Mystery Diner

Mystery Diner in Geneva: The Little Traveler home to inviting Atrium Café

The Little Traveler, celebrating its centennial, is home to The Atrium Café in downtown Geneva.

The sweet tradition of dining at The Atrium Café inside The Little Traveler coincides this year with the 100th anniversary of the unique collection of specialty departments nestled within a former home on South Third Street in Geneva.

Its website describes the shopping experience as “around the world in 36 rooms.”

The Little Traveler, celebrating its centennial, is home to The Atrium Café in downtown Geneva.

After picking up our favorite specialty grilling sauce in the food, wine and culinary section, we decided to grab a bite at The Atrium Café, a relaxed place to recharge. Sunshine from skylights streams into the room painted the palest of pinks, complemented by the gentle sound of a central fountain surrounded by colorful faux blooms. Our attentive server brought our lemonade and iced tea, and was quick to keep them refilled.

The cranberry chicken salad at The Atrium Café in Geneva.

My fellow diner chose the cranberry chicken salad. Not the mayonnaise variety, this wonderful recipe featured roasted chicken breast with cranberries, diced pears, walnuts and blue cheese crumbles on a bed of mixed garden greens, and was served with a refreshing raspberry walnut vinaigrette. The pear was ripe and a perfect pairing with the blue cheese and tender, moist chicken.

A slice of quiche Lorraine from The Atrium Café in downtown Geneva.

I was in the mood for quiche and had a choice of two flavors of the day, one featuring spinach and cheese, and my selection, a slice of quiche Lorraine, the custardy egg accented with bacon, caramelized onion and Swiss cheese in a pastry crust. Served with a garnish of strawberries, it was a lovely light lunch.

A slice of pecan pie to-go from The Atrium Café in downtown Geneva.

We couldn’t resist taking home a slice of one of the made-from-scratch pies. Our server offered us a wide array of choices, and we picked a delicious pecan.

In addition to soft drinks, the cafe offers wine and mimosas. On the sandwich side, dishes that tempted include the lightly sauteed crab cake topped with melted Swiss cheese and served with lemon dill aioli on a croissant.

From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays, patrons can order from the regular luncheon menu or enjoy the all-inclusive brunch, a great value featuring a choice of diverse egg dishes or Swedish pancakes, accompanied by a freshly baked cinnamon roll, two thick slices of applewood smoked bacon, seasoned, oven-roasted country potatoes, and coffee or tea. Reservations are required for the Mother’s Day brunch, and also for the formal afternoon teas served Tuesdays through Saturdays.

People can order whole pies, quiches, soups and other items to go from the cafe, which can be booked for special occasions.

We enjoyed our luncheon, and while you’re invited to linger, the efficient service makes it ideal for a quick work break.

As the centennial celebration continues, fans of The Little Traveler can add to its digital scrapbook detailing what the unique store has meant to them.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.


WHAT: The Atrium Café

WHERE: 404 S. Third St., Geneva

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday

INFORMATION: 630-232-4200,