“Every time I come here, I feel like I’m somewhere on vacation,” said one of Charlotte’s fans.

The feeling of being on vacation might come from the unique West-Coast-inspired menu or the cool interior vibe of large-scale artwork, intimate spaces, and original brick walls. Yet, Charlotte’s also possesses a “warm, homey atmosphere,” according to the owner Cheryl Rusk. Referring to Charlotte’s as the “living room of the community,” Cheryl says, “it’s a happy place” where “everyone gets along.” Most rewarding for Cheryl is hearing customers talking and laughing. Charlotte’s is most definitely a place to enjoy and relax; time seems to slow down a bit when one enjoys one of Cheryl’s delicious lattes or other specialty beverages.

Ownership, however, has not been a utopia for Cheryl. Tragedy struck on August 31, 2018 when a fire caused extensive damage to both buildings, causing Charlotte’s to close for thirteen months. Turning adversity into opportunity, Cheryl made several changes to the restaurant: adding a four-season porch, an upstairs ‘library’ for overflow, and a charming alcove (previously outdoor space between the two buildings).

Streamlining the menu also happened post fire. While the menu at Charlotte’s is not large, the options are unique and many cannot be found elsewhere. The food menu offers breakfast burritos, toasts, paninis, salads, acai bowls, a Keto bowl, and a soup of the day. Their drink menu offers a variety of espresso options, cold drinks (both coffee options and smoothies), specialty drinks, and non-coffee beverages. Of course, a major part of Charlotte’s is her signature pastries.

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Residing in Dubuque, Sandra and Jim Evans have been married for 30 years and have raised two daughters. Currently, Sandra enjoys retirement, having taught upper-level high school English courses for 21 years in Southwest Wisconsin. As a “foodie,” she enjoys spending time in her kitchen cooking and loves to grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in her backyard. Jim teaches marketing courses at Dubuque Senior, where he has taught for the past 35 years. He also teaches a college-level Customer Service class through NICC. Both Jim and Sandra enjoy dining out and trying new restaurants, which make them a good fit for the restaurant reviews.


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