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Geneva restaurant/tavern marks 90 years

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Little Owl savoring success.

The Little Owl restaurant and tavern has landmark status with a story or two.

The eatery is Geneva's oldest continuously operating restaurant and tavern, this year celebrating 90 years of service to loyal customers in the city's downtown.

The restaurant began in the Albertson Building at 117 W. State St. In 1926, it expanded and moved to 9 S. First St.

In 1935, The Little Owl moved to its present location in The Wrate Block, located at the northwest corner of State and North First streets.

The eatery was founded in 1920 by Egisto "Tony" Lencioni, known for giving the restaurant its clever name after a White Owl cigar salesman suggested he name the establishment after the famous cigar.

Tony apparently didn't care for it, but it did give him an idea to name the business The Little Owl.

Tony and his son, Victor, operated the business until 1947, when it was purchased by the Arbizzani family, who continue to own the restaurant today.

William Arbizzani operated the restaurant from 1947 to 1971.

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