By MARGIE NETZEL - email@example.com
For the Star Beacon
With less than one summer of lakefront eatery experience under his belt, Neil LaRusch is jumping for joy at a big honor.
Mary’s Kitchen at Geneva-on-the-Lake has earned a spot in Lake Erie Living Magazine’s the 100 Places to Dine on the Water.
“We are thrilled,” LaRusch said. “We took on this business just this year and we have been working hard, so this is a great honor for us.”
LaRusch said he took over ownership of the business after his eatery in Conneaut closed to make way for the construction of a retail business.
“We looked for a business opportunity for a long time,” he said, “so when this came up, we were really excited.”
Mary’s Kitchen has been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to locals and tourists for more than 65 years. The honor of inclusion in LELM’s top 100 places to eat from Put-In-Bay to Port Denver means LaRusch and his wife, Nicole, are doing something right.
“We didn’t come into this restaurant to change absolutely everything and we didn’t just sit back and depend on the locals and the loyal customers to make this business float,” he said. “We worked hard to keep some parts of the menu and change others, to serve quality meals made from fresh ingredients, so we would keep people coming back.”
“We did not want to rest on the success of the former owners,” he said.
LaRusch, who has years of restaurant management under his belt, said business on the lake, “is a whole different bird.”
“It’s just different,” he said. “It’s a different way of life and a different way of doing business, but we like it a lot.”
LaRusch said marketing Mary’s Kitchen has earned him friends from all over the world.
“We realized that the locals knew about us, but the tourists didn’t,” he said. “So we took to Facebook, to social media, to promote Mary’s Kitchen. We started with 100 Facebook ‘friends’ at the beginning of the summer and now we have nearly 500. It’s how we get our name out there.”
Mary’s Kitchen, located on New Street just off Lake Road, is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Like them on Facebook by searching “Mary’s Kitchen.”