A Genoa family is hoping to add something new to Nevada's oldest establishment - a place where people can sit, eat, drink, and soak up the charm of the historic, mountainside town.
"We hope we're adding something to the community with our little restaurant," said Karen Holmes, Genoa resident, town board member and co-owner of the Genoa Station Bar and Grille. "We felt there was a need in Genoa for more places to eat, especially a place for breakfast."
The restaurant was first conceived last summer when Karen and husband John were working the information booth on Main Street. More than once, they ran into visitors looking for a hearty breakfast.
"The hotels around here have been very supportive," Karen said. "Over the summer, the benches outside the place were packed. Where else except Genoa can you eat a meal while watching deer meander across the street? It's very special."
Karen is a retired nurse, and John a retired orthopedic surgeon. In August, they enlisted the help of their daughter, Sunridge resident Candace Supiran, to open the eatery. Fortunately for her parents, Candace had experience with restaurants.
"I love the industry," she said. "Working with my family is just the icing on the cake."
Before opening, they remodeled what had been the Tahoe Ridge Winery storefront next to the Raycraft Dance Hall on Main Street. The family knocked down walls, opened up the floor plan, and created a warm, country interior.
"It's eclectic," Karen said. "The only things that match in here are the cups and saucers."
The front of the restaurant is a bar and cafe in one. Wing-backed chairs are situated around a fireplace. A small flat-screen TV hangs over the bar. Beyond the entrance, the room opens on a dining area with a colorful array of chairs and tables and a panoramic map of the California Trail. Pictures of Genoa and historic entries displayed around the map were compiled by town historian Billie Jean Rightmire. A musket rifle, bow and arrow, gold pan and rusted lantern add to the ambiance.
"The idea is to emphasize the history of Genoa and connect to it," John said. "We have the elements of the great Western migration."
A mural opposite the bar, painted by Gardnerville artist Beverly Caputo, illustrates the historic importance of Genoa by showing a pioneer wagon beneath the Carson Range. A second look, however, reveals a group of bikers trailing the wagon.
"Where the old meets the new," John said.
The idea is to showcase the town's history while also promoting its future as a tourist destination.
"We want to grow but keep the historic ambiance," Candace said.
While town officials target infrastructure improvements, business owners keep expanding the area's product offerings. Located across the street from the historic Genoa Bar, the Holmes proudly state they're "the youngest bar in Genoa."
"We don't want to make Genoa just a vacation spot; we want to make it a destination where people don't have to leave," Candace said. "The Genoa Station is also a nice meeting place for the community. We'll get four tables of people in here who all know each other."
Of course, a beefy menu with choice comfort food items helps sustain the family's greater vision of community.
Take breakfast for example. House-made corned beef hash may fulfill a visitor's specific hankering, or the Station French Toast, which consists of a house-made cinnamon roll dipped in vanilla-flavored egg batter.
The restaurant's signature appetizer is fried sweet potato chips, sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon and served with ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce.
Lunch items include a variety of salads, sandwiches and soups. The Station Burger boasts a quarter-pound patty, hickory-smoked bacon, lime-spritzed avocado, smoked cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce on a toasted bun.
A new dinner menu proffers entrees like shrimp scampi, beef stroganoff and shepherd's pie.
"Everything is pretty much homemade," Candace said. "We did revamp our menu to include some veggie options, too."
Candace also had a hand in developing the candy cane cocktail, comprised of marshmallow vodka, peppermint and hot cocoa.
"Because I'm Candy," she joked.
The family wouldn't reveal the ingredients of the Station Sensation cocktail, only to say it's a popular vodka-based drink.
"Karen and Candace have a lot of energy," John said when asked why a retired surgeon would want to own a restaurant.
John's acoustic guitar leaning in the corner, used for open mic nights, signaled that he, too, has a fair amount of energy.
"I guess I'm not ready to retire," he said.
Located at 2285 Main Street, the Genoa Station Bar and Grille is open for meals from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
The bar is open depending on customers.
For more information, call 783-1599 or visit www.genoanevada.org.