brazen open kitchen dubuque1

Brazen Open Kitchen

Dubuque’s Millwork area once filled with lumber warehouses and turn-of-the-century industry is now an up-and-coming neighborhood going through a complete revitalization, and Brazen Open Kitchen is at the center of it all. Locally owned by Chef Kevin Scharpf, Brazen has been impressing dinner guests with fresh, locally sourced menu items and unique craft cocktails since 2015.

On a corner lot at 10th Avenue and Washington Street in Dubuque, Brazen Open Kitchen’s brick building oozes historical vibes while the inside feels comfortable, hip and fresh. Mixologists are moving and grooving, cranking out craft cocktails from the traditional Manhattan or Old Fashioned to more complex seasonal spirit concoctions like the Open Sesame made with Johnnie Walker Black Scotch, sesame oil, lemon and ginger simple syrup. The bar means business – evidenced by the bright yellow Luxardo cherry tins that adorn the space, a wide selection of bitters and various herbs and artistic garnishes that dress the drink. Brazen also has a great selection of draft beers and an extensive wine list. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at the bar and watch their wizardry in action! The way the team works together so cohesively, one would think they have been doing this for more than 50 years.

brazen open kitchen dubuque interior

Chef Scharpf is the 2019 Iowa Restaurant Association’s Chef of the Year, was a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist in 2022 and competed in season 16 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” His resume is impressive, and it is easy to see why Brazen is such a local gem. Chef’s menu is crafted with careful consideration. and he always keeps it fun and interesting, yet approachable. The from-scratch, open-air kitchen is truly the heart of the operation. The team strives to work with local farmers, suppliers, and growers like City Girl FarmingO’Connell Organic AcresFincel’s Sweet Corn and HillTop Greens, a hydroponic farm in Dyersville to bring the best and freshest possible ingredients to the table.

Each meal starts with rustic bread, but leave room because the dinner experience is one for the ages. Light starter options include soups, salads and unique items like the crispy pig ear with bacon, asparagus, seven-minute egg and hollandaise; a braised leek fondue; or the fresh mouthwatering strawberry and Spanish ham appetizer with stracciatella cheese, arugula, almonds and basil. Pizza flavors are ever changing, but guests can expect delights like the clam and garlic; asparagus and mushroom with white truffle oil, arugula and pine nut; or, the favorite of several staff members, the soppressata and Calabrian chili honey with diablo sauce, mozzarella and basil.

brazen open kitchen dubuque cocktail

Guests cannot go wrong with any of the plates of housemade pasta, especially the braised spring lamb with ricotta gnocchi, bacon, cheese and fresh herbs. Midwest comfort food entrees include shrimp and grits with smoked butter; fried chicken with cornbread and spicy honey; miso-glazed halibut; 20-oz. Iowa ribeye steak; and a yellow curry, chickpea and cabbage vegan option.  

With a plethora of options from first sip to last bite, repeat visits to Brazen Open Kitchen are a must.

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Brazen Open Kitchen is open Tuesday to Saturday, 4:30 to 9 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. The restaurant also offers an online pickup order option for dinner on the go. For more information, visit

955 Washington St. Ste. 101
Dubuque, IA 52001

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