Miss Joanie’s Shuttle
Local Entrepeneur Maneuvers A COVID Bump In The Road
“I have always had many things going on,” said Joanie Denn owner of Miss Joanie’s Shuttle, a fun way to travel to dinner, special events or to see points of interest near Chautauqua Lake.
Joanie is a woman of many interests and talents who has held several jobs with some being interrelated and others not even remotely similar.
“Upon graduation from high school, I moved to Sarasota, Florida and lived with my Aunt Meredy and Uncle Earl,” she said.
She laughed about how, as a naive 18-year-old, she thought she could open a health spa, but instead couldn’t even land a job at a spa without experience. After six months of working as a cashier at a Winn-Dixie Supermarket, she returned home to Corry, Pa., so she could attend Edinboro University where she acquired a teaching degree in health and physical education. During her time at the university, she was the men’s and women’s intermural director, president of the Health and Phys Ed Club and did a weekly one minute radio health tip.
After graduation, she took a teaching position in Wattsburg, Pa. When the job ended, she subbed in all areas for the Corry School District. Later, she taught physical education for grades five through eight at Jamestown’s Washington Middle School.
For a period of time, she drove vehicles to and from auto auctions for her brother who managed a car dealership. She learned to do a quick detail to the vehicle if she ran into bad weather on the way to the auction.
She waitressed at the Bemus Point Inn for a few years and at the same time was a personal trainer for eight to 10 clients. She managed the deck and served at the Italian Fisherman for eight years.
While working in the office for a pipeline business in Randolph, she offered to detail the company’s trucks and was taken up on it by the owner. She became a welder’s helper for the same business and traveled to several jobsites in Maryland and Ohio. When she was not working out of state, she did various other jobs for the company, including deliveries and transporting vehicles.
Over the years, she worked as a caregiver, locally and in Florida. From 2007-2009, the woman of diverse interests attended nursing school.
She married Gale Denn, who had retired from the Erie County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department, in 2012. After he passed away in 2015, she worked at her brother’s tree farm in Oklahoma, which was one of her favorite jobs. When she returned to the area, she took a job at the Italian Fisherman in Bemus Point as a limo driver to help occupy her time. The limo ended up being a golf cart. After the restaurant was sold, she decided she would invest in her own electric vehicle because she enjoyed meeting and transporting tourists around the lakeside village. After much thought and planning, she purchased the shuttle.
“I signed the papers for this a week before they shut everything down in March,” she said. “I was going to trailer it to birthday parties, festivals, weddings, bachelorette parties and mass gatherings.”
Due to COVID-19, she offers shuttle service in the Mayville area, where she has been residing. As businesses are gradually opening, she has begun to get calls for the service. She hopes to return to Bemus Point next summer.
“It couldn’t be more COVID safe, as it is all open and the back seat faces out,” she explained.
She can close the sides of the shuttle, but chooses to keep it open during the pandemic. Couples and small groups have begun to use the service to take them to various locations and activities. Recently, a big brother hired her to take his young triplet sisters for ice cream on their birthdays.
“Kids are drawn to it. Many guys are drawn to it because it is like a cool little car,” she said. “I entertain and point out places of interest. I am able to tweak my business because I’m not extremely busy at this time.”
The entrepreneur attends Bemus Point United Methodist Church. She lists snorkeling in the Caribbean as one of her favorite things to do. She likes to work out and is currently doing the Beach Body program.
“I love to hike, especially at Chautauqua Gorge,” she said.
Molly, the labrador retriever she gifted her late husband, when the seven year old was just a puppy, gets plenty of exercise while accompanying Denn to Long Point and Barcelona Beach “where she plays ball in the water until she is exhausted.”
Denn enjoys baking in the winter months, especially during the holidays. In the month of November, she bakes and freezes delicious treats.
“That way, if I get invited to a party, I can pull something out of the freezer, slice and go,” she said.
Below she shares recipes that bring back fond memories of loved ones.
“My grandmother Ilona Hurley was originally from Hungary and she was known for her Halushki. She taught it to my mother and my mother, Mary Davis, taught it to any of the nine of us that were interested. Nothing better than a huge pot of Halushki to fill up a family of 11,” she reminisced. “My mother was all about making meals easy, practical and delicious.”
She talked about her mother making three trays of tomato toast for breakfast, which she served with a glass of orange juice.
“I remember people asking me when I was growing up what my mother did for a living,” she added. “I think taking care of nine children is more than enough.”
Whenever the Denns had leftover steak or prime rib, Gale would make it into Prime Rib Hash Breakfast.
“Call yourself very fortunate if you have a husband that loves to cook. The great thing about this dish is you can really have it for any meal. Make sure you’re doing something active that day as it’s a heavy meal.”
“One of the activities I enjoyed doing with my Dad was making doughnuts. He would have the dough ready. I would cut the doughnuts out and place them in a container and he would fry them in the pan. When we were all finished there was nothing better than a glass of milk and one of our doughnuts.”
To inquire or hire Miss Joanie’s Shuttle, call 338-5095. She accepts cash, credit and debit.
Grandma Ilona’s Hungarian Halushki
12 oz egg noodles, prepared according to package
1 medium cabbage, shredded
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper
In a large pan, melt butter. Add shredded cabbage and cook until completely tender and about a third of it is caramelized. Add prepared noodles. Continue cooking for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: A chopped onion may be added with the cabbage. Olive oil can be used in place of half of the butter. Amount of cabbage may be increased.
Bob Davis’s Cake Doughnuts
2 eggs, beaten
1 c sugar
1 c buttermilk
1/3 c oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
3-3 1/2 c flour
Combine ingredients. Refrigerate overnight for ease in handling dough. Roll dough out and cut doughnuts with a cutter. Place in very hot oil. Turn doughnuts as soon as they rise to surface. Watch continuously so they don’t burn. Remove and place on plates that have been covered with paper towels.
Aunt Meredy’s Foiled Dinner
Chicken, Steak or Kielbasa, approximately 4 oz per serving
Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, approximately 3-4 small per serving
Mushrooms, sliced, 5 per serving
Zucchini, sliced, 1/2 of a medium squash per serving
Yellow Squash, sliced 1/2 of a medium squash per serving
1 large onion, minced
1 1/2 sticks butter
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Heat grill using medium flame. Cut four pieces of aluminum foil, each large enough to accommodate ingredients listed. Divide all ingredients into four equal servings onto the foil. Add 4 1/2 T butter to each serving. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water to each serving. Fold foil into a boat so one end can be easily opened to add water, if needed. Place packets on grill, checking periodically to see if more water is needed. Plan on 40 minutes to an hour to cook or until potatoes are tender.
Note: Chicken or steak may be grilled separately and then chunked up and added to the packets.
Gale’s Prime Rib Hash Breakfast
2 T olive oil
8 oz leftover prime rib, cubed
2 large cooked potatoes, diced
1 small onion, minced
4 slices bread
Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add onion and cook for about a minute. Add diced potato and cubed prime rib. Cook hash to your liking. Shorter time will result in a softer potato and longer for a crispy potato. Once potatoes are close to being finished, take another frying pan and cook 4 over easy to over medium eggs. Put bread in toaster. Eggs and toast should be done pretty close to one another. Divide potatoes and prime rib between two plates. Top with 2 eggs and 2 pieces of buttered toast.
Mary D’s Tomato Toast
Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced to size of bread slice
Salt and pepper
Favorite cheese, optional
Set oven on broil. Toast bread on light setting. Butter warm toast and place a tomato slice on each slice. Lightly salt and pepper. Add cheese if desired. Place tomato toast on baking sheet and place in oven for less than a minute to prevent burnt edges. It is ready when edges of toast are browned. Set in warm over, if it cools down.