Celebrate Summer

The neighbors of Shore Acres can’t go a week this time of year without some sort of get-together. They invited us to their most patriotic party of the season for pound cake, a parade and the kind of conviviality that makes this pocket of Cleveland so inviting.

Emil Gaydos, 93, decorated his power wheelchair with flags for the occasion. He’s lived in Shore Acres since 1965 and, like most of his neighbors, he’s always up for a party. “I don’t miss anything,” he says, holding a piece of the pound cake that’s served at every celebration in this Cleveland neighborhood. Behind him, three picnic tables are packed with food. The lake is calm today; the cupcake-fueled children climbing on the swing set are not.

Celebrate Summer
Photo: Laura Watilo Blake

Megan and Daniel Doerr live a few houses down from the community park where the party is being held. They had been perfectly happy, blissful even, living in a Cleveland neighborhood filled with restaurants and restored Victorian homes. “I never thought I’d leave,” Megan says. What drew her to Shore Acres seven years ago was the chance to live on the water.

But she and her husband ended up getting so much more than a good view. They became a part of a small but tight neighborhood with a penchant for parties and an everyone-is-welcome mentality. All ages, races and income levels live here. Sure, there are yuppies in renovated lakefront homes worth more than a half million, but many homes without lake views can be had for less than $100,000.

The commonality is a love of the lake — and of celebrations big and small. There are Friday-night movies in the park, horseshoe games, progressive dinners, parades, weekly bonfires and tons of impromptu meet-ups. “Whoever is cooking is where we end up,” Megan says. What’s more, at least five weddings have taken place overlooking the water in the past 10 years.

But the biggest bash is always July Fourth. It starts early with a decorated bike parade, moves to the park for a shared feast and culminates down by the water in an old boathouse carved into the side of a hill that, according to legend, used to be the domain of bootleggers. Meredith Pangrace and her husband, Scott Stettin, own the property now and use the secret space for neighborhood jam sessions and parties.

Shore Acres encompasses 168 houses on the near east side of Cleveland. It was developed in the 1920s by the Shore Acres Land Co. to be a showcase of architectural styles. Thus, every house has a theme. One house looks like it belongs in the Mediterranean. Another was built to resemble a pagoda. There’s a chalet, a Tudor and an Arts and Crafts-style home.

Jessica Wolf is the granddaughter of Alexander Wolf, the architect who designed the pagoda house. She moved to Shore Acres this spring to a house built in 1924 on a street that ends at the lake. She and her husband are restoring the home to its original condition.

She liked the house initially, but she loved the people. The first time she looked at the property, she felt welcome. “The neighbor from across the street came running up,” Wolf says. “She was smiling and waving. I knew then this was where I wanted to be.”

At the party, Theresa Mitchell’s famous pound cake is running low. She says she makes it probably a dozen times a year for various events. She’s been making it — “everybody close your ears” — for 25 years. “And I can’t just make one,” she adds. It goes too fast.

Chris and Anne Brown moved to Shore Acres from Chicago. “We saw a listing and it said beach access and so we just went for it,” she says. The couple has a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. Living in the city with small children has proven to be far more rewarding than they imagined.

“We don’t need summer camp,” Anne says. “Because we’re all here on the lake.”

Their kids are playing today with more than a dozen other children. While some little ones try to sneak more cupcakes, two older girls sit on swings and chat. The adults sip sangria and beer at tables overlooking the water.

Everybody’s having fun — together. Just like they always do at Shore Acres.

Pesto Sliders

By Danielle Rini-Uva


3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

½ cup pine nuts, toasted and cooled

1 garlic clove, peeled

¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (seriously,
get the block and grate it)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

5 chicken breasts, grilled then cooled

Slider buns

In a food processor, combine basil, pine nuts, cheese and garlic until finely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil with the machine running. Process until smooth. Add more olive oil if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shred chicken and mix with pesto. Serve warm or room temperature on buns.

Summer Sangria

By Meredith Pangrace


5 or 6 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

4 or 5 sprigs mint

2-liter bottle chilled club soda

1 bottle chilled Pinot Grigio

1 sliced orange

1 sliced lemon

1 sliced lime

5 or 6 sliced strawberries


In a large pitcher, muddle peaches and mint. Add remaining ingredients and serve.

Whatever’s Growing Summer Salad

By Megan Doerr

This salad, usually dressed with oil, vinegar and minced fresh herbs, contains as many local ingredients as possible. In Northeast Ohio, that means:

In June: lettuce/microgreens/spinach, radishes, grilled asparagus, local eggs (hard boiled), local cheese (goat cheese, for example), fresh herbs (whatever you
are growing)

In July: whatever greens you can get, grilled summer squash, cucumber, onion (raw or grilled), roasted beets, beans, broccoli (steamed or raw), carrots, peas, local eggs, local cheese, fresh herbs

In August: greens (chard is often ready), sweet peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, fingerling potatoes, grilled eggplant,
local eggs, local cheese, fresh herbs

In September: lettuce and/or kale (ribs removed, thinly sliced), roasted winter squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes,
local eggs, local cheese, fresh herbs

Every-Party Pound Cake

By Theresa Mitchell


For cake:

2 sticks butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon
or vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

For icing:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh fruit if desired

For the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan and set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add extract. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Intermittently add buttermilk, beating well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until tester comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, and then turn out of pan. Cool completely.

For the icing: Place confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon milk and vanilla and whisk together, adding more milk as necessary to make a pourable icing. Place in a plastic bag, cut off one corner and drizzle over cooled cake. Serve with fruit if desired.

Classic Deviled Eggs

By Theresa Mitchell


1 dozen eggs

Seasoning salt to taste

Onion powder to taste

Dash red pepper flakes

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet relish

Boil eggs, let them cool, then peel and cut in half the long way. Take the yolk out of each egg half. Mash up the yolk with a potato masher in a mixing bowl, add seasoning salt, onion powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add mayonnaise and sweet relish to your liking for flavor and texture. Stir together well. Add the mixture back to the egg halves, and sprinkle with paprika to finish.