history

THE PASSION

history

At Rubaiyat, we feature a seasonal American menu, emphasizing straight - forward, approachable cuisine that both looks and tastes clean and composed.  This means simply but skillfully prepared ingredient - driven dishes that reveal our commitment to using the highest quality products, in season, and local when available.

The inspiration behind Rubaiyat's menu reflect Chef Andy's classic and diverse culinary influences.  Yet he's consistently led back to creating food that is distinctly contemporary, and as our name would have it, dishes that are "food for thought".

As a result, Rubaiyat's refined seasonal American dishes combine four of the qualities that we value most:  integrity, style, restraint, and playfulness.  That is found in our personal mission to shape the dining experience around culinary delights from beginning to end.  We insist on honoring the smallest details underlying the very rhythm of the restaurant, including our service. Come find out for yourself just why our staff is second to none.

Cheers!!
Andy & Kim Bonnet, Proprietors

history

WHY RUBAIYAT?

history

The name "Rubaiyat" derives from a collection of poetry written over 1000 years ago by a Persian gentleman named Omar Khayyam.  The poems are a testimony of living life to its fullest with the help of good food and great wine and together, the joy that they can bring to life.  Originally written by Khayyam in Persian, the book was translated into English in 1859 by Edward Fitzgerald. Andy & Kim welcome the chance to share their love of food and wine with you and invite you to experience that joy right here at our restaurant in downtown Decorah.

Here is one of the poems to enjoy for yourself:


"A book of verses underneath the bough,
a jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and thou
beside me singing in the wilderness.
Oh, wilderness, were paradise Enough!"
- Omar Khayyam  circa 1120 AD

THE BUILDING

The buildings that house Rubaiyat were built in the early 1890's.  The original stores housed everything from a mail order dry goods store to a ladies ready-to-wear boutique.  In the early to mid 1900's the buildings housed a jewelery store, a hardware store, and the original Donlon Drug.  The upstairs was also used as a speak-easy during prohibition.  In the early 1950's, Bill Brickley opened a five and dime store.  He sold out in 1960 to Ben Franklin Stores and the buildings were combined into what you see now as one storefront.  After the Ben Franklin closed in the early 1990's, the building housed an office supply store, antique store, and a dollar store.  After Rubaiyat purchased the building in 2007, the original tin ceiling was exposed as well as the brick walls.  The front doors are the original doors that were found upstairs during the renovation.  Now, at Rubaiyat, we hope that you'll sit back and enjoy the history and the work of art that we have created here in Decorah.

117 West Water Street, Decorah, IA  •  563-382-WINE (9463)  •  WWW.RUBAIYATRESTAURANT.COM