When you step inside Celebrity Restaurant, you get transported back in time. To a time when people cared about service, relationships and treating people with respect. And you shouldn’t expect anything less when you learn that long-time owner, Mike Samara, is a 91-year-old World War II veteran.
During the war, Mike served as a surgical assistant with an infantry division. He got a couple weeks worth of specific training and then was sent off to fight and help save lives in France, Belgium and ultimately Germany, where he stayed until the war ended.
When Mike took over Celebrity Restaurant in 1963, there had been three different owners in the previous year alone. All failing to turn the bar around and make it a success. Mike decided to take a different approach when he took over the reins. He brought in outstanding food, like the signature fried chicken — which is his favorite dish, and provided excellent service to everyone. His famous smile rubbed off on all who passed through the doors and before he knew it, Celebrity Restaurant was a runaway success.
If you’ve never been to Celebrity Restaurant, you should go. Not only for the great food, but also for all the stories hanging on the walls. As the name implies, many famous people have stopped in and enjoyed the food and drink offerings of Celebrity Restaurant. Like Bob Hope, one of the funniest comedians ever, who made it his duty to make sure our service men and women were entertained while fighting for our country. The posh chairs and inviting staff make sure you are comfortable while dining on great dishes made by great people.
Mike owes much of the success of his food offerings to his first cook, Mattie. Whose fried chicken recipe is still in use today, as are the same iron skillets from 1963.
What started out as a private club is now the cornerstone of 31st and Yale. Mike Samara has not only left a lasting impression on what it means to be a great restaurant owner, but also on what it means to serve your country.
This Memorial Day, take the time to thank all the military members that went out of their way and served this great country we are lucky to call home.
About Celebrity Restaurant:
3109 S. Yale Ave.
Open for lunch Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Open for dinner Monday-Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.