Family Splits Year Between Chautauqua And Fort Lauderdale
When Eleanor Streeter and Edna Lawson came to Chautauqua to lease The Gleason in 1933 it is doubtful Mrs. Streeter even considered the gated lake community would be home for 3 months out of every year for the next three generations of her family. The pair ran the rooming house on North Lake Drive for five years before purchasing The Ohio Cottage, a fraction of a mile away, in 1939 changing its name to The Tally Ho.
“The whole Chautauqua was in depression when my mother bought this,” says Rick Streeter. “It was a rooming house and restaurant in foreclosure. They operated it as a summer place. They were in the bakery business in Fort Lauderdale.”
The family run hotel has come a long way from the days when the occupants of nine guest rooms shared one bathroom. It has been remodeled into modern efficiencies and one-bedroom apartments with WIFI, air conditioning and maid service with private baths. Over the years more buildings have been acquired bringing the total number of units to 47 within four buildings with most of the units having veranda access. Some of the rooms include breakfast and dinner in their rates.
“At the time when she bought, 90 percent of the people at Chautauqua ate every meal in restaurants. There were no kitchens, no condos,” the son adds to his story. “There are only three privately owned restaurants on the grounds today. There were 23 restaurants and five cafeterias when my mother came.”
The son has spent most summers on the grounds, with the exception of the time he was in college or busy with the family bakery in Florida. As a young man he participated in golf and tennis. Forty-eight years ago, the wedding and reception for he and his wife, Janet, were held there. Their son Jason, who serves as the Tally Ho’s chef and their daughter Stephanie, who manages both the Florida and Chautauqua businesses are the third generation involved with the business. Jason’s two young sons may one day be the fourth generation to keep the family businesses going.
“We went from cutting strawberries when our feet didn’t reach the floor to the dish room to pots and pans to waiting tables to running the place,” says the manager.
Each generation, starting with the little boy’s Grandfather, have spent leisurely summer days at the lake while participating in the Chautauqua Boys and Girls Club.
“You have a freedom here you don’t experience anywhere else,” says the boys’ Aunt Stephanie. “The kids here are free.”
“It’s a beautiful experience growing up with people from all over the world. I’m happy to see my kids have the same experience,” says her brother.
In the 1970s, Susan E. Streeter along with her dear friend Char Hrusch, cooked with Eleanor, Susan’s mother. Susan’s brother, the late John Streeter and his wife, Meryl, devoted many years to the businesses beginning in the 1980s. It was during this time that two more condo buildings were developed. John and Meryl’s children enjoyed summers at Chautauqua and now their grandchildren are living the experience.
Some of the staff have returned year after year. Linde Gruber has worked for the family for 20 years as a housekeeper and waitress. Titas Gurskis and Airine Adomaityte from Lithuania have joined the wait staff for the 2018 season. Like the staff, many guests return year after year with most wanting the same room they’ve had in years past.
“They’re comfortable with the same view, same maid. Three generations of several families have been coming,” Stephanie adds.
“Reinhold Bramberger, a philosophy professor from Rochester, ate at the same table for 50 years and stayed in the same room,” says her father.
“He used to give me fifty cents to go get the newspaper for him. He was such a nice guy,” Stephanie says.
The father and daughter speak fondly of 90-year old Helen “Chappie” Lusi of Providence, Rhode Island who worked for Eleanor Streeter as a hostess from 1946-1956 and who still visits every year for a week or more.
“It feels like family,” are the words of Olivia Gollin Hoepfl of Dayton,
Ohio, who with her mother, Delores Joseph from Champagne, Illinois, have been staying at The Tally Ho for the last 15 or more years.
One of many noted guests over the years was Placido Domingo, who was a vocal student studying on the grounds for two years when he was in his twenties. Others were Van Cliburn, Jennifer Beals, Les Brown and Anthony Edwards. Florida’s Governor Bob Graham and several senators have stayed along with Secret Service members during President Bill Clinton’s visit.
When in Florida the elder Streeter runs a catering business started in 1977 by he and his wife. In the past he baked to sell to the public, but now does it strictly for the family businesses. This is the first summer the catering business has been closed since opening 41 years ago, relieving his daughter from flying back and forth to Florida during the months the New York businesses are running.
Indoor and outdoor dining is available at The Tally Ho. The menu features local produce purchased from area farms when possible. Shrimp cocktail and broiled jumbo mushrooms stuffed with escargot or spinach and parmesan cheese are among the appetizers offered. Three lamb offerings along with steaks, chops and Chautauqua’s Best Jumbo Burger are listed as well as liver, ribs and Hungarian stuffed cabbage. Ocean favorites include shrimp, clams, haddock and Alaskan Salmon Pie, a family recipe. Various salads and a salad bar round out the menu that offers children’s selections.
A buffet is available every day at dinner time and during lunch on Sundays, the only day lunch is offered at The Tally Ho. The buffet may be purchased by the pound for take-out. A Tally Ho tradition of giving a free dessert from the bakeshop with all platters and dinners is still carried on.
Rick does all of the baking for the establishment, as did his father John “Jack” Streeter in the 1940s and 1950s. He uses the same equipment his father used including baking scales, pie pans and the century old cherry pitter used for preparing cherries for pies. The apple peeler used on Granny Smith apples for making apple dumplings in years gone by, is still in use.
The baker shares some of the recipes used throughout the years. The Cheesecake recipe came from Wolfie’s Restaurant in Miami Beach.
The family run restaurant and hotel is located at 16 Morris Ave. on the Chautauqua Institution grounds, near Bestor Plaza. Rooms are available from the end of May through September. The restaurant is open seven days per week during the Chautauqua season, which runs from late June through late August. Breakfast is available from 8-10:30 a.m. and dinner from 5-7:30 p.m. with an added lunch on Sunday. Admission to the grounds is free all day Sunday with free parking until 1 p.m.
5 Yukon Gold potatoes
3 large eggs, beaten
1 large onion, grated
1/2 c flour
Grate potatoes. Rinse in cold water and add eggs to avoid discoloration. Add onion to potatoes with flour, salt and pepper to taste. Heat frying oil in skillet until very hot. Drop two tablespoons of batter into oil and fry, turning once while browning. Serve with sour cream or applesauce
Bavarian Red Cabbage
1 large head red cabbage, grated
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 apples, grated
1 large onion, grated
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 c sugar
Heat oil in heavy large skillet. Add apples and onion. Turn on low heat and add cabbage with cider vinegar. Cook for one hour until cabbage is tender to taste. Add sugar and simmer for another five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold.
Stuffed Rehoboth Pork Chops
4 thick pork chops
1 small box sage stuffing mix
15 slices fresh or canned peaches,
8 oz pkg breakfast sausage
Split pork chops horizontally, but not all the way through. Mix stuffing mix as directed on box. Add peaches and sausage. Stuff pork chops until very full. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Roast one hour at 350 degrees.
Ultimate Corn Pudding
2 cans cream-style corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 T cornstarch
5 large eggs
1/2 c sugar
¢ stick butter, melted
1 tsp salt
¢ tsp white pepper
¢ tsp nutmeg
Combine all corn. Add cornstarch, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Bake in casserole dish 350 degrees until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Southern Roasted Ribs
Three racks large ribs
4 bulbs garlic, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 c hot sauce
¢ c Worcestershire sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
Combine onion, garlic, carrots, celery, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Marinate ribs in vegetable/sauce mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Add 3 cans of beer and cover. Roast at 350 degrees for 3 hours.
Miami Beach Cheesecake
4-8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1 c sugar
1/2 c sour cream
2 T flour
1 T cornstarch
2 T vanilla
Mix well with electric mixer. Bake in greased pans in water bath (another pan holding approximately one pint of water) at 350 degrees until firm, approximately 45 minutes.
3 lb flour
1 qt milk
1/4 lb yeast
1 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
2 T salt
Mix for with electric mixer with dough hook attachment 15 minutes. Let rise one hour. Bake at 400 degrees until brown, approximately 10 minutes.