Chalet Suzanne, Lake Wales, FL
Mar 28, 2014
|We ate at Chalet Suzanne over 8 years ago, we had a great meal then, we went back and had another wonderful meal and the ambiance and view is extremely nice. The restaurant and resort are designated a Historical site.
In the “Boom Days” of the 1920’s, Carl and Bertha Hinshaw Sr. moved to the quiet community of Lake of the Hills, north of Lake Wales, Florida, to be near her aging parents. A short while later they found themselves partnered with J.L. Kraft, head of the Kraft Cheese Company. Together they planned to develop a lovely community- golfing, tennis and other amenities were planned for their acreage.
Shortly after construction began, the Great Depression ended the real estate boom in Florida. Most investors, including Mr. Kraft, withdrew from their expansive plans and returned north. Then, during a harsh winter in 1931, Carl Hinshaw Sr., age 47, developed pneumonia and passed away. Carl’s widow, Bertha, was left with their home, one “do-everything” servant, and two young children.
Bertha, a determined and gutsy lady, decided to make a living for her family doing what she knew best, making people feel at home.
Thus, in 1931, was born Suzanne’s Chalet, named after her only daughter. The name was permanently changed to Chalet Suzanne some while later.
Mr. And Mrs. Duncan Hines, who were touring the state at the time, discovered Suzanne’s Chalet.
They were so enthralled that the Hines’ included the Chalet in a Christmas card list they had written to send to their friends. It was a catalogue of wonderful places to stay and dine on the way to and from Florida.
Then, with Bertha tending the business alone, tragedy struck. At three in the morning a fire began in the kitchen. Despite the efforts of many of the local residents and the local volunteer fire department, the main house with the dining rooms burned to the ground. For quite some time after the fire, Central Florida citizens felt the loss of the Chalet Suzanne, as it had already become a landmark for the area.
After the war, Carl returned from the Pacific to help his mother rebuild.
A favorite of celebrities, Chalet Suzanne has a proud heritage and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On the property are five dining rooms, 30 guest rooms, a landing strip for airplanes, a gift shop, spa, the ceramic studio, a cannery for their soups and sauces, citrus groves and a small experimental vineyard.
The Chalet Suzanne Soup Cannery has a fascinating history of its own. It was begun in 1956 by Carl Hinshaw Jr. in his garage. After over fifty years of production, his family recipes have found themselves in many unusual but noteworthy places. They have been served in the Governors’ mansions of all fifty states, at the World’s Fair, and aboard Trans World and Eastern Airlines international flights.
The Hinshaw family has always run Chalet Suzanne. Four generations have lived and worked on the property.
Today Chalet Suzanne is a Mobil 3 Star restaurant and has been selected by Uncle Ben’s Rice as one of the Top 10 Country Inns in the US. Chalet Suzanne has also been named to the Florida Trend Magazine’s Golden Spoon Award ‘Hall of Fame’. Best of all, though, Chalet Suzanne Soups were selected by NASA and the crew of Apollo 15, thanks to friend and Astronaut James B. Irwin, to be aboard their trip to the moon in 1973. The soups also went into space on Apollo 16 and even the Russians chose these fine soups for their joint dinner meeting in space on Apollo-Soyuz.
Romaine® is their signature soup and is served with every meal at the Chalet Suzanne restaurant. By request of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, it can also be found with a special label, Moon Soup®. Thirteen unique gourmet soups and three sauces were developed by Carl and can be found in the finest stores nationwide, with gift boxes available worldwide, shipped direct from their cannery.