For the past 20 or so years, Brian and Kathy Rashid have worked so-called normal jobs. She was a nurse and he sold satellite TVs.
Now, the husband-and-wife team is ready for some play — that’s why they opened Treehouse Pub and Eatery in Bettendorf.
“To me, it's finally time to live out a dream,” Kathy Rashid said. “When I was a little girl, I could be never be part of the treehouse club. Here, everyone is welcome. You don't have to be the cool kid.”
When she wasn't “married to the hospital,” Kathy Rashid found a passion in cooking up new recipes for her husband, their two kids and neighbors.
“Food is love,” she said. “I love to be in the kitchen and I want everything to taste a certain way. Whenever we went out to eat, I'd say, ‘Well, I can do that.’ If I can do it better, I might as well do it.”
As Brian Rashid looked to separate from the satellite TV industry, his wife began brainstorming about opening a cafe or restaurant.
“I got a little bored,” she said. “I'd just throw ideas out there and see what got (Brian) sparked.”
She drove by a newly built and vacant property on Kimberly Road across the street from Duck Creek Golf Course — and she brought her partner of nearly 30 years back later that day.
“The place just stuck out to me because it's a destination,” she said. “We thought it would be a little deli, but then our ideas just got bigger and bigger.”
The result — Treehouse — is an eatery with the feel of a Colorado saloon lined with stone walls, paintings of bicycles, a bar that's canopied by 100-year-old wooden beams and tables crafted from 15 different types of wood.
The look (and name) is inspired by the couple’s out-West vacations and active lifestyles, said Brian Rashid, who bikes to work each day and has a bicycle tattooed on his ankle.
“It looks like you're not in Iowa in here,” he said. “We wanted to do something healthy and happy with good vibes.”
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It's fitting. You can see the Duck Creek Parkway Trail, a hard-surfaced trail that runs through Davenport and Bettendorf, from the back deck of the establishment.
The not-yet-finalized menu, which Kathy Rashid took the lead on, matches the appearance. Along with pulled pork nachos, loaded bacon jam fries, it includes a Mediterranean burger, made with a combination of lamb and beef, a Cuban sandwich and egg rolls. A fast-casual salad bar is set to open soon.
Treehouse’s menu fixture is the selection of pizzas, made in a wood-fired oven, which weighs 3 tons and cooks cracker-thin pies at 700 degrees in three minutes. Pizzas include the Mediterranean, which is hummus-based and topped with Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, pepperoni and olives.
“The pizzas are our thing — nobody else has that,” Kathy Rashid said. “We want everything to be the freshest possible.”
Since opening the restaurant on New Year’s Eve, she said the pizzas — and positive vibes — have kept customers coming back.
“We opened by the seat of our pants and have a lot of details to fine tune,” she said. “I never thought we'd get here, but it's our passion that drives us.”
Together, their ideas are still growing.
In the backyard of the restaurant, Brian Rashid has plans to expand the deck into a two-level outdoor bar and grill with a beer zip-line. He also wants to build a treehouse that fits 20 people.
“I look out here and have a lot of ideas,” he said. “When the summer hits, this is going to be the place to be.”
For now, he and his wife are happy their dream workplace is a reality.
“I can't wait to get to wake up everyday and get to work,” Kathy Rashid said. “It feels like it's Christmas morning.”