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updated: 11/9/2013 5:16 PM

1857 Geneva house being coverted into restaurant

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  • Former St. Charles Mayor Fred Norris shares a laugh after being greeted by Bob and Diana MacNeille of St. Charles after Norris was honored with the William D. Barth Award -- given by TriCity Family Services -- last month in Geneva. A few days after the ceremony, Norris was hospitalized with a heart condition but now is back home and feeling good.

      Former St. Charles Mayor Fred Norris shares a laugh after being greeted by Bob and Diana MacNeille of St. Charles after Norris was honored with the William D. Barth Award -- given by TriCity Family Services -- last month in Geneva. A few days after the ceremony, Norris was hospitalized with a heart condition but now is back home and feeling good.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


Nancy Luyten and her family are taking an 1857 Geneva home, one of the oldest in the city, and converting it into the Patten House Restaurant and Bar.

"We just got our building permit a week ago, so we are getting as much work done outside as we can while the weather is still OK," Luyten said of the house located at Campbell and Second streets in Geneva, just a half block away from the Third Street retail mecca.

George Patten, a lumberyard operator in Geneva in the 1850s, and his family lived in the home during that time period.

Luyten figures she is at least three months away from opening the site, which will offer lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch.

"Mostly light fare, some New Orleans-style food and seafood, sandwiches and salads," she said.

When Patten House is open for business, especially during the warm-weather months, it will feature plenty of outdoor dining on the decks and patio around the house, said Luyten, a St. Charles resident.

"We just think this is going to be the perfect venue," she added.

A scare for Norris: Fred Norris figures if a cat has nine lives, he's used up two so far. At least, that's what his friends tell him.

A few days after receiving the Barth Award from TriCity Family Services on Oct. 24, the former St. Charles mayor was taking his usual morning 5K walk along the Great Western Trail near LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.

A sharp pain in his back brought him to his knees, but he made his way to a bench and eventually back to his car. It has been a few years since he suffered a heart attack and had a pacemaker put in, so any type of unusual pain was a concern.

"When I got home, I was feeling a little better, but was nauseated and sweating," Norris said. "As usual, my wife put out the safety net and called 911.

"When the paramedics got there, they said this was serious, and off we went (to the hospital)," Norris said.

At the hospital, doctors placed a stent in one of Norris' heart vessels to get blood flowing again.

"I felt so much better; I felt like I could go home right away," Norris said.

Of course, physicians kept him in the intensive care unit for a few days for tests, but Norris was back home and on his regular routine in no time.

As for having medical trouble again so soon after "being humbly honored" by TriCity Family Services, Norris had an analogy. "One day a peacock, the next day a feather duster."

A chocolate update: Geneva businessman Tom Castronovo has informed me he is the man behind the green curtain of the Kilwins Quality Confections store going in on Third Street in Geneva.

Castronovo and his family will operate the Geneva franchise, which is only the second Kilwins in the Chicago area, he said.

"I had been researching it for a few years, and Kilwins has a high-quality product," Castronovo said. "Yes, there will be a lot of competition in Geneva, but there are places that are a destination for a lot of things. Why not confections?"

Castronovo had plenty of help from Steve Titus of St. Charles in landing the Kilwins franchise. Titus works as Kilwins' vice president of development.

"He finally gets a franchise in his own backyard," Castronovo said.

The store will open in February before Valentine's Day, and Castronovo is planning a setup with some samples of the products during Christmas Walk.

Bikes in Batavia: It's a bronze for Batavia.

Bronze level honors from the League of American Bicyclists, that is.

The league recently cited Batavia as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

City officials and biking enthusiasts should be proud of this honor. It basically means that people who know a thing or two about the benefits of opening a community to bicyclists view Batavia as a significant part of a bigger puzzle -- making the entire country bicycle friendly.

I can hear some drivers and walkers out there saying that bikers are a bit of a pain, but here's the thing: There probably wouldn't be such great trails along the Fox River if not for the large number of bicyclists seeking such trails. They stop in your town for a bite to eat, maybe, trigger a sense that the trails are worth keeping nice, while protecting the environment at the same time.

Not so shocking: It was surprising to hear that Honey Jam Café in Batavia had closed because it generally seemed to be a strong business. But it's not shocking.

The place was pretty expensive for breakfast, and management admitted as much in saying there was a lot of competition in the area.

But mostly, one never knows what a restaurant's books look like. Quite a few popular places have nose-dived during the past five rugged years. But they probably weren't operating at high profit levels even when things were good.

A raffle with pop: You can say this about the Batavia Rotary's annual raffle -- it demands attention.

The service club is in its 25th year of peddling tickets to give away a Corvette. Yes, that gets your mind wandering about how cool it would be to win a car like that.

Best of all, the Rotary can boast that it has raised close to $400,000 over the life span of the Corvette Raffle to hand over to local organizations such as Art in Your Eye, the city's fireworks fund, CASA, Lazarus House, riverwalk renovation, Valley Sheltered Workshop and Living Well Cancer Resource Center, as well as others. The Rotary also supports various national and international charity efforts.

Those interested in the $100 raffle ticket can visit or call Dan Hoefler at (630) 406-7884.

Don't need or want a 2014 Corvette? The other winning option is $40,000 in cash for the Nov. 23 drawing at Moss Funeral Home in Batavia.

Get hitched this week: Did you know that many people are likely to get married Tuesday?

It's supposed to be good luck to get married on a day with a consecutive-date sequence. So Tuesday qualifies with an 11-12-13 date.

But a Tuesday wedding? It sounds like an interesting way to break up the workweek.

Don't forget the veterans: Lots of Veterans Day activities Monday, including the Batavia VFW Post 1197 service at 10 a.m. in the post hangar at 645 S. River St. The Aurora Christian choir will perform before keynote speaker Col. Paul Hastings.

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