CLEVELAND — The owners of Balaton Restaurant, the longstanding Hungarian restaurant located at Shaker Square, announced it will close in-person dining on Dec. 31.
Established in the early 1960s, Balaton has been a guaranteed spot for Northeast Ohioans to enjoy mouthwatering comfort food made from generations-old recipes. From stuffed cabbages and veal and chicken paprikash to beef goulash and cabbage and noodles, these Old World recipes brought customers from near and far.
After closing its dining room on Dec. 31, Balaton will keep the kitchen open for carryout through January 2022.
Balaton Restaurant has been a fixture in Shaker Square for 25 years. Before moving to its corner location on the square, it operated on Buckeye Road for 30 years. Over the years, it's become an iconic cultural tapestry of Cleveland, getting attention from food and travel publications and TV appearances.
“Although we are losing our Shaker Square residence, we felt with such a strong follower-ship we have cause and reason to rebuild,” the restaurant said.
In an update to loyal customers, the restaurant said it’s already looking for new locations along I-271.
“We are scouting for new location(s) up and down Interstate-271 area, from Solon to North and from Wilson Mills to the South. Our target is to stay close enough to the highway as 60-70% of our clientele is near that target area, but the other 30-40% come from elsewhere, and 50 states (no kidding)."
The restaurant said it had planned to stay in its Shaker Square location, originally belonging to the Bunts Brothers, but then COVID-19 hit. Since March 2020, the restaurant said the community has rallied around them and patrons “whom did not let Balaton’s kitchen stove go cold.”
“We humbly thank the support of the community, pulling us through a huge try of our times, generally called COVID. We see no better time to be grateful for the past friendship, and the care we had received in 2021. Hands down, when the sounding of the alarm bell went loud, the help via gofundme was pouring in, and it did save us from closing right at the start of 2021. But now, we are looking at 2022 with new hope, and desire to continue our culinary traditions."
After the restaurant closes, the owner or "leading lady" as the restaurant refers, is heading to a culinary conference and trade gathering in Hungary.
The restaurant raised its gofundme goal to help with the relocation costs. The restaurant said it will update the public on plans as they become more concrete.
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