800.798.7098   •   563.556.4200
200 Main Street   •   Dubuque, IA 52001

Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. Meet The Team: Sam Feehan

    Name:  Sam Feehan     Sam Feehan Meet The Team

    Title: Chief Engineer        

    Hometown: Dubuque, Iowa      

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? 14 years  

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?
    Please share a little bit about your professional background and what led you to this industry.
    I started working for the hotel prior to the remodel as a busboy in the restaurant when I was 14 years old. Over the years, I have worked in various departments from kitchen, banquet, bar to maintenance.    

    What are you most passionate about professionally?  I strive to provide the best service possible to all who enter the property.    

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? My passion is woodworking, but I also enjoy spending a free weekend with my wife and two kids camping or going out of town.  

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and anything outdoors.      

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? The property overall, this hotel is not a run of the mill hotel. The owners took the time to develop a property that will continue to stand the test of time. The amount of restoration to restore it back to it original grandeur is truly remarkable.

    What is your personal motto? Learn something new everyday.

    Describe your typical work day. My day starts at 7am with a brief walk through of the property to check the systems and operations within the hotel, making note of problems that may have developed. After that is completed, I begin with repairs, routine preventive maintenance, and projects that maintenance is working on. I run shuttles to and from the airport and port of Dubuque. At times, I will be requested to assist banquet groups with audio visual in the banquet rooms. The Maintenance Department is always moving to assist guests and to keep the hotel rooms and the outlets in top condition.

    Please share a go-to fun-fact about yourself. My daughter looks exactly like me when I was 3.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Go Cowboys  

  2. Meet The Team: Chef Jason Culbertson

    Chef Jason Culbertson Meet the TeamName: Jason Culbertson

    Title: Executive Chef

    Hometown: Dubuque, IA

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? Three years this Fall

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque? I began my journey in the culinary arts as a busboy in a restaurant. Eventually I would make my way into the kitchen and worked my way up to management. I felt if I wanted to grow in this industry, I would need to attend culinary school. So in 2005, I enrolled in Le Cordon Blue Culinary School in Minneapolis. While there, I began working at Bearpath Country Club in the Twin Cities. I moved back to the Tri-States to open Potosi Brewing Co. Restaurant and managed the Holiday Gardens Event Center in Potosi, WI. From there, I left to open Woodfire Grille where I stayed until three years ago this fall, when I joined Hotel Julien Dubuque as Executive Chef.

    What are you most passionate about professionally? My passion derives from customer reactions when you take fresh local ingredients and turn them into flavorful works of art that exceed guest expectations.

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? I was blessed with two beautiful daughters, so when I’m not working, I’m spending time with them. My secondary hobbies include bow hunting any and everything!

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Spending time outdoors, whether it is hunting for sheds, morels or just in nature.

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? I love the balance between historic charm and modern refinement.

    What is your personal motto? It’s better to be a lion for a day, than a sheep for all your life.

    Describe your typical work day: It really varies day-to-day and based on business. I could be doing breakfast service one day and dinner service the next. No day is truly the same.

    Please share a go-to fun-fact about yourself. I’m red/green color blind.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Stop in and try out our NEW Dinner menu at Caroline’s Restaurant!

  3. 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!

  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 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, $25 Vino Dock gift card to Riverboat Lounge and a Couples Massage at Potosa Spa! The hunt begins September 6th, 2018.

    Scavenger Hunt Rules:
    1. “Like” and follow Hotel Julien Dubuque on Facebook and/or Instagram.
    2. New clues will be posted every Monday and Thursday, beginning on Thursday, September 6th, 2018 at 10 a.m. CST on the Hotel Julien Dubuque Facebook and Instagram page.
    3. Please refrain from contacting the hotel or hotel staff for clues, as the location is not known by staff.
    4. Use clues to solve the scavenger hunt. The clues will provide information to the grand prize location.
    5. Guessing the location will not be recognized as finding the grand prize.
    6.. Find Your Way To Al’s Place Package awarded to the first person/s who solves the scavenger hunt. Upon finding the prize, please immediately contact the hotel front desk in person.

    Congratulations to Jessica Gamble! She solved the hunt within three clues. Details on where and how she solved the mystery to come! In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the clues…do you know where it was hidden?

    Clue #1: I’ve always been here, never hidden, though still not easily found.

    Clue #2: Wished they would stop, though they just drive by.

    Clue #3: A key will get you there, though it isn’t required.

    Clue #4: I am ok not being part of the Main drag.

    Clue #5: It takes 10 to get there.

    Clue #6: I feel 75% intimidated.

    Clue #7: As the day ages, I get darker.

    Clue #8: Sean Connery used me to scare birds, though I really am meant for other than that.

    Clue #9:Hillbilly Jed had one.

    Clue #10: No matter where I land, I get redirected.

    Clue #11: Let’s go sit out on the deck.

    Clue #12: I’m a Little Teapot, short and stout, here is my handle, here is my spout.

  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. 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.
  10. “Where Mom & Dad Got Married”: The Pints

    “My husband Jeremy and I  [celebrated] our 10th wedding anniversary on April 9th, 2015.  Our wedding reception took place at Hotel Julien and we could not have asked for a better venue!  There was no question as to where our wedding would be and we had not even looked at other places.  In fact, we actually changed our wedding date to correspond with the availability at Hotel Julien.  

    Our wedding reception was one of the last receptions that took place in the ballroom prior to the major renovations that the hotel underwent that same year.  10 years and 4 children later, we still reside in Dubuque.  We often drive by the hotel and the kids always point out that it is the place that mom and dad “got married”.  I hope one day that they can make Hotel Julien part of their wedding day like we did and pass down the same beautiful memories that we have.”

    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” campaign and how you can enter the contest here.