The Norwegian culture flourishes in Decorah, Iowa as seen in the folk art, embroidered costumes and theater troupes. Many citizens speak with the drawn-out vowels of a Norwegian brogue. Descendants of the original Norwegians that settled in Decorah often prepare traditional dishes eaten by the Norwegian families that settled in the area centuries ago.
Located at 117 West Water Street, in the beautiful Norwegian town of Decorah is the romantic Rubaiyat Restaurant. The restaurant is named after a book of poetry written over 1,000 years ago by Omar Khayyam, a Persian gentleman. The owners, Andy and Kim Bonnet, believe that poems are an acknowledgment to enjoying life and seizing the most from each day. The owner’s creed is transferred to the atmosphere of the restaurant, thus the name Rubaiyat.
The building was completed in the 1890’s and reflective of the architecture of the time period. Over the years, the building was home to a number of businesses including a drug store, jewelry store, hardware store, a mail order dry goods store and even a speak-easy during prohibition. After purchasing the building in 2007, the owners uncovered the original tin ceiling and the brick walls. Fortunately, the original front doors were located upstairs and restored to their former splendor.
The restaurant offers local flavors skillfully prepared by Chef Andy. The menu reflects his diverse culinary influences, including Norwegian. Chef Andy obtains high-quality food products and purchases locally when available. The restaurant boasts a large wine and beer list, as well as serving martinis. Happy Hour is from 5pm - 6pm Wednesday through Saturday. The restaurant offers a party room that will host an event for up to 50 people. As online reservations are not accepted, guests should call 1-563-382-WINE (9463) to reserve a table or schedule the party room.
A favorite appetizer of regular diners are the shrimp wraps with blueberry pomegranate dipping sauce. Also, the smoked organic chicken wings drenched in smokehouse maple rub and sriracha bourbon sauce appetizer is sure to delight the taste buds. The honey garlic rubbed Norwegian salmon served with lobster ravioli and French fried onions is an excellent main course for diners wishing to experience the Norwegian cuisine that draws visitors back to Decorah again and again. Rubaiyat Restaurant’s menu may be viewed in its entirety on the website.
*The picture is courtesy of http://www.Rubaiyat Restaurant.com.