Our Story

Geneva’s oldest continuously operating restaurant and tavern

The Wrate Building

The Wrate Building was built in 1853 by Charles Patten on the site where the old wooden general store building previously stood. It was known as the “Old Corner”. Specifically, when searching through the old land records, it is built on Lot 1 of Block 38 of the original town of Geneva.

The left side of the building housed Emil Simon’s dry goods store until 1935.  While the right side of the building has always remained a tavern beginning with Anton Schott’s saloon, Fred Bessert Buffet, Willis Gladding Saloon and Roosevelt Inn and Café.

The Little Owl

The Litte Owl Restaurant originated in 1920 in the building at 117 W. State St., which later was occupied by Johnson Cleaners.  In 1926, The Little Owl was moved into the frame building next to the fire station at 9 S First St.

In 1935, Egisto “Tony” Lencioni moved his restaurant, The Little Owl, into the Wrate Building.  Extensive renovations were done including lowering the floor, remodeling the façade and removing the steps.  Tony and his son Victor operated the business until 1947 when it was purchased by the Arbizzani family who still run it today.


1859 / 1867

Home of Masonic Lodge 139

Geneva’s Post office in the lower level


Fire in February. The Geneva Republican newspaper (printed upstairs) was destroyed. The 1st floor housed Emil Simon’s Dry Goods Store.


First movies ever shown in Geneva on 2nd floor. Cost was 5-10cents


Dances and balls became public gatherings and were often held in Wrate’s Hall.

Egisto `Tony’ Lencioni



The restaurant expanded and moved to the frame building next to the fire station (9 South First Street).

Here the Lencioni’s served homemade pasta and soups. It has also been reported that during prohibition it was possible to obtain homemade Italian wine, commonly referred to as ”Dago Red.”


The Little Owl moved to its present location in ”The Wrate Block” at the Northwest corner of State and First Streets (101 West State). Tony and his son Victor operated the business until 1947 when it was purchased by the Arbizzani family who still run it to this day.


The Owl spread it’s wings in when the Arbizzani’s added The Flagstone Pub.


Flagstone Pub became known as “Flagstone Crafts and Cocktails”, with a focus on Craft Beer, Interesting Wines, and great drinks.

105 W State St
Geneva, Illinois

(630) 232-7238

1130AM – 2AM Everyday
Kitchen until 10PM Mon-Sat, 9PM Sun

(630) 232-7223


101 W State St
Geneva, Illinois

(630) 232-7994