MAQUOKETA, Iowa — The new owner of the Decker Hotel and Restaurant on Main Street in Maquoketa hopes to be open in early to mid-March.
Chris Quilty of Davenport has been doing some renovation to the historic hotel since he purchased it in February.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s fun,” Quilty said as he stood in the lobby of the facility, which is littered with new chandeliers and bits and pieces of construction work.
Quilty purchased the hotel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and formerly owned by Lisa and Matt Millin, through Dupaco Community Credit Union in Dubuque. Quilty said he heard about the hotel from his long-time friend Mark Edwards of Maquoketa.
“I’d never done anything like this. I’ve been in other businesses, but Mark thought I’d be interested,” Quilty said. “I came up here and toured the place and decided to buy it the next day. I took one look at that stairway, and I thought I had to have it.”
The wooden stairway is one of the first things you see after walking through the front door of the hotel. There are ornate ceilings and two large columns that have been repainted white with gold trim. New chandeliers have been hung, and Quilty said workers are doing a lot of trim painting.
Quilty said previous owners who sold it to the Millins, Troy and Rae Ann Thede, have offered their help in the renovations. The Thedes renovated the hotel, built in 1880, more than 15 years ago.
Quilty said he wants to get the restaurant open first, and the downstairs bar will open as soon as the liquor license is approved.
“It takes awhile to get open. I’m bringing back some employees, and we’ll decide on new ones,” Quilty said. “I want to have an all-you-can eat fish fry on Fridays and prime rib on Saturday, plus a Sunday brunch.”
The renovation will be a family affair. Quilty said his brother recently retired in Georgia and will bring his wife and mother-in-law to Maquoketa to help.
“We’ve got five kids between us,” Quilty said. “We’re going to get this place going, and then they will take over. They’re excited.”