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A Quick Bite at the Sandy Chanty: A taste of the past
Lobster lasagna just down the strip from the cotton candy and fries

by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
The antique shooting gallery behind the bar still works.
Courtesy of Zachary Duvall
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Summer resort food tends to be cheap, fast, and fried, but on the strip in Geneva-on-the-Lake, sandwiched between the corn dog and lemonade stands, a seafood restaurant boasts gourmet cuisine.

For this week’s Quick Bite, we visit the Sandy Chanty:

smoked lobster and a smokin' shooting gallery

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Pat Bowen opened the restaurant 9 years ago on the entertainment strip at Geneva-on-the-Lake
Bawdy sea chanties as much as 500 years old are laminated on the bar.
Mark Hollinger of Pittsburg tries his luck at catching a lobster.
Chef/owner Pat Bowen keeps an eye on everything from her kitchen porthole but she spends most of her time cooking since she insists on doing it all herself.
Drumplay's jazz and percussion is a favorite at the Chanty.
Pat insists on local produce and no cover bands.
Smoked lobster dip is popular at the bar.
Bar patrons cheer whenever the shooting gallery sounds off.
Bowen has her own smoker and along with the fish smokes potatoes for her hash browns.
The animals in the shooting gallery are a little the worse for wear after being fired on for decades by 22 rifles. That stopped  in the early 80s long before the restaurant opened.

Saturday nights in summer, about an hour’s drive from Cleveland, Geneva-on-the-Lake gets kind of crazy. 

It’s party-time with merry-makers spilling out of the bars and on to the strip grabbing burgers and fries, hot dogs and pizza, fried dough, cotton candy and ice cream.

And on the same strip, just a few doors down from a miniature golf course, T-shirt  shop and video arcade, we enter the relative calm of the Sandy Chanty.

Chef Patt Bowen, opened the restaurant 9 years ago.  

She’d always wanted her own seafood place and loved the atmosphere here .

“People are coming from everywhere to enjoy themselves so rarely do you have anybody that’s in a bad mood. It’s just a party town. We’re just constantly having fun.”

Whimsical decor
The décor is whimsical, nautical, and historical.

Bowen worked with experts at Cambridge University to obtain original sea chanties from the years 1400 to 1665 . She encased them in plastic on the surface of a bar fronted by 300 pounds of sand. 

The Cleveland jazz fusion band Drum Play is a regular on Saturday nights.

Food history
Bowen also brings in her many varied interests. She’s a lace-maker, a lithographer, and a published author. She received her culinary training at the Paganini School in Chesterland , and cuisine is her art form, but what excites her most is  history.

“A lot of the sauces I make are historical recipes. I use the herbs of Provence quite often. My lobster bisque, the lobster lasagna, the lobster focaccia, I love lobster, and I do that with lavender which is one of the original herbs of Provence.”

Everything's local
She makes everything from scratch and gets most ingredients from local sources, including her own enormous garden.

I fly my fish in from all over. I fly in Mako shark from Hawaii. I’ll fly in a loin of shark, butcher it right in my kitchen. I just flew in ruby red trout from Colorado. Perch, walleye, all from Lake Erie.

But there’s one thing in Geneva on the Lake you won’t find anywhere else but the Sandy Chanty. 

In fact there are only four others like it in the world.

Shooting gallery still function
s
Behind the bar there’s  a Coney Island shooting gallery,  from the 1920s, and weekend bartender Joe Jackson says it still works:

The antique shooting gallery was built in 1926 in Coney Island New York . It was brought here in 1931. It was shot at continuously with real 22s until 1982. President Reagan was shot in ’81 and the gun laws changed and the owner actually dry-walled over it and it was covered for almost 30 years. Nine years ago Pat Bowen, our chef and owner, she was looking for extra storage space. She broke through and found it.”

Bar patrons watch in awe as  little metal animals prance by, pocked and dented by the bullets that no longer fly.

Chef Bowen loves to play with it but rarely has time. Her restaurant serves 65 at the tables and more at the bar. It’s usually packed, and she does all the cooking herself.

“I’m a Ninja chef!” says Bowen. 


Related Links & Resources
The Sandy Chanty website

 
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