Work on former La Ferme begins in Genoa |

Work on former La Ferme begins in Genoa

Workers take down the former La Ferme Restaurant in Genoa on Wednesday.
Kurt Hildebrand

Work demolishing the old La Ferme restaurant began in Genoa this week.

Owner Lois Wray is building a new 2,792-square-foot restaurant on the site along with a 308-square foot multi-use building on the 0.6-acre property.

“The town is excited and supportive of the 2291 Main St. Project,” Town Manager JT Chevallier said. “It will bring significant benefit to the Town of Genoa and provide our residents and visitors with a unique dining experience. Additionally the design and aesthetics of the project will enhance the downtown corridor.”

The project will preserve the existing historic ice house building, which will be used to display the former uses for the property, according to a project description filed with the county.

La Ferme restaurant closed in October 2015, and the building was in a state of disrepair as a result of being vacant for nearly four years.

Wray, who owns the nearby Pink House, purchased the building in fall 2018.

According to the county, up to nine people will be employed at the restaurant, which will feature outdoor dining patios on the north and south sides, with access from the covered deck.

The restaurant will occupy about the same footprint as the former structure.

Wray is seeking a minor variance to reduce the number of parking spaces from 31 to 27.

Plans for the building site were reviewed and approved by the Genoa Historic District Commission and the Genoa Town Board.

“The design will keep a portion of the original ice house building, so as to maintain the historic nature,” according to the application. “The building has been designed to look like an historic ranch house with a large wraparound deck, large front windows, wood beams and red siding.”

The building will have red plank lap siding trimmed in white with white wood beams and posts and a stone masonry chimney.

About a quarter of the site will be landscaped, including a mix of trees in the parking lot.

“A restaurant in the downtown area of Genoa provides a use that meets the needs of the local residents and also provides a service to those traveling from outside of the immediate vicinity.”

Giles LaGourgue opened La Ferme in December 1998 after purchasing the restaurant formerly known as the Pink House. The structure started out as a cottage behind the original Pink House and was a saloon in the 1960s. When the property was purchased by the Merrills in 1971, they added on the restaurant, according to the Sept. 21, 1978, edition of The Record-Courier.