Balaton Restaurant, a Hungarian staple in Cleveland’s Shaker Square for more than 25 years, will close its dining room at the end of the year and is scouting new locations on the east side of Cleveland.

In a Nov. 17 news release, General Manager George Ponti offered a thank you to the restaurant’s diners and supporters.

“We are much obliged to our largest supporting community here in Cleveland, and right here around Beachwood, Mayfield, Orange (and the) near east side area,” Ponti wrote in a Nov. 17 email to the Cleveland Jewish News. “We humbly thank the support of the community, pulling us through a huge try of our times generally called COVID. We see no better time to be grateful for the past friendship and the care we had received in 2021.”

The restaurant will continue to offer carry-out from its current location through January 2022.

Currently, Ponti said it is scouting new dining and catering locations “up and down the I-271 area” from Solon to Wilson Mills Road. He said 60% to 70% of the restaurant’s clientele is located in that vicinity, but noted diners also visit from all over the country.

“We are the last of the old guard, cooking and serving the time-tried recipes,” Ponti said.

Balaton was on Buckeye Road for more than 30 years before moving to Shaker Square.

Balaton was the beneficiary of funds raised by a GoFundMe account to help cover rent and other bills from 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The GoFundMe was set up with a goal of $60,000, and within 10 days the goal was met, local media reported. As of Nov. 23, $90,510 had been raised from 789 donations, of a $120,000 goal.

“Hands down, when the sounding of alarm bell went loud, the help via GoFundMe was pouring in and it did save us from closing right at start of 2021,” Ponti said. “But now, we are looking at 2022 with new hope and desire to continue our culinary traditions.”

The restaurant will continue to provide updates regarding the new location, he said.

“Although we are losing our Shaker Square residence, we felt such a strong (following) we have cause and reason to rebuild,” Ponti said.

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