Where most people might have seen an empty, old railroad station, Pat Finney saw her own form of manifest destiny. She and her husband, Lonnie, transformed the century-old Woodbury Station into a cheerful cafe, swapping out the ticketing-area benches for intimate tabletops and covering the switching-room walls in vibrant New Orleans-inspired paintings and brass instruments. Outside, a vintage four-faced clock marks the years since the building’s restoration in 2000, and awnings shade the guests dining on the patio.
As a result of the makeover, the once-silent station is now filled with cheerful chatter and the savory aromas of meals heavily influenced by French cuisine. Morning diners clink coffee cups over plates of eggs benedict, omelets, and crepes, and everything from crispy fried chicken to warm pot roasts grace the evening menu. Meanwhile, freight trains still cruise along the tracks beyond the stained-glass windows, bearing cargo and restless city folk stowing away in the boxcars.