Re:Breitbach's in Balltown to Reopen (Again)
My family had a wonderful evening at Breitbach's this weekend. Sometimes a phenomenal dining experience is more than the sum of its parts; this was one such experience. The food itself was terrific -- the very affordable ($12.95) buffet included outstanding broasted chicken (with ham or roast beef as alternatives), with a host of excellent prepared salads and side dishes (stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc.). The strawberry shortcake for dessert was also delicious. (There is also an a la carte menu of all the Midwestern staples.)
What made the evening so memorable was also the reception we received from Mike Breitbach, the fifth-generation owner, and his dedicated staff. The story they have to tell is an incredible and inspiring tale of heartbreak and hope -- how the 150-year-old restaurant burned down on Christmas Eve 2007, was rebuilt with the help of scores of volunteers, burned again just four months after reopening in 2008, and then was rebuilt again. It is a wonderful story of a dedicated family and a loyal community, who want nothing more than to have a great family restaurant in their lovely small town in northeastern Iowa, about 15 miles northwest of Dubuque. I have been a dedicated Roadfood-er for over 25 years, and have rarely enjoyed a great meal with such inspiration on the side. Anyone within 100 miles of this remarkable restaurant should head straight here for great food and hospitality.