This sign is located at N41 51.648 W80 56.948.
The American Dream:
Eddie’s Grill is a Geneva-on-the-Lake institution. It also is a poster child for the American Dream, not to mention hard work, family, good food and fun times.
Founder Edward “Eddie” Sezon was a junior in high school when he wrote to the Richardson Root Beer Corp. and requested information on their franchise. Eddie, who had spent his summers on The Strip since age 12, was interested in opening a root beer stand in the resort. He studied the information, figured out a way to build a stand and borrowed some money from his parents, Slovenian immigrants Frank J. and Mary K. Sezon.
When Eddie’s Grill opened in the summer of 1950, he had only root beer, shakes, French fries, hot dogs and cheeseburgers on the menu. In the decades that have followed, the menu grew, but not by much. On the grill side, he added Slovenian sausage and a fish sandwich. A Dairy Queen franchise, added in 1952, provides the full slate of sweet dairy treats associated with the brand.
The atmosphere is 1950s, right down to the juke box speakers and the simple but functional tables. Cleanliness, careful attention to property maintenance and consistent quality in the food are hallmarks of the business.
Eddie and his wife Anne continue to run the business, with help from Eddie’s sister, Rose Marie. Daughters Mariane Sezon Dana and Jennifer Sezon Brugger assist whenever their home and work schedules allow.
The restaurant hires local youth who learn to work hard and provide excellent customer service. In any given summer, about 75 percent of the staff worked for Eddie for at least one prior season. This practice of hiring back the experienced crew helps the owners get the grill up and running each spring, on Mother’s Day, without having to retrain a whole new group of workers.
Our visitors recall:
Joe Williams: “I was one of the college students that had a summer job working the grill. We stayed open until the early hours of the morning so that we could accommodate the patrons of the bars that closed at 2:00 and the Burlesque performers. Our biggest tips came from the grand ladies next door. They were usually dressed to the 9’s. I remember Erma the Body strolled in with two very large dogs and more jewelry than I had ever seen before. My tenure was from 1961 through 1965. After graduation, I worked the evening shift at Eddie’s Restaurant in Geneva and taught school during the day. My work history at Geneva-On-The-Lake, however, goes back a long way. As I read the comments at the bottom of the article, I found someone who talked about delivering Plain Dealers at the Lake. I also did that from age 8 until age 12. It was not always a pleasant job. The cottage people in the late 1940’s and 50’s were a mixed bunch. When the weather was really hot, a few vacation folks would hand you a cold soft drink as they paid for their paper. On the other hand, some were crude, critical, and cruel to the newsboys. I had things thrown at me. Cuss words and slammed doors were common. Mike Bartko was very demanding and set unreasonable quotas of papers to be sold each day. Yet, it was one of the few job available for a boy my age. It prepared me well for the regular PD paper route in my neighborhood. One of these summers, I will make it back to GOTL and gobble up a foot-long hot dog and root bear at Eddie’s Grill.”