Sammy Lieberman, a well-liked caterer who, with nine others, founded the prestigious former Raleigh House on Telegraph Road in Southfield.

One of many stories regarding restaurant ownership by men or women, is that of 10 men, led by one man who became its owner, vice president and general manager … and thoroughly enjoyed the successful realization of a fervent dream.

His name … Sammy Lieberman, a well-liked caterer who, with nine others, founded the prestigious former Raleigh House on Telegraph Road in Southfield.

Against many odds, the restaurant brains took hold as in 1973 it became what was to eventually become their elegant House of Lords gourmet dining room and Lion’s Head English-style pub … Then two days later, with George Fink manager, was the opening of their Piccadilly Delicatessen (“When you pick a deli, Piccadilly”) and Sammy’s son Erwin “Itsy” ran errands plus helped George cut the corned beef, etc. … and Raleigh House also soon became America’s largest private catering firm.

The new restaurants were opened in a record 10-months’ time, covering an area of 20,000 square feet … The House of Lords sat 156 with food brought in carts with selections from eight pages of gourmet choices … The Piccadilly Deli sat 166 …The Lion’s Head seated 140 … and, among untold amounts in the elegant catering rooms, six that I walked through myself.

Yes, it was a long way from 1943 when Sammy owned the Blaine Restaurant and Avalon Room in Oak Park … It was like a dream come true for him in 1973 … He now walked about it with a beaming face of his elegant House of Lords dining room and Lion’s Head English Style pub, etc. … The Raleigh, America’s largest private catering firm, became a part of Interstate United, then the fifth-largest food chain in the United States.

Executive chef was Milos Cihelka, who had won two gold medals as a member of the U.S. Culinary Olympics in Frankfort, Germany.

Raleigh House matchbook

Opening of a 12-story, 300-room Raleigh Hotel never happened … But the new restaurants were opened in a record 10-month time.

AS THE BAN on complete sit-down dining is reduced to 50% capacity, it may remind many folks to call numerous higher-end eateries for reservations … It might also give some eateries a huge opportunity to get their fine servers and others back … and, if needed, some fixup at the restaurant.

FORMER MAYOR of Oak Park, Jerry Naftaly, also turned author, is on his fourth book … Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour and his 34 years in Oak Park government will be next … Many are saying, too, that he may run for mayor again.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … As soon as the Sabbath services had ended, the little boy walked up to the rabbi and said, “When I grow up, I’m going to give you lots of money.”

The rabbi laughed and asked, “That’s really good to know, little man, but why do you want to do this?”

“Because,” replied the youngster, “my daddy says that you are the poorest rabbi we have ever had.”

CONGRATS … To Irwin Cash on his birthday … To Lillian Cooper on her birthday.



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