Our History

The Cove was opened in 1963 by Peter Macchia, his nephew Bobby Nocera and Peter’s parents, Frank and Jeanette.

A native of New Castle, Pa., Pete came to GOTL with his parents as a young child and fell in love with the lake and the atmosphere.

Peter’s inspiration for a live music venue at Geneva-on-the-Lake came from working at The Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif., during the 1950s and ’60s.

Edwin Schuman took a special interest in Peter, a maître d’hôtel, and gave him business advice for his investments back at Geneva-on-the-Lake, where Peter opened Pete’s Grill circa 1953.

The grill competed with its neighbor to the east, Eddie’s Grill, by selling hot dogs two for a quarter when Eddie was selling his at 15 cents each. Pete’s had the foot-long hot dogs that Eddie sold, and also a hot dog with a Coney Island sauce.

Peter Macchia also was one for promotions, like asking a beautiful woman in a one-piece bathing suit and high heels to pose with him attempting to feed the woman a giant hot dog.

Peter eventually abandoned hot dogs for live music and a bar. He purchased a cottage and converted it to a live-music venue that opened as “The Cove” in 1963. Fashioned after the night clubs that he’d been exposed to in California, The Cove began a popular venue for up-and-coming rock bands and performers from Northeast Ohio, as well as national acts.

The Cove was at the center of the disturbance of July 4, 1965, that the media call “riots” and would give The Cove and village a bad name for years to come. Nevertheless, Peter Macchia rode out the storm and continued to invest in The Strip by purchasing and re-opening closed enterprises and creating new ones.

Peter Macchia died in 2014 at the age of 85. His obituary follows. His son, PJ, now operates The Cove and other businesses started by him and his father.

Obituary for Cove founder, Peter Macchia:
Posted (starbeacon.com): Monday, November 10, 2014 9:00 am

GENEVA — Pete Macchia, age 85, of Geneva, passed away Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

He was born in New Castle, Pa., on Oct. 20, 1929, to Jeanette Strazze Macchia and Frank Macchia. He attended New Castle High School and graduated with the class of 1948.

As a young man, Pete visited Geneva-on-the-Lake with his family. It began a life-long love affair with the small village on the shores of Lake Erie. He made the village his home where he opened and operated several businesses. His dedication and vision for Geneva-on-the-Lake is legendary.

Pete, along with the help of his family and nephew, Bobby Nocera, opened his first business, “Petes Grill” in 1954. He worked the Grill in the summertime and during the winter months worked in Palm Springs at the famous Riviera Hotel under the mentorship of Irwin Shuman, who later became his good friend. Pete learned all he could as he worked in the kitchen, in the restaurant, as a maitre’d, and as a wine steward in the famous “Chi-Chi” club, where he met celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Walt Disney and so many more.

After working in the night club in Palm Springs, Pete fell in love with the entertainment industry and brought this vision back to Geneva-on-the-Lake, where he built and opened the Cove night club in 1963. The venue is still owned and operated by the family. It has hosted many famous entertainers including Jimmy Hendrix, The Drifters, The Coasters, The Platters, Donnie Iris, The Jaggerz, Gary Glenn and the Jewel Tones, Joe Walsh of the Eagles, Jani Lane, LA Guns, Skid Row, Slaughter, Quiet Riot and Mushroomhead. He also promoted local bands and influenced many musicians in advancing their careers in the music industry.

Pete was distinguished for his civic involvement and influence in bringing economic development to the community such as the first condo project to Geneva-on-the-Lake which is now Sturgeon Point, the Colonial Bed and Breakfast, and by his strong support of emergency service needs by purchasing and donating Geneva-on-the-Lake’s first ambulance.

Pete was named Citizen of the Year in 2004, and honored as Senior of the Year in 2012. He served his community as a council member, held a seat on the planning committee and was a Chamber of Commerce trustee. He became a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus in April of 1988.

Pete loved life; he loved his work, his family and working on his farm. He raised cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and had horses, ponies, goats and his beloved German Shepherds. Pete loved to cook in his spare time and enjoyed making Browns Sunday meals for fans that came to watch the game. Pete had a passion for food and was the first one in line at a new restaurant in the area.

Pete was preceded in death by his mother, Jeanette Strazze Macchia; father, Frank Macchia; sisters, Virginia Nocera and Mary D’Antonio; nephew and business partner, Robert Nocera; and son, Michael P. Macchia.