Mary’s Kitchen

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.

Mary’s is at the far right of the frame in this view looking down New Street toward The Strip.




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.

Our guests remember:

Pirl Beach

I spent the summer of 1942 in Pirl Beach (at age 16) and worked part time for the manager pulling weeds and such. Also swam every day. My Pittsburgh relatives had reserved a cottage there for many years. My aunt and cousins stayed. My uncle commuted weekly in his Buick. The Pirl Beach manager used a Model T Ford truck for his chores.

Ken Ford

Memories of Ford's

Most of my summer childhood memories are at Ford’s! My parents met there right at the picnic table. We vacationed there every summer along with my grandparents and great aunt and uncle until they passed away. We made amazing friends there that we still vacation with on Putnam Drive!! I could never thank the Payne’s enough for my childhood memories. Playing Indians in the huge back yard, solving make-believe mysteries, playing release and listening to everyone playing penny poker when my sister and I should have been sleeping. I now bring my son to Geneva every summer. He is the 5th generation at Geneva!

Sara Turner Campos

Chestnut Grove

My extended family and I vacationed at Chestnut Grove from 1948-1964. Being from McKeesport, it was a dream come true to go there every summer. I currently live in Michigan but go back occasionally. Not too long ago, I found a post card of some of the cottages where the swings and horseshoe pit were and a local artist is making me a 24×36 painting of it. I can't wait to see it! So many wonderful memories and so few things left as reminders. It is nice to know that others still remember and care.

Michelle Turner ( a Chestnut Grove Kid)


We vacationed every summer at Idle-A-While in the late '50s and early '60s, partially because my aunt was the receptionist there. I often got to ring the bell summoning guests to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room, which was staffed by co-eds from various universities. Evenings were spent playing bingo, fascination and other games on the strip or bridge and poker back at Idle-A-While. Great memories.
John Bloom

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