The Inn itself is located in a building that I
recall from a very young age (I grew up in Geneva) and is located
serenely and majestically alongside the Fox River. At one time
-- in the year 1874 -- it was actually a small dairy creamery.
As a teenager, I never remembered the building being anything but
empty and lifeless. But it is full of life now.
The limestone of which the walls were built was locally quarried and
is the stuff that forms the foundations and walls of many buildings
in the Fox Valley. It is a beautiful structure on the outside
and no less impressive on the inside; the renovation created a
unique boutique hotel on the banks of the river that also boasts a
full service spa and twenty-one guest rooms. A fine-dining
restaurant there, Atwater's, puts the exclamation point on a
well-done project for which Geneva can be quite proud.
My main interest this past Monday was breakfast;
I was starving! As my wife and I passed the hotel's front desk
and continued toward the restaurant, a young lady turned from her
tasks and asked if she could help. Our query regarding
breakfast was met with a broad smile and a short statement:
"Certainly, if you would please follow me?". She led us into
the circular dining area and to a table by the window that was
filled with with early April sunshine; the river sparkled brightly
as it flowed quickly past the hotel. The view was excellent.
Even though it was a Monday morning, we were
surprised to find the dining room virtually empty -- only one other
table was occupied. I didn't mind, as it felt even more
special to have the place to ourselves...
We ordered Eggs Benedict (for me it was the Lump
Crab version, for Yvonne it was the Farmer version with spinach and
mushrooms) and asked if champagne were available. It was, and
amid the opening of birthday cards, we sipped a bit of the bubbly
beverage. Breakfast was delivered and the sumptuous feast
I need to insert a bit of editorial comment here
as, having spent many years employed in the restaurant industry in
various roles, and also truly loving to cook, I am acutely aware of
the effort it takes to produce Eggs Benedict: even in a sloppy
version this dish is no small task. To get everything as perfectly as
it was served at Atwater's can only be accomplished with great care
and a passion to get things right. Our photos may not do the
dish justice. The eggs were done to perfection; the sauce was
exactly as it should have been (tart, bright, thick and sticking to
the eggs) and the muffins were precisely toasted. The plating
was artfully accomplished and the plates themselves were warm.
Everything was incredibly fresh (the cantaloupe, honeydew and
pineapple were perfectly ripe) and the flavors, by the way -- on
both versions -- were exquisite.
It is obvious that Atwater's pays full and close
attention to details. From the moment that the hostess pulled
out our chairs -- even mine -- to seat us, took
napkins from the table and draped them across our laps, it was clear
that this would be a breakfast to remember. Our waiter Bob was
friendly and accommodating and very professional, well-dressed with
a tie and pressed red shirt. We couldn't have asked for better
For the great food, service and really reasonable
prices, hats off to Atwater's, our waiter and especially Chef Jason
Tsoris for providing an incredible start to the day. Count on
the fact that we will be back for another breakfast, probably a
dinner, too (well, probably more than one...). May your dining
room be always filled with diners as happy as we -- thanks for a
truly exquisite breakfast!