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Early in 1925 Santina and Pietro Berta, my grandparents, purchased the property of a local physician here in Wanaque. Having previously vacationed in the area, they wanted a summer residence away from the heat of New York's Chelsea District. Pietro, a fancy butcher, and Santina, a trained seamstress, had no thought of opening a business even though their families had been restaurateurs in Italy.

Knowing that this home was too large for their family, they decided to lease part of the property to one Leo Berta (no relation), for yes, a restaurant. After his first season, Leo decided not to renew and returned to Manhattan as Maitre d' of One Fifth Avenue, a famous hotel of the time. My grandparents decided to carry on and so began BERTA'S CHATEAU.

The business began to grow on its present site (the former carriage barn) with a new room or new look every few years: my grandmother told me that she would make changes while my grandfather was away on vacation, something she rarely took. BERTA'S reputation grew nearly as fast as Santina's collection of antiques and rooms, and by the mid 1950's our classic look and menu had been formed. Perhaps, when people think of BERTA'S this is what they remember.

When renovations commenced in May of 1989, many loyal customers expressed their hope that we wouldn't alter the look or feel of the building; of course, many have forgotten or been unaware of the many changes in those early days. I believe that we have succeeded in preserving the warmth and charm my grandparents imbued in our family restaurant a distinct feeling of being "at home." After nearly 80 years, we are still a family business and look forward to serving your family for many years to come.


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