Balaton Restaurant in Cleveland Ohio
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Not everyone knows us, but we are known to locals and travelers all over North America. People helped us through Covid, now people helping us for the Future.
Their stories and our additional notes will be down-under after the lower picture, where Notice please Our Doors were wide open, and we would like to keep it that way.
What began as a Mom's diner in the old Hungarian Neighborhood of Cleveland, later became iconic in the cultural tapestry of the city, and the year was 1964. Since then Balaton became known in fifty States and enjoyed spotlights in Magazines and TV shows and half-time big-screen appearances at a football-game, Foodie's Books, Travel Guides, Airline Magazines. Foremost all that was not bought by Balaton, yet earned over Decades of home-cooking and our home-made delightful pastries, not heavy, not drowning in sugar and butter, just delightful. After all those years Balaton is in jeopardy. Simply because our regular economy and duties, distribution of work, and lifestyle in the city got abruptly altered. We have always adjusted to the beats in the "big-village" and to waves of economy, but Covid changed everything. Thanks to our long-standing good name, after 16 months of extreme hardship we are here and hoping to endure just a little bit longer. Endurance on our part and purposeful recovery of everyone's lives. No-one can do it alone!
We ask our fans to help us through.
We did not give up over the last few months and logic says we don't have to. Once this pandemic is under control, we have many more decades and generations of culinary arts to tend to. We applied for a grant or true aid but we were offered a business loan. We spent it on rent. With half the revenues we asked to pay half rent, but so far we are just getting staggering billing from a "management company". No relief from there! As it turns out our local Management Company who tried hard to negotiate for the entire Shaker Complex is not answering our calls, likely was replaced by uninterested Lender(s) appointed entity. We are not even sure of that, as we weren't notified. So, we reach out to those who know Balaton Restaurant, enjoyed one or many wonderful dinners with us, please help us within your means. Also, we reach out to those who may not have known us until now, but understand the meaning and the need for The Great Conversation to continue. If you please, we would paste your name, or picture, or both on our wall of fame. If you rather choose to remain Anonymous, we keep you in our quiet blessings.
We never needed help as we need it right now.
We have been doing a very devoted, steadfast service to our community and culture. It is almost unheard of, but our cooking traveled back even to Hungary where our elders came from after the 2nd world war, and others in the family joined after the 1956 revolution. Some visitors just had to take back "home" our art of bringing traditional food to wonderful plating, eye-pleasing arrangements in the New World. Here, Balaton weathered many storms, but nothing like WWII, our elders lived through. Also, the family was tough enough to work through it all, but 2020 got us down on our knees. Near empty and half-full dining rooms just do not pay the rent. Take-out is going strong, and people are charitable, but dining rooms are dwindling. We dipped into the PPP program, and try to stretch it longer by dimming the lights when no-one can see it, but still, we are getting no sympathy from our "Leasing Company", or the entity in their place. Enabled by Your help we could ease our latency, and work through this year.
We are behind and no doubt, that goes for 2021 as well.
We are just so hopeful to continue, making those Schnitzels, Veal and Chicken Paprikash, the Hungarian Summer Stew, the Gypsy Cutlet, and the rest of it. How sorry we would be not to make those outstanding Dobosh Torte, and Eszterházy Torte, or the playful Marzipan delights. Last, but not least, there is nothing like a Cafe Royal our girls make right here, and nowhere else. Long hours in the kitchen, or at the pastry-shop are not easy, but it's a blessing from Our heart to Yours.
We hope to keep our kitchen going and teach the children about slow-food, and the joys it's bringing.
Please always remember us, how we wish to navigate with our sails tall and clean. Please remember that we forever remember our Guests and Visitors, and most of all we do remember the Friendships we forged at our tables talking about all that matters in our lives, and the blessings of our Splendid Tables. Once this storm is over, we hope to have a big tent event on the center lawn of Shaker Square or State Park grounds.
Stories by our new and old Friends.
I was telling a Friend how awkward I feel about drumming up an emergency funding.
He told me a story of his experience.
"I was visiting the Old City, where I have not been for a long time. Remembered a lot of places, the footprints were the same, but somethings changed. New buildings were in place of empty lots and some others disappeared. My head was spinning, and none-physical dizziness set in. My Mother asked if I am okay? We were traveling together to see what she needed to show me as an adult, then I can show my children when it's time. But now found a bench to sit and get my head together, watching people. They seemed to be as busy as ever, but I thought there were more running for the greater promise that post-iron-curtain era offered at first in the early 1990-s. We were weaving our way downtown streets, stores, under-passes, and glass bridges high over the streets. I kept noticing beggars at many intersections and I began scratching at my belt-pack for change or one dollar bills. After many small donations my Mother asked if there is any left? So i told her, there wasn't much to begin with, but I intend to hand out half that. I answered then:Half of not much is nothing to me, but it sure is a lot to those people who need it today. She said, YES my dear! We did that with bread in the winter of 1945. We broke a loaf in half, or we tore a slice in half, shared, then the war was over, later You were born. You learned lesson number One, she added."
From the Balaton family.
The support coming our way is immense. We are grateful and humbled by the worried and supporting phone calls too. We were always hoping we can bring People together at the table and enjoy food, but also important conversations too. Human greatness and peaceful debate shall not be silenced by small talk and mediocrity. We Love You, and ask You to keep up The Great Conversation.
From the Balaton perspective.
Two youngsters came to our back door on Sunday.
They insisted to give a five dollars donation, and explained "Gran-ma told us to help, and this is what we have, but we promise to bring more when we have it" My wife accepted it in tears. Of course you understand. We are shaken by the idea "that is all they had" We knew it was a lesson Grandmother, had to teach those young ones to grow up good. We had to participate because the lesson was a thousand times taller than any one of us.
From our Roundtable:
Intelligent, well-informed, observers now say "Globalization is just another phase". It did rise out out greed in attempt to hoard more stuff. Some phase in human history lasted only a few decades, others hundred of years, but they were all part of a progression. USA had a space program that every american could be proud of. In fact people from most other country was proud of and felt connected to the achievement. Today, times of individualized, privatized space programs, most everyone is disconnected. The moral is that we must see the importance of simple love, joy in life, sharing moments. Also to remain modest, try to slow down the rush that was gradually imposed on us.