If the late movie actor Cameron Mitchell were alive today, his name would no doubt be wrongfully added to the list of film stars like Robert De Niro, George Clooney, Kate Hudson, Mark Wahlberg, Sandra Bulloch, Drew Barrymore, Clint Eastwood, etc., who now have their hands in the restaurant business.
But thankfully, there is another real live Cameron Mitchell … who, plus being a fine restaurateur himself, may be among the reasons why good friend Gary Callicoat and his Rusty Bucket chain is in existence among the nation’s top casual eatery chains serving comfort food.
Mitchell and Callicoat met while both were in management positions with a former group of restaurants before it folded … They became friends, with the Rusty Bucket head joining Mitchell in 1999 and becoming general manager of his Mitchell’s Martini Italian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.

Gary Callicoat

When 2002 arrived, Gary Callicoat opened his own first Rusty Bucket in Dublin, Ohio, serving comfort food and a large selection of draft beer … Cameron Mitchell was one of his investors.
That initial Rusty Bucket with food items to serve the entire family has grown to 24 units in six states, with more slated to come … Of the present 24, four are in the northwest sectors of Metropolitan Detroit … Bingham Farms (Telegraph, south of 13 Mile), Bloomfield Hills (Woodward, south of Square Lake Road) and two in Northville (Traditions Drive, corner of Haggerty and Seven Mile), and Sheldon Road, north of 5 Mile) … Plans call for more Rusty Buckets to open in varied sectors of the country … I was impressed with the cleanliness and was quickly told that Callicoat is a stickler on this … along with something that not enough chain restaurants present … food prepared fresh daily from scratch … vegetarian and gluten-free included.
This sometimes “lost art” of food preparation among many restaurant chains is much appreciated, as is a daily listing of the week’s special food offerings and children’s menu along with a regular bill-of-fare and one for varied liquid refreshments.
A notable record for a one-time 15-year-old dishwasher whose ascendency in the restaurant industry is a credit to Callicoat’s rapid rise to comfort food dining success … On this, only Rusty Bucket’s short 15th anniversary year, it continues to receive lauding … The latest is being honored as one of the top 50 restaurant chains by FSR (Food Service Restaurant) magazine.
Certainly a success story of Rusty Bucket’s founder and president Gary Callicoat, who became his own star.
REARVIEW MIRROR … Sammy Lieberman saw a dream come true when the Raleigh House general manager and vice president watched with big cigar and smile at the opening of the restaurants in it, House of Lords for gourmet dining and Lion’s Head English style pub … Then two days later, its Piccadilly Delicatessen run by George Fink. But then came a huge disappointment … One that only a few people knew about … and to this day is still a mystery … Why a planned 12-story, 300-room hotel on the same property was never built.
DATES TO REMEMBER … If you missed former localite Lisa Klein and her documentary The S Word, she’ll be back showing it Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Maple Theater in West Bloomfield, and in Ann Arbor on Friday, Nov. 10.
David Syme and his flying fingers on the piano beautifully strumming the 88 keys on a magnificent array of tunes … Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. at the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center’s Berman Theater for The Performing Arts … Call Leslie Katz, director of Friends of Jewish Life, (248) 592-5062 for tickets … David is a real treat!
OLDIE BUT GOODIE … (Reprinted by huge request) … For their 70th anniversary, a man wants to buy his wife the most sheer lingerie he can find. The saleswoman leaves and brings out an outfit.
“This is $200,” she says.
“I want one that’s more sheer,” says the fellow.
She brings out another one and says, “This is $350.”
“I want it even more sheer than that.”
“This is the most sheer that we have. It’s $500.”
“I’ll take it!”
The man goes home to his wife and gives it to her, saying, “Put this on and come down to model it for me.”
His wife goes upstairs, opens the box and thinks, “This thing is so see-through that he won’t even know if I’m wearing it or not! I can take this back for a refund and he won’t know the difference.”
His wife comes out wearing nothing at all and strikes a pose at the top of the stairs, “So how do you like this?” she asks.
“Darn it,” he says. “You’d think for $500 they’d iron the darn thing!”
CONGRATS … To Jay Parr on his birthday … To David Wechsler on his birthday … To Amy Wechsler on her birthday … To Larry Dictor on his birthday •

Danny’s email address is dannyraskin2132@gmail.com.

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