By Neil Johnson - May 1st 2023



 A downtown Janesville wine bar known for its upscale Italian cuisine, house red and riverfront patios and decks is getting a new next-door neighbor with a more casual vibe — and a TV.

The yet-to-be named establishment’s owner, Greg Hughes, said he’s “not fully there yet with putting out” its menu. But he said the new bar and grill planned in a former law office at 15 N. Main St., will have a decidedly relaxed atmosphere.

Unlike, Genisa, a wine bar next door at 11 N. Main St. that Hughes launched in 2021 in space that once housed the former Legends bar, the new restaurant will have multiple wall-mounted TV screens.

“The design, décor and atmosphere (at the new restaurant) will be fun and more casual. And I’ll say this too: The new place will also be more TV-centric,” Hughes said. “If you’ve been to Genisa, and if you’ve been to my other three bars in Janesville — Game Day, the Bazinga and Barkley's — they’re all pretty TV centric. Genisa is not. But this new place will be.”

Hughes, a native of Janesville’s Fourth Ward, now a television executive with NBC Sports, stopped short of calling the new establishment a sports bar and grill. He said the menu will bring a “broader range” of dining options.

“It’s going to broaden and expand from Genisa. It’s going to be very welcoming, accommodating, it’s going to be something for everyone. I think people will feel very welcomed here for their happy hour,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he pictures a restaurant that could bridge the gap for some couples or friends who might have different tastes but want to hang out together on a Friday night.

The patio in use now at Genisa will be connected to the new restaurant. Under a plan by Hughes, people dining on the shared patio would be able to order drinks and food from either the new restaurant or Genisa.

“The idea is people can come down and they’d go to this place for their pre-Genisa drink if they want to, or hang out if they’re waiting for their table, at Genisa,” Hughes said.

He said it’s possible the new restaurant would be a rendezvous point for couples or friends that plan to go “wine and Italian” while others go more casual.

The law firm, O'Leary Law Office, has moved to a different location.

“It’s a much bigger building than Genisa. Its footprint is somewhere around 30% longer, it goes all the way back to the river. So, we’ll have much more space in this one. On the second floor you’ll be able to have big events,” he said.

Genisa opened in downtown Janesville opening during a global pandemic. Hughes said he heard plenty of detractors then who said a wine bar with fettuccine and linen napkins would never fly in downtown Janesville.

Hughes said Genisa has been successful so far. He said he’s most proud of feedback he’s gotten from visitors from Rockford and Madison who’ve told him they’d book their anniversary dinner at Genisa and make a night of it in downtown Janesville.

He said a new restaurant that could compliment Genisa could tie the two entities together to create a new downtown destination. He said the combination of casual with the more formal could serve as a “magnet” to draw people downtown who might like a little of both.

Hughes said the targeted opening date is September or October, which could leave a little time for some fall patio dining and open-air mingling between Genisa and…well, whatever it is the new place will be called.

View Article Here.