GENEVA – It was quiet after Friday’s lunch rush at The Little Owl in Geneva, where Rob Anderson, Victoria Brock and Chris Arbizzani were enjoying a meal.
After 72 years in business, this would be the iconic Geneva restaurant’s second-to-last day before the new owners close it for remodeling and renaming. The Owl will continue serving from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, with its half-pound Owl Burgers selling for $5 instead of the usual $12.
The Arbizzani family sold the business and historic building at 101-105 W. State St. to Nick Smith of the Karas Restaurant Group, and director of “Munger Road.” Smith said the restaurant would be remodeled, renamed and open in December.
“I’m having the Shoreline Lunch,” Anderson, of St. Charles, said. “It’s a walleye, sauteed potatoes, onions and beans. It was a toss-up between the Owl Burger and the fish.”
Arbizzani, of Geneva, was also having the Shoreline Lunch.
“I had the Owl Burger yesterday,” Arbizzani said. “The Shoreline was something my father came up with and is a combination of things from his many many fishing trips to Canada. They would literally catch the walleye in the lake and go to the shore and the guy would help them clean it and they would cook it, they would saute it on the shore. They would bring potatoes and onions and baked beans.”
St. Charles resident Brock was enjoying a Flying Pig, a breaded chicken sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato on a croissant.
“It’s awesome,” Brock said, between bites. “And I love the fish fry on Fridays. … It’s tradition.”
Brock said she would come back later for the fried haddock fish dinner.
“One last hurrah,” Brock said.
Geneva residents Sandy and Michael Egan were also enjoying a farewell meal at the Owl.
“Today, I had the Flagstaff Burger, which is a burger with guacamole and a fried egg on top of it,” Michael Egan said. “It was very good. … Little Owl was one of the first restaurants we went to when we moved here. So it was important before they close to come one more time.”
Sandy Egan had the Owl Burger, a half-pound cheese burger – which she was unable to finish.
“But it is definitely a good burger, nice caramelized onions on it,” Sandy Egan. “I’m sorry to see it go. I hope the place that comes in does well. I’m happy for the people that it’s time for them to move on and do something else – I’m glad they’re going to get a chance to do that.”
Around the corner, at the Kane County Regional Office of Education, Assistant Regional Superintendent Deanna Oliver said they would miss picking up lunch at the Owl's back serving window.
"We would order by phone and pick it up in 10 minutes," Oliver said. "We're sad to see it go."