Timmerman's Supper Club has been serving the Tri-State area of NE Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois for nearly 50 years. It had been a LONG time since I was last in the place and when Cindy and I were up in Galena for her birthday, we decided to head to Timmerman's for their famous Sunday morning brunch. Cindy's not big on buffet brunches, but the selection is so extensive at Timmerman's brunch that we knew we couldn't go wrong.
Bob and Helen Timmerman met in the mid-30's and married soon after. Not long after World War II broke out, they opened a bar in Happy Corners, WI. In 1943, they had a chance to buy the Chateau Supper Club just north of Dubuque and they moved over there. The Chateau was a favorite place for receptions and parties and the place was known for Helen's fried chicken.
Nearly 15 years after opening the Chateau Supper Club, they leased the Circle in East Dubuque, offering fine dining and live music. In 1961, they built Timmerman's Supper Club in its current location, high on a bluff overlooking the meandering Mississippi River (see map). Timmerman's opened Labor Day weekend in 1961 and featured live jazz trios playing on a regular basis.
Timmerman's modernistic architecture style brought in customers from miles around as it was always busy. One Saturday evening in the 1960's, Timmerman's served over 900 meals in their dining room. It was quite the goldmine for the Timmerman family.
However, in 1970, Bob Timmerman passed away and Helen kept running the day-to-day operation. The road up to Timmerman's opened the top of the hill for development and along with a number of commercial businesses that built new buildings on top of the hill, Helen Timmerman opened Timmerman's Motor Inn (now called Timmerman's Hotel and Resort) at the opposite end of the parking lot. Helen Timmerman retired from the business in 1985 and passed away in 2002. The Timmerman family sold the restaurant and the hotel and the two are now run as separate entities.
I'd been to Timmerman's a couple times before years ago when I took two separate Dubuque-area dealers out to dinner in the 80's and 90's. Cindy had been there before, as well, and she said it was probably back in the mid-80's for her. Timmerman's main menu focuses on steaks, fish and seafood, pasta, chops and, of course, Helen's original recipe fried chicken. One of their features which I've had in the past is their Pork Normandy - pork loin medallions that are covered with a wild mushroom, shallot and pea pod cream sauce. It's damn good, I'm tellin' ya.
Timmerman's Sunday buffet has an omelet bar, fresh sliced ham or roast beef, breakfast and lunch dishes, pastries, fruit, salads and even tacos. It was packed around 11 a.m. when we showed up, but with Timmerman's large dining rooms (they can seat about 350 people) we were able to be seated right away, albeit at a table not next to a window with a panoramic view of the river. Our waitress came around to take our drink orders and she invited us to go to the buffet at any time.
While the buffet is huge, there's still a long line of people milling about the two sided buffet. Quite honestly, I was still pretty stuffed from our dinner from the night before at Fried Green Tomatoes. I knew that if I had enough food at Timmerman's I wouldn't eat the rest of the day (and I didn't).
The line for the omelet bar was pretty long, about 8 or 9 people deep and the guy could only make four omelets at a time. I opted for Timmerman's Eggs Benedict, a slice of roast beef and a slice of ham, and some of their bacon and sausage. Cindy got a slice of roast beef, some potatoes and some scrambled eggs.
Quite honestly, the roast beef was overcooked and dry. The ham was good, however, and for a buffet Eggs Benedict, it wasn't bad. We went back one more time to try some other things that were on the buffet, but I had another slab of ham to go along with some veggies off the relish tray they had. I also had one of their cinnamon rolls which wasn't that bad.
Overall, I'd give Timmerman's an above average rating for their Sunday brunch buffet, mainly due to the large selection of food they have. In fact, they may have too much food. If they'd cut back on some items and focus on others it could be a lot better. But I don't think that Timmerman's would do that.
As Cindy and I were talking the night before, we're not that far away from Timmerman's and the Galena area. It's just about an hour drive from our home to Timmerman's Supper Club and we agreed that when the weather turned nice we were going to make the trek up to East Dubuque and order a meal off the menu. I'm hoping it's just as good as I remember from years ago.