Star Restaurant and Ultra Lounge apparently has closed.

A sign posted on the front door of the Port of Dubuque restaurant, at 600 Star Brewery Drive, says the business is "permanently closed."

Owners Matt and Sarah Kluesner, who also own Crust Italian Kitchen & Bar in downtown Dubuque, did not return multiple calls seeking comment.


Star Restaurant was one of the anchor tenants in the Dubuque Star Brewery, which was renovated in recent years and became one of the major attractions in the redeveloped Port of Dubuque.

The brewery redevelopment project totaled $6.5 million and was led by Wayne Briggs and a group he headed up called Port of Dubuque LLC.

In 2005, as developers searched for tenants for the former brewery, then-city councilwoman Ann Michalski said she was eager to see the project moving along.

"It could be a tremendous attraction," she said. "It is a very notable building."

The Star Restaurant opened in 2007, taking up about 10,000 square feet on the second floor of the building. It included a new patio that provided a view of the river, which Sarah Kluesner told the TH was a part of the project the owners were especially enthusiastic about.

"People from all over the world come and see the Mississippi River. That land up against it is just priceless," she said then.

Matt Kluesner said it was "the perfect location" when they signed a lease in late 2006.

The Kluesners, who previously owned Backstreet Steak and Chophouse in Galena, Ill., said they had been searching for an opportunity to come to Dubuque when the Star Brewery project was announced.

In 2009, Matt Kluesner was charged with bootlegging. More than 350 bottles of alcohol were confiscated from Star Restaurant because the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation claimed they did not have Iowa's tax stamp. Kluesner told the TH that the bottles were delivered without the stickers.

The Kluesners later sued a former Backstreet employee and Galena police officer for defamation.

In late 2010, the Kluesners signed a five-year lease for Star Restaurant.

The TH was unable to reach any of the officials with the Port of Dubuque LLC development group Monday.

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