Cleo Hariklea BeLer, 90, operated a popular North Avenue restaurant

November 16, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Cleo Hariklea BeLer, 90, who with her husband operated a popular Baltimore restaurant, died of heart failure Saturday at Mercy Medical Center.

She and her husband, Peter BeLer, who died in 1968, operated the North Inn at North Avenue and Charles Street from 1929 until they sold it in the early 1950s. They then moved to Williamsburg, Va., and opened the Williamsburg Restaurant.

Mrs. BeLer sold the Williamsburg Restaurant in 1970 and returned to Baltimore to be near her sons, C. P. "Buzz" BeLer and C. N. "Nick" BeLer, who opened the Prime Rib on East Chase Street in Baltimore in 1965 and also operate the Prime Rib in Washington.

The North Inn was located near Loewe's Parkway Theater, the Aurora Theater, Doebereiner's Bakery, Tuttle's Hall and Whalen's Drugstore and was on a major transfer point for several lines of the city's streetcar system. The all-night restaurant was popular with couples who attended dances and functions at the nearby Polytechnic Institute and others who simply wished to squeeze a little more pleasure out of an evening.

Born in Sparta, Greece, she emigrated to the United States, arriving at Ellis Island in New York in 1907 with her family. She grew up in Erie, Pa., and briefly returned to Greece to live with a childless uncle and aunt before returning to Tampa, Fla., in 1921 to be near relatives.

She accompanied her brother to Miami at the invitation of a reporter for a Greek newspaper who was eager for her to meet two Greek brothers, one of whom operated a restaurant on Flagler Street in Miami.

She married Peter BeLer in 1926, the year the a devastating

hurricane hit Florida, destroying her husband's restaurant, according to a memoir she wrote for her grandson. "He only survived the 150 mph winds because he managed to hold onto a strong pipe, otherwise he would have been swept away," she wrote.

With the Florida land boom collapsing and the restaurant destroyed, the newly married couple came to Baltimore where they had relatives and opened the North Inn.

She was active for many years at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Philopthochos Society.

For many years, she enjoyed acting in shows that raised money for the church.

"She loved to play leads and I was very much taken with her even though I was younger and playing juvenile roles," recalled Ted George, 77, a Towson resident and a friend of Mrs. BeLer.

"She was devoted to her only grandchild and her family. She also was a great cook and loved to cook Greek cuisine," said her son, C. P. "Buzz" BeLer of Washington, D.C.

Services were set for 11 a.m. today at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Maryland Avenue and Preston Street in Baltimore.

In addition to her sons, she is survived by a grandson, Peter Hill BeLer, of Washington.

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