Boeckling's Banquet serves a terrific beginning to Halloweekends at Cedar Point
Written by James Koehl
Halloweekends at Cedar Point has become one of the most popular autumn events in northern Ohio, and my family and a friend of ours was privileged to enjoy one special and unique part of it, Boeckling's Banquet. Special, because we enjoyed one of the best meals we have ever had at a theme park (including the Orlando parks), and unique, because I have never heard of any theme park offering a formal sit-down dinner in an on-site haunted house.Tweet
Some background first: G.A. Boeckling was a Sandusky, Ohio businessman who bought a struggling Lake Erie resort called Cedar Point and turned it into "the Queen of American Watering Places." The administration building he built in the center of the resort served as the headquarters for what became the Cedar Fair Corporation until a few years ago, when a new structure was built next to it.
Rather than tearing this historic structure down, Cedar Point has kept it and turned it into the Eerie Estate, a haunted house packed with an amazing collection of antique furniture, bizarre curios, evil portraits and the zombified servants of Mr. Boeckling.
Every day during Halloweekends, before the Estate is opened to the public as one of the 10 haunted houses and mazes at Cedar Point, it is opened to a limited number of special dinner guests. These guests are greeted at the door by two of Mr. Boeckling's recently reanimated servants: Lucious, the Butler, and Sara Piano, Mistress of the House,
who welcome the diners and invite them to explore the mansion on their way to the center of the Estate and the site of the Banquet, the main Dining Room.
The beautiful antique dining table seats nine, four on each side and one at one end. The head of the table is reserved for the spirit of Mr. Boeckling. Other tables seating two diners each line the walls. The dining room walls are decorated with a painted pattern that, on closer examination, resembles evil eyes and screaming fang-like teeth.
Rotting floral arrangements covered with cobwebs decorate the table, and a low rumbling sound of evil provides appropriate background atmosphere. Piercing screams or a sudden pounding on the wall of the room keeps the diners entertained and occasionally startled. More zombie servants appear and assist guests in being seated, taking their orders for beverages and occasionally dust off a guest who sits still for too long.
Each meal starts with Boeckling's Salad, a wonderfully fresh salad of greens with strawberries, oranges and coconut and served with a delicious berry vinaigrette dressing (resembling a small vial of blood) on the side.
Freshly-baked dinner rolls and butter balls compliments this first course.
One surprised guest popped one of the butter balls into her mouth, thinking it was candy! She said that it was still delicious.
There are four entrees available, and they have to be ordered at the time reservations are made. Diners can choose from:
Lobster Tail and Petit Filet Mignon,
Char-Grilled Filet Mignon,
Shrimp, Scallop and Lobster Alfredo.
Our group tried each of these entrees, and everyone agreed that they were cooked perfectly. My son is a crab leg connoisseur, and he raved about the quality and quantity of the crab meat.
The steaks were cooked to order and to perfection, and the seafood Alfredo was so good and such a large serving that my wife took more than half of it home for lunch the next day. My lobster tail was large enough that it by itself would have been sufficient for a meal, but the petite filet mignon it came with was too good to pass up.
Each was served with side dishes of twice-baked potatoes with a cheese wafer garnish (cooked perfectly), asparagus (which I don't normally like but I ate all of mine) and some had a garnish of absolutely flawless fresh fruit.
Beverages available were soft drinks (Pepsi products), beer and wine. The water goblets, which were shaped like skulls held in a skeleton's hand, were a souvenir to be taken home after the banquet.
Dessert this year was an incredible chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling, and decorated with chocolate sticks and a white chocolate medallion emblazoned with the Eerie Estate logo.
I must share with you last year's dessert, which was your choice of a chocolate skull or Frankenstein head filled with strawberry mousse and fresh strawberries.
We could not decide which we liked better- both were wonderful!
I did not hear a single complaint from any of our fellow diners. My group all were in agreement that the meal was one of the best we have ever had anywhere, especially considering it was served by zombies in a haunted house in the middle of an amusement park! Chef Brian J. Poloski and his staff of zombies are to be commended for creating such a unique and enjoyable experience. Many people have made Boeckling's Banquet a regular part of their Halloween festivities, and our family intends to do so also.
The banquet is served every Friday night at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. by reservation only (419-627-2242). Price is $68.95 per meal, which includes tax and gratuity. Yes, the price does seem steep, but considering that it includes tax and tip, the amazingly high quality of the meal and atmosphere, plus having private access to one of the best haunted houses at Cedar Point, made it completely reasonable.
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