always stays in place.
    CLUE #8 – I’d love to help, though I don’t have everything to get started.
    CLUE #9 – Shortest distance is a straight line. I do my best fromPoint A to Point B.
    CLUE #10 – Life is a highway!
    CLUE #11 – In the fall, I appear yellow, then stay through spring.
    CLUE #12 – Swish, swish, swish; Swish, swish, swish; Swish, swish, swish; Wah, wah, wah; Wah, wah, wah; Wah, wah, wah; Move on back; move on back; move on back; Move on back; move on back; move on back; Move on back; move on back; move on back; All through the town.

    Answer: Hotel Julien Dubuque’s shuttle bus!
    How the clues relate: All clues were developed in reference to a bus.

    Congratulations to Ashley, Brian, and Baby Bailey for solving our Summer Scavenger Hunt! After an extensive search, they finally tracked down the grand prize and will now enjoy a two-night stay in the Capone Suite, dinner for two at Caroline’s Restaurant, and a couples massage at Potosa Spa. Great work!

  6. Couple’s Spotlight: Sarah & Scott

    How did you meet?
    Scott and I met at an insurance industry holiday party in 2013.  We work for competing insurance brokerage firms. He approached me to invite me to the after-party at a nightclub in downtown Chicago.  I was very impressed with his classical dance moves!

    Tell us about the proposal!
    On the eve of the Wisconsin Half-Marathon, which would be our first half-marathon together, Scott took me for a carb-heavy dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date, Café Ba-ba-reeba.  After dinner, although I was antsy to prepare for the race, Scott convinced me to go for a stroll in nearby Oz Park.  We sat on a bench, and he rambled on about what a great gal I was.  At first, I thought it was a break-up!  He seemed nervous, though, and I quickly understood that he was about to propose.  I stammered out a “yes”!

    What made you decide to celebrate this special milestone at HJD?
    From my time at Loras College, and visiting family in the area, I had great memories of the Dubuque nightlife. My friends from California and Chicago know I am a big evangelist for the warm people and natural beauty of Eastern Iowa. When we started to look at venues, the Hotel Julien was on our short list, because of the early 20th century architectural accents, and centerpiece in the newly rejuvenated Main Street area.

    What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
    I’m looking forward to that last hour or so of the reception, after Scott and I have had a chance to thank all the attendees and have a glass of champagne.  We can then let loose a bit with our friends and bust a move as husband and wife.

  7. Couple’s Spotlight: Lara & Ron

    How did you meet?
    Lara was in the hospital and Ron was stationed in Germany.  Both were on MilitaryCupid.com and he sent an interest message first.  Lara responded and they started messaging.  They met face to face for the first time after 441 days.  The rest is history.

    Tell us about the proposal!
    Ron wanted to propose in a very permanent place in Platteville.  What better venue than the Platteville “M”.  After all, it didn’t blow away with the tornado of 2014.  The moment was captured on video.  Ron and Lara raced to the first platform.  On bended knee, Ron popped the question. She said, “Yes”

    What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
    We hope our family and friends can have an awesome time with us in a gorgeous ball room with our favorite DJ, Mark Fairchild from EA Entertainment.

  8. The Summer of ‘53

    mcgehe2It was a unique twist of fate that brought Douglas McGehe and his wife, Joan, back to Hotel Julien Dubuque.  Upon overhearing a conversation about a bus tour headed to Dubuque and Galena while visiting the Fort Wayne Zoo in Indiana, Douglas eagerly inquired about reserving seats.  “I was enchanted when I thought of the idea of going back to Dubuque,” Douglas said. “I called [them] right away and said, ‘What do I have to do? I want to go.’”

    Already thrilled about returning to his hometown, Douglas’s excitement grew immensely when he learned that he and his wife would be staying at Hotel Julien Dubuque, the exact location of their wedding reception which was held 64 years earlier.

    Douglas and Joan, both of whom are actively involved in the Towne House community in Fort Wayne, Indiana, recall many fond memories of growing up in Dubuque.  “You know, that’s where I met Joan,” Douglas said. “I graduated high school there. That’s where we were married.  There are a lot of great memories to revisit for us in Dubuque.”

    The couple met at a party in 1953, the very night that Douglas returned home to Dubuque from serving in the military.  Though they both had accompanied other guests to the party, Douglas made a point to introduce himself to Joan and invite her on a date later that week. “We went to Galena and saw a film at the Avalon Theatre… The owner knew that I had just gotten out of the service so they let us into the movie for free,” said Douglas.  “The movie was Moulin Rouge starring José Ferrer and Zsa Zsa Gabor. I took her to the Log Cabin for dinner…Anyway, we got married three months later.”

    Three months was a fast engagement even for the fifties, but Douglas was facing a job transfer from Dubuque to Columbia City and Joan wanted to make the move with him. “I told her about the transfer and she said, ‘I want to go with you’. Well, in 1953, when they say ‘take me with you’, you got married,” Douglas said.

    And fortunately so as Douglas and Joan have since proceeded to enjoy over 64 happy years of marriage, have welcomed and raised two daughters, and have made many amazing memories together.  “We’ve taken kids and adults to Europe three times.   We’ve been to Hawaii four times, taken seven cruises,” Douglas said.  “We’ve done a lot of things – we’re still doing a lot of things.”


    During their recent visit to Hotel Julien Dubuque, the couple enjoyed breakfast in the Harbor Gallery, the very same room where their wedding reception took place 64 years ago. Some highlights of their trip back to Dubuque include touring St. Luke’s church, enjoying a riverboat ride, and visiting Eagle Point Park.  They also took a drive to Galena and visited Log Cabin Steakhouse, the site of their very first date.

    “It was a phenomenal thing that we would end up back in Dubuque,” Douglas said. “I’m 88 years old so it was great to be able to do those things again.  This was just a wonderful opportunity and we enjoyed every minute of it.”

  9. Meet the Team: Diane Kaufman

    Leading a team of over 20 individuals in executing some of life’s most memorable events is no easy task, but Banquet Manager Diane Kaufman’s attention to detail, infectious enthusiasm, bright smile, and enormous amounts of energy make her the perfect person for the job! 

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?
    “I love working with people. My very first job was at a local pizza and kids play place called Kid’s World. I started working there at the age of 14 and worked there until the restaurant closed when I was 18 years old. I moved up to a supervisor at age 16 and was responsible for opening and closing the store, leading other employees, managing the register and taking care of the cash drop at the end of the night. This was one of my favorite jobs as a teenager. I then went to school and obtained a degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005.  I worked as a Domestic Violence counselor from 2005 until 2010.

    When the program I worked for closed due to funding, I decided to go back to school as well as start working as a server in the hospitality industry again since I remembered enjoying it so much. I started as a banquet server at Eagle Ridge and worked my way up to Banquet Captain. I also started working at Hotel Julien Dubuque and worked my way up to Restaurant Supervisor. I then decided to move to Denver where I remained in the hospitality industry working at the Renaissance Hotel as a server and banquet server. Upon returning to Dubuque, I applied for the Banquet Manager in May and here I am.”

    What are you most passionate about professionally? “I am passionate about providing a level of service that is the best possible!  Making people happy and making sure they enjoy themselves while here is what I love to do every day. Not just simply meeting people’s expectations for their particular event, but exceeding those expectations and ‘wowing’ them!”

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “I love to spend time with my friends. I love traveling and exploring new places. I also enjoy swimming, especially in an ocean whenever possible.”

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “Walking down on the river walk and hiking out at the Mines of Spain.”

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I love the people I work with! I have an amazing staff of very unique, interesting young adults who I learn from every day. I also have a supportive management team that I am proud to be a part of. Most of all, I love to work banquet events!! I love to see all the different weddings and work all the different kinds of parties that are booked at the hotel. My job changes every single day which makes things exciting and interesting.”

    What is your personal motto? “Collect moments and memories, not things.”

    As a leader a large team, what strategies do you implement to keep your team motivated and energized? 
    “Make things fun! I have a very unique department where my staff has the ability to be creative and fun in their different job roles. Some staff members like to decorate and that is a huge part of making an event successful. Other staff members enjoy meeting and talk to new people which happens every day while serving the different events. I focus on different staff members interests and abilities and I allow them to be creative and fun with it while executing their job responsibilities.”

    Please share a fun fact about yourself. “I love to sing.”

    Contact Diane via email at banquetmgr@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at 563.588.5575.  


  10. East Coast Meets Midwest: Jenny & Sam

    My husband and I got married on May 21st, 2011 and held our reception at Hotel Julien.  While I’m from Cedar Rapids originally, my husband is from Ohio and we currently reside in the District of Columbia, we decided to get married in Dubuque, in part, because we fell in love with Hotel Julien.  Our wedding celebration was such a wonderful, happy weekend, and we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect venue for us.  For many of our East Coast friends, it was their first trip to the Midwest, and they loved Dubuque and put the Capone Suite to good use.  

    We welcomed our little baby boy into the world 8 months ago today, and we’re looking forward to a trip back to Iowa to celebrate our four year anniversary.  We’re planning to leave the baby with the grandparents to go celebrate a night in Dubuque!
    In celebration of our 100th anniversary, we are looking back at the significant events that have taken place at Hotel Julien Dubuque throughout history. If you were married at the hotel (pre or post-renovation), we would love to hear your story!  Learn more about our “Celebrating Ours, Celebrating Yours” contest and how you can enter here.