Ever Wonder How This Epic West Side Restaurant and Lounge Started Out In Life?
Part 1: The Roots
The roots of Don’s Lighthouse Grille kinda date back to 1911 – when German immigrant Otto Poschke founded “Poschke’s Barbeque” and Edgewater Park was all the rage.
In the early 1900’s Otto was a beloved streetcar conductor on the old St. Clair Avenue run. Then in 1911 he married Elma and the two of them opened a 10’x10’ “barbeque shack” on the north area of Lake Avenue and Detroit Avenue at West 57th street.
It just so happened that the Edgewater Beach Bathhouse was built in 1911. It attracted throngs of people. In those days, the lake level was much higher and the water came up to the bathhouse. Otto and Elma’s “barbeque shack” served those people who frequented the Edgewater Park area.
The refreshments included Coca-Cola, peanuts, popcorn, taffy, hot dogs and hamburgers along with a variety of barbequed meats. Success made it possible for Poschke to grow into multiple locations. By the middle 1920’s the Poschkes became so successful that they were ready to expand once more – this time consolidating all of their “barbeque shacks” into one “Palace.” Otto had grown tired of people saying, “Oh, you’re the owner of that little hot dog stand.” So, Otto hired revered Cleveland architect Henry Hradilek and charged him with creating a new building that would stand as a landmark and resemble either an elegant library or an art museum. (Or more importantly…. the future Don’s Lighthouse Grille).
Part 2: Building the Landmark
The result was a $250,000 (1928 dollars, mind you) renaissance pastiche which could easily serve as a movie set. History has it that the first floor contained an elaborate version of his old barbecue and deli counter. On the mezzanine level there was the traditional soda fountain – becoming the ultimate hang out, the second level hosted society parties and the occasional awesome private affair.
The entire third floor was the new Poshchke’s residence with their five children. Served by an elevator which opened privately to the third floor, there were a series of bedrooms, a large bathroom complex off a long hall leading to a paneled library, living room and an elegant solarium with a glass domed ceiling complete with a marble floor and beautiful fountain. French doors to the solarium opened onto a spacious and very private roof garden-sun-porch. Today the third floor has been converted into fantastic office space.
Part 3: New Beginnings
In 1972, Don Strang and company launched Don’s Lighthouse Inn here to fabulous reviews and soon became known throughout the city as the place for the freshest seafood, best steaks and generous drinks. Today, Don’s Lighthouse Grille continues its tradition of serving the best seafood, steaks and chops in town paired with a commitment to service that strives to exceed the expectations of our guests.