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updated: 3/16/2014 6:20 PM

Shuffling restaurant chairs in Geneva

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  • Urban Grille in Geneva is likely closed for good. No word yet on a future occupant for the downtown site.

      Urban Grille in Geneva is likely closed for good. No word yet on a future occupant for the downtown site.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


The signs in the windows say "Closed for month of January," but it's been pretty apparent Urban Grille restaurant in downtown Geneva wasn't opening again any time soon. City officials, in fact, are saying it is closed for good.

But there's no word yet on what might happen next at the site as building owner Jake Finley advertises for a new tenant. Restaurant owners in downtown Geneva have bounced around to different locations within the city in the past, sometimes with success.

Aurelio's Pizza stands as an example of one that made a good move in nabbing its prime spot along State Street. But here's a not-so-subtle ploy Aurelio's used for its success -- the place has a definite "Geneva" flavor to it, from its décor to its young employees.

As one restaurant closes, we await the opening of another. We mentioned the Patten House Restaurant Bar, located just off Third Street at Campbell and Second streets, late last year.

The winter probably hasn't helped owner Nancy Luyten in her restoration of the 1857 Geneva home, but it appears some work has been done on the outdoor dining deck areas.

Geneva economic development director Ellen Divita said Luyten is continuing to work on the project in hopes of opening soon.

In the retail arena, Divita sees Berry House generating plenty of news as the Third Street shops saw Prettiest Star move upstairs and expand. That left a spot for Windy City Dolls to move into and also paved the way for Marya Zabaty to open a new store in the former dolls store. It's called Stable Woman Habit, an equestrian-themed clothing and accessories store, with original art for sale.

Owner Tom Castronova was expecting to open his Kilwin Chocolates & Ice Cream store today in Dodson Place. If so, give your sweet tooth a treat.

Geneva hoops memories: Pete Temple of Geneva was all smiles last Wednesday after watching his son, Pace, help the Geneva Vikings continue their run in the East Aurora Sectional with a 70-68 win over West Aurora. Despite a loss Friday night to Benet, this club turned in one of the finest Geneva basketball seasons in decades.

Pete Temple knows about this stuff. He played for the Vikings in that same tournament on March 10, 198,1 when Geneva upset host and heavily favored East Aurora 74-70.

One thing came to mind in watching that game Wednesday night, particularly because I covered the 1981 game that Pete played in: I wish former Geneva coach John Barton would have been around to see this year's team.

The late Barton led his Vikings to the sectional final in 1981, his first as head basketball coach.

One other thing: Any year a school's boys and girls teams have great seasons at the same time, like Geneva has, it brings back memories of Kaneland in 1982, when both the boys and girls made it downstate, and the girls came home with a state title.

Off to good start: A restaurant has no better gauge of success than full tables and a full parking lot.

It appears Salsa Verde in St. Charles, at least on the Saturday night we went, has that success formula in place.

The food was quite good, which might have a lot to do with the number of patrons enjoying this new Mexican restaurant along Lincoln Highway. I enjoyed my menu choice of chicken enchiladas.

The owners are waiting for warmer weather because they have plans for outdoor seating, which will automatically expand the setting.

But so far so good for this new spot, which hopes to have better luck than previous tenants at that location.

Culver's and pets: An occasional stop at Culver's for a meal or custard is always enjoyable. Add a love for animals as a reason for a visit, and you can't go wrong.

Culver's of South Elgin set April 1 and 3 for donating 10 percent of its sales to the Anderson Animal Shelter. To participate in the charity toward the shelter, you have to download a flier for the event from the shelter website and bring it to the restaurant.

Waiting for 60s: With the warmer weather we flirted with last week, our friend Kathy Freedlund of Batavia may be getting close to a promise she made to herself.

Maybe it originated from the delirious state of cabin fever one can fall into with a prolonged and rugged winter, but Kathy recently proclaimed that as soon as the temperature matched her age, she was going to do something out of the ordinary, for her, that day.

She's a fitness and yoga instructor, so "something out of the ordinary" means maybe going to Five Guys for a big cheeseburger.

I don't want to come right out and reveal her age, but let's just say she is keenly interested in seeing the temperature hit 62 degrees.

Don't interrupt me: OK, I have started to scratch the candidates off my list who made the bad choice of hitting me with a robocall during my favorite TV shows.

One even had the nerve to call during "The Voice." That's a no-no. Maybe not as bad as interrupting "Dancing With the Stars," but annoying nonetheless.

I read newspapers and listen to debates whenever possible, so I don't need a robocall to influence me. They are, in fact, one of the most annoying political ploys in a world of annoying political rhetoric.

At McNally's: My mention in last week's column about the events taking place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at McNally's Traditional Irish Pub in St. Charles had an incorrect date.

The 8:30 a.m. Mass, breakfast and afternoon entertainment takes place Monday. The pub wanted to make sure it had something going on during the actual St. Patrick's Day.

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