Lake Norman Times 1998

Lake Norman’s Only Waterfront Inn Offers Friendly, Relaxed Atmosphere

BY NICOLE MITCHAM

When Tony Genaro saw an ad for a motel and restaurant for sale at Lake Norman, he decided he would give it a look. What he found when he got there was not exactly what he had envisioned. “The place had been completely closed down by the county for building code violations,” he said. “But I saw the potential.”

With years of experience in the restaurant business and a family willing to pitch in and help, Genaro purchased the business and began renovations. That was more than five years ago, and today, their motel and restaurant is a successful business.

halina_1998“We are just simple here, not real fancy,” said Halina Genaro, Tony’s wife. “But it’s clean and friendly. People have fun here.” The Genaro’s say that most of their summer customers are vacationers. “We get the people who used to go to the beaches before it got too expensive. Now they come here,” said Tony. “We also get a few Duke Power employees in the winter season.”

“This used to be an old fishing motel, for fisherman,” said Halina. “So the rooms are kind of small, and they used to have linoleum on the floors for easy cleanup after the fishermen had been out cleaning fish all day!” The rooms are now carpeted and even though it is not a motel just for fishermen, guests at the Lake Norman Motel can still enjoy fishing from the docks. They can even rent fishing boats to try their hand in deeper water.

A boat ramp is also available for guests who want to bring their own boat to put in the water. Boat slips are available for customers who want to visit the restaurant by water, and Tony plans to replace some of the docks before spring. Halina says renovating the motel and restaurant has been a long process. “We are not a corporation with a huge bankroll to come in and renovate all at once,” she said. “We do alittle at a time.” She adds a personal touch by hanging ferns from the motel balcony and planting flowers all around the patios. “It is very much a family atmosphere around here,” she said. “We want guests to feel at home.” A picnic table for each room lines the balcony upstairs, so that guests can take advantage of the summer breezes and views.

The Genaro’s son, also named Tony, runs The Landing Restaurant. “He orders the food and I pay the bills,” his father said, laughing. The 100-seat restaurant specializes in homemade pizza, but also offers subs, sandwiches, seafood, steaks, and pastas. “We also have the best ribs around,” said Halina. A patio offers outdoor dining for those warm summer days, and the inside dining room provides a favorite spot for NASCAR fans who want to catch the races on Sundays. The Genaro’s are also planning renovations on a waterside snack bar, which will serve ice cream and snacks to boaters and guests alike.

The Lake Norman Motel has only 13 rooms, and with no phones in the rooms, is truly a vacation get-away. Waterside rooms rent from $55 a night in the summer, and $45 in the winter.

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