Most people in Dubuque are sure to remember the name, Crust. If they didn’t pay a regular visit to this Italian restaurant, then they will have walked past it on Main Street. The crust was a big part of the dining scene in the area for five years. It made the most of its prominent position in town and drew in couples, local families and people on day trips to the city. It was regularly busy as keen patrons tried new dishes or returned for old favourites. It also got its fair share of positive and negative reviews.
My kids loved making a mess at the pasta bar and enjoyed the deserts. My wife appreciated the chance to try new flavours and pizza combinations at a fair price. I was merely a creature of habit that went back for appetizers and signature dishes that I had grown to love. We cannot enjoy those meals anymore, but we still remember them fondly and have taken to trying to recreate them at home.
The Range Of Reviews That The Crust Kitchen And Bar Received Over Those Five Years Show That We Are Not Alone.
The reviews about Crust are pretty mixed. For every local like me that appreciated everything that the establishment was trying to do, there was someone that didn’t. There are some that criticized the shabby feel of the décor while others felt that it was welcoming. The food was not five star, but there was the choice. Many came for the pizza and pasta but found themselves won over by the interesting starters. There were also mixed comments on the price, even though we always felt that it was affordable and fair.
The location of Crust was a significant factor in its success over the years, but the biggest draw was the food. Many happy reviewers talk about the pizza and specialty dishes. The pasta was not the best in the world, but the pizza was the best in Dubuque. Just before Crust closed, one reviewer said that “Their pizza menu is extensive and has some fresh options. Three Little Pigs is my favorite. Great wine list too”. The drinks menu is something that I don’t see mentioned so often. Perhaps we are all too busy celebrating the food. There was always a good selection of drinks on offer for the whole family. I never had to settle for a basic red or a bland beer.
Some buyers were less than impressed with the atmosphere of this restaurant, although I am not sure what they expected. The basic information about Crust clearly states that this was a child-friendly restaurant with a casual feel. There was a full bar for local couples that wanted a drink. Children were tolerated, and it was never too noisy. One analyst stated that “the staff was very friendly, and it seems like a good place to go with a group.” This raises an interesting point. I often heard that Crust was best for group lunches and a casual family affair. Few people chose the place for an intimate, romantic date.
This atmosphere was enhanced by the service of the food. Some people had trouble with slow service and problem orders. However, Crust were always happy to train up the new staff that had the right demeanor. I could forgive a misplaced drink if there were an apology and a smile. One visitor from out of town mentioned that the “service was attentive but not overly. The place was clean and quiet”. This shows that while mistakes were made, the team was generally in good form.
This comment from a Dixon resident sums the place up nicely “Great location, friendly service, social atmosphere and delicious food. Definitely will be visiting again and cannot recommend highly enough.” Many of us became regulars for a good reason. We could always be sure that everyone had been well-fed and could settle the bill without groaning. Some felt that the takeaway charges were a little steep but we always felt that the in-house prices were fair.
Crust Kitchen And Bar Closed In February This Year And Many Of Us Are Still Noticing Its Absence.
The crust was a massive part of the downtown scene in Dubuque, and its absence is still noticeable. The real void in Main Street has since been filled with a new restaurant, but it is not the same. It didn’t take long for a new owner to take over the property. The Barrel House now serves a range of exotic dishes there, as they expand their territory. The bones of the building and that prime location mean that it wasn’t a surprise that it was snapped up so quickly. We just didn’t get long to deal with the passing of Crust.
The closure of the restaurant was announced in February. Space was bought out in April, and the transformation was completed over the summer. We have been back and had an excellent meal at The Barrel House. The only problem was that we found ourselves making comparisons to the old site. It was like going back to a childhood home after the new owners gutted your old bedroom. The departure of Crust was sad and sudden. The reports claimed that the owner was offered a new position in Chicago and only felt it was time to move on. Five years is a long time in the restaurant game, so she was probably right. Sadly, within those five years, Crust kitchen and bar had become something of an institution in the area.
Now, All That We Can Do Is To Celebrate Crust And Share Our Fond Memories Of The Place.
Out-of-towners took pleasure in writing their negative reviews about the food and vibe of this restaurant. We appreciate that Crust never offered the standard of fine dining that some were after, but that was never the point. They still provided a great meal with great choices and catered for families in a way that “better” establishments cannot match. Many of us miss Crust for their amazing pizzas, those signature dough balls and the general atmosphere of the place. Ordering a takeaway pizza on the weekend just doesn’t provide the same experience.