Ray and Jets, a Genoa tradition for adult tastes, is hoping to become a family tradition as it reopens as Rayz Café located at 608 Main St., Genoa.
While anticipation and excitement grew, local companies rallied together to help Ray St. Marie in the rebuild of Rayz Café. General contractor Dave Marko of D&R Enterprises as well as Jim Zeller of Zeller Construction and the guys at Wojo’s heating and air conditioning, to mention a few, worked around the clock for months in an effort to have Rayz Café opened as soon as possible.
“The bar only, will be open for the first couple weekends and only Thursday through Sunday,” St. Marie said. “We hope to open the kitchen sometime by mid December.”
This will be a happy ending for the 20 or so employees that lost their jobs nearly one year ago. The Parlor is expected to take just a little longer to complete.
A fire that completely destroyed Ray and Jets Café as well as the neighboring Merle Norman Cosmetics store front on Christmas Eve 2007 is believed to have been started as an electrical fire in the ceiling of the kitchen at Ray and Jets.
Rayz Café stands in the same location as before but has expanded into the neighboring store front formerly occupied by Merle Norman cosmetics. “The old square footage was approximately 2,600 square feet and the new Rayz Café is approximately 4,000 sq. feet,” St. Marie said.
The additional square footage will be include The Parlor, an addition onto Rayz Café that will serve as an ice cream and pizza parlor. The Parlor will have the same full menu as Rayz Café as well as drinks, but it will be geared more toward a family atmosphere. A walk-up window front to serve ice cream to customers on the go is in the works as well.
With a new kitchen nearly three times the size of the old kitchen, St. Marie has been able to expand the menu. What will be on the menu for now he would like to keep secret but did say, “expect some of the same specials as before such as wing night. I wanted to keep the menu similar just revamp and scale it up a bit.”
In addition to The Parlor and the new menu, there will be covered front patio for dining and an outdoor patio in the rear of the building with an outdoor bar.
St. Marie and his team were able to save about 7,000 of the original bricks that stood in the former Ray and Jets Café. After spending the winter months bringing them back to a pre-fire state, the bricks have been incorporated into part of the wall structure in the main bar area of Rayz Café.
Funding for the project was provided by Genoa Bank and the Ottawa County Revolving Loan Fund.
Article and photographs by Michelle Emahiser-Allen