Genoa Guest House Continues Crumpet’s Traditions


On Saturday, December 8th, the Genoa Guest House hosted a sold out “Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus” event that created special memories for families from near and far.

While Breakfast with Santa is a popular holiday-themed event around the area, this one had special significance for the Genoa community, as it signaled the end of one long-time establishment and the beginning of another.

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, Crumpet’s Luncheonette-Tea Room & Bakery closed its doors after a 22-year run in Downtown Genoa, while 2018 also saw the opening of the Genoa Guest House, Genoa’s first bed and breakfast.

Debi Kottmeier, the owner of Crumpet’s for its last 4½ years, decided to close the restaurant because there just wasn’t enough sit-down business to sustain it. The catering and special events were supporting the business, so Kottmeier decided that it was time to just focus on that—which has been going very well. She is continuing to provide food and hospitality for private parties and restaurants through her new venture: Distinctive Catering.

“Mary [Keyes, owner and operator of the Genoa Guest House] and I had talked when they decided to come in to town about pairing up and trying to do some things together,” said Kottmeier. “That ended up working out to our advantage when I decided to close, because I had time to focus on it and work together with her.”

Kottmeier had been doing a Breakfast with Santa event at Crumpet’s for the last four years and didn’t want to see it not take place this year.

“It was always a good event and had really good turnout,” said Kottmeier. “Santa and Mrs. Claus are always very well received. There were a lot of families who had come to make it a tradition for their family with their kids and their grandkids.”

When Santa and Mrs. Claus said they would come to the Guest House, Keys decided to give it a try. The “Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus” event at the Genoa Guest House ending up selling out, with 21 people attending. “It turned out beautifully,” Keys said. “The people really had a nice time.”

The attendees included both regulars from previous years at Crumpet’s and new people. One woman drove out the night before from Highland Park, IL with her 5-year-old son. She had just moved to the Chicago area from Alaska in November and Googled “Breakfast with Santa” in order to find a place to bring her son for a special experience. They had never been to Genoa before.

“She told her 5-year-old that she was coming to ‘The Christmas House,’ said Keys. “When they left, her son said, ‘This is the house that Santa lives in.'”

The beautiful old house with the sleigh and wonderful home-baked goods, fresh biscuits, hot bacon and everything else made “Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus” at the Genoa Guesthouse a unique experience. “When you see Mrs. Claus holding the 10-month-old baby and entertaining her so that mom and dad can enjoy their breakfast, that’s a special thing,” added Keys.

Kottmeier and Keys are planning to continue other signature Crumpet’s traditions, including “Breakfast with the Easter Bunny” and holiday high teas.

“Debi likes to do the teas, and that’s actually the kind of thing this space is for,” said Keys. “For Distinctive Catering to come and do special events in the Genoa Guest House is the perfect fit.”

Kottmeier’s high teas consist of scones with hot tea or punch to start, followed by soup, a plate of hot and cold small sandwiches and finger foods, and then a dessert tray. The cost is $36 per person, which includes tax and gratuity.

“The thing that makes it very special is that Deb does everything from scratch and she’s an awesome cook,” Keys said. “Everything is well made, fresh and delicious, and you don’t find it anywhere else. And then you come here to the house and have the linens, the china, the glassware and crystal and the atmosphere—that is just a really special experience.”

To make your reservation for Crumpet’s annual High Tea on Wednesday, December 19th at 6:00 p.m. and pay for your seat (this is a pre-paid event and seats are limited), call (815) 784-6121 and ask for Debi.

Keys explained that events like their Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus and the holiday high teas are hard to find for people who enjoy this kind of thing. And they offer more options for people looking for something special and fun to do.

Kottmeier and Keys are also going to team up to offer cooking classes. People will be able to see some things made and be as hands-on as they want in the Guest House’s amazing kitchen, and then enjoy some good food.

For Kottmeier, even though she misses seeing and talking with the people at Crumpet’s, she’s enjoying what she’s doing now and having a little more free time and a lot less stress from not having to manage the restaurant.

Distinctive Catering by Debi has a Facebook page and is still utilizing the Crumpet’s website ( for now. Kottmeier can be reached at the Crumpet’s telephone number (815) 784-6121. She does special orders for cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, or anything else. She does catering of soups and sandwiches, as well as all of the old Crumpet’s specialties: Italian coconut cake, Victoria’s Masterpiece soup (creamy chicken soup w/ spinach and wild rice), and homemade chicken, tuna, egg, and ham salad.

She also provides desserts to restaurants, such as the Copper Barrel Restaurant in Downtown Hampshire. You can currently find her famous Italian Coconut cake, pies, and toffee brownies there.

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