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Monday, January 18, 2021

After More Than 50 Years, Balaton at Risk of Closing. Sets up GoFundMe for Assistance

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2021 at 11:46 AM

  • Photo by Emanuel Wallace

I can’t think of many restaurants that are more important to Cleveland’s culinary and cultural identity than Balaton. Like Sokolowski’s, which we lost (along with many other noteworthy spots) in 2020, Balaton represents the delicious richness that immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe brought with them when they came to town. It is because of places like Balaton that Midwesterners became hip to culinary treasures like weinerschnitzel, paprikash and goulash. (Read Scene's review from 2018 here.)

For more than 50 years, Balaton (13133 Shaker Sq., 216-921-9691) has managed to keep its doors open – first on Buckeye Road, then at Shaker Square – but now is teetering on the brink of survival. After exploring every reasonable avenue of financial survival, the owners are reaching out to those of us who know and love the place. A GoFundMe page has been established to help get Balaton to the other side of this pandemic.

“So, we reach out to those who know Balaton Restaurant, enjoyed one or many wonderful dinners with us, please help us within your means,” pleads management.

Like every restaurant, Balaton is dealing with the harsh financial realties of Covid, when dine-in business is all but a memory, replaced by take-out revenue that fails to balance the budget. After nearly a year of the same, the long-term prospects of survival for Balaton (and many of its brethren) are looking sadder by the day.

“Near empty and half-full dining rooms just do not pay the rent,” they add. “Take-out is going strong, and people are charitable, but dining rooms are dwindling. We dipped into the PPP program, and try to stretch it longer by dimming the lights when no-one can see it, but still, we are getting no sympathy from our Leasing Company.”

If you want Balaton and places like it to survive, continue supporting them any and every way that you can.

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