The History Behind Holiday House Studios
“What are the secrets to success, especially when it comes to business?” The entrepreneur and business genius himself, John Bertera knew the answer. His dream and $250,000 later - October 12, 1955 he opened the doors to the infamous Holiday House and Motel on William Penn Highway, Monroeville, Pennsylvania.
In 1955, minimum wage was raised to $1.00 and artificial diamonds were created. Black and white TV’s cost $99.95 and The Johnny Carson show came to us on CBS-TV. Unbeknownst to Mr. Bertera, Johnny would speak of the Holiday House on his show. The cost of gas was 23₵ a gallon but the stars would be arriving at the local airport to perform at the iconic Supper Club. John’s son Robert and his wife Tammy would rush to the local airport and escort the stars to the Holiday House, always making certain of their guest’s happiness, comforts, and satisfaction.
More than a restaurant, a motel, a night club, the Holiday House was the closest thing to Atlantic City and John drew in all the top acts. As a team, and assisting in the operations were John’s three brothers James, Bill and Mario. Folks came for fine dining, banquets, luncheons and tradeshows and even the gorgeous rooms to rest from their travels, but this was where one came to be wowed by the star-studded entertainers that came to perform. Huge headliners like Liberace, The Temptations, The Three Stooges, Charo, and Jay Leno performed. Even Wayne Newton got “his start” in show business there.
This community landmark attracted visitors from all around the country and it drew the locals out of the city of Pittsburgh for live, affordable entertainment. You were in a town population of about 12,600 but when inside the Holiday House you were treated like an esteemed guest. John ensured the staff was well experienced in courtesy and hospitality. Whether sitting in a lounge chair at the Patio Pool or enjoying char-broiled entrees from the open hearth in the Double HH Grill, the service was top notch. With his brilliant business mind and overly generous heart, John’s motto was left imprinted on all “Give $11.00 of value for everybody who wants to spend $10.00 and $3.00 for any person spending $2.00 at the Holiday House.”
The most outstanding showplace between New York and Chicago will remain a historical part of not only Monroeville, but the vast parts of the entertainment world. Ensuring that the Holiday House lives on through the Bertera namesake, John’s grandson, RJ Bertera is the local mastermind and creator of Holiday House Studios. It is here that RJ re-instills the entertainment business in Monroeville through the music industry. He is working with big names in the modern era (check out his work with local artist and The Voice contestant Mia Z). His visions are grand much like his grandfather’s. If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place. RJ is going places and taking the entertainment industry with him. His lineage is proof of the successes to come.
Written by Eileen Marie