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Chalet Suzanne....a history
If you have visited Florida then you have probably heard of Chalet Suzanne and may have even visited this enchanting place. The history of this charming place merits an article of its own.
Chalet Suzanne was founded by Carl and Bertha Hinshaw who moved to the area in order to be closer to Berthas elderly parents.
Their original plan was to build a leisure/ golf complex and they had several backers including a member of the Kraft cheese family.
However, more or less as soon as the building work started, so did the Great Depression and most of the backers withdrew.
To make matters worse, Carl developed pneumonia in 1931 and sadly died so Bertha was left to manage on her own and as we will discover, manage she did!
As a couple the Hinshaws had travelled extensively and entertained a lot. Bertha decided to put this experience to good use and so Suzannes Tavern was conceived. This was named for her daughter.
Once completed, it took only 7 days to attract their first guests and this family turned into regulars.
Very shortly aftrewards Duncan Hines put the Tavern into his travel book called Adventures in Good eating and so they were launched.
Berthas son and daughter (Carl and Suzanne) helped in the business til Carl went off to war. Carl was a pilotand Suzanne married her favourite customer and they moved to New York.
Thus it was that when Chalet Suzanne burned down, poor Bertha had to face the devastation alone. The fire strted in the kitchen.
Fortunately Carl survived the war and returned to help his mother re build. Since there was little money and no building materials, they used old building materials and whatever they could find to create new dining rooms. This accounts to the 14 levels that the dining rooms occupy today.
In 1956, Carl founded the Chalet Suzanne soup cannery and the soup he canned is world renowned and has been served at the highest tables and even on space shuttles.
Romaine Soup is on the menu here for every single meal serving and you should try this at least once
Chalet Suzanne is now on the National Register of Historic Places and currently there are 30 rooms, a gift shop, spa, pottery studio and a landing strip all in this lovely setting.
The nicest post script to this little tale is that Chalet Suzanne is still in the Hinshaw family and has been through 4 generations of the family.
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Page added on: 13 October 2009
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