Mary’s Kitchen got its start in a house adjacent to the Buckeye Hotel (across the street). Bertha Shatto, owner of the Buckeye Hotel, briefly used the cottage for preparing meals for her family. In 1946 Ashtabula resident Matilda Ferritto opened the Carlomar, which would soon be known as Mary’s Kitchen, in the cottage. Ferritto purchased the building in June of that year from Bertha Shatto.
Ferritto specialized in steaks, spaghetti and chicken dinners. She also rented the second-story rooms to vacationers.
Ferritto sold the building to John and Mary Dobos in April 1952, and they operated Mary’s Kitchen until May, 1980, when Barbara Breen purchased it. The next owner was W.D. Jones, in 1991.
Neil LaRusch leased the restaurant in 2013 and purchased it in 2014.
He also owns and operates Mary’s Diner in Geneva, where some of the Mary’s Kitchen specialties are offered year-around.
The recipes used at Mary’s Kitchen are the heart and soul of the business and have been passed from owner to owner as part of each sale transaction.
Among the signature recipes is the Texas Barbecue Sandwich, which is served on a corn-meal dusted roll and relies upon the Burns Barbecue Stand recipe for the pulled-pork.
“Home-made” was an adjective that preceded most of what was offered on the menu, including spaghetti, chicken noodle soup, cabbage rolls and dessert, including fruit and cream pies and strawberry shortcake.