Red Robin Restaurant
(Photo: Red Robin)

Ansara family has a true immigrant success story.

Success stories that pertain to immigrants arriving in the United States to make a new life for themselves will never die.

Red Robin Salad
Courtesy of Red Robin

When they came to this country from Lebanon in 1951, brothers George and Andrew Ansara couldn’t speak any English, which is an immediate shoulder-shrugger in itself … Especially when they wanted to go into business and banks wouldn’t give them a second look.

It took 10 years, but they finally opened their first restaurant in 1961, a Garden City Big Boy … and the family-operated and owned operation steadily grew … Nine-year-old Lew Ansara was its dishwasher in the Big Boy owned by dad, George, uncle Andrew and great-uncles Louis and Victor … Lou went to Lawrence Tech, also became its sports writer and a Big Boy manager for them in the early 1970s … Cousin Victor graduated from Detroit College of Law and University of Michigan – Dearborn, cooking and helping wherever needed at Big Boy while attending school.

Today, the family has numerous Big Boy franchises … Red Robin is a national chain that originated in Seattle … George went to one in Scottsdale, Arizona, and was so impressed he had to take Lew there … It revved up a lot of interest and was the beginning of a major franchise in the Michigan market … One of them is off the road to Cosco in Commerce Crossing, others are in Novi, Brighton, Livonia, Troy and Ford Road, Detroit.

Red Robin Burger
Courtesy of Red Robin

Best seller is its Gourmet Burger … but the family sees to that same quality with chicken sandwiches, pastas, steaks, ice cream floats, etc. … and a lot of love.

MAIL DEPT. … “Bea Cohen and I had to tell you this. We took our 4-year-old daughter Sherill to see her sister Lillian’s new apartment. She was wide-eyed when telling of getting into a little room and the upstairs came down.” … Sy Cohen

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … A balding white-haired man walked into a jewelry store Friday evening with a beautiful much younger girl at his side and told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend … The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring …

The man said, “No, I’d like to see something more special!”

The jeweler went to his special stock and brought out another ring and said, “Here is a stunning ring at only $40,000.”

The girl’s eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement … The elderly man seeing this said, “We’ll take it!”

The jeweler asked how payment would be made. “My check is good. I’ll write it now and you can call my bank to verify the funds. I’ll pick up the ring on Monday morning.”

On Monday morning, the jeweler angrily phoned the old man and said, “Sir, there’s no money in that account.”

“I know,” said the old man. “But let me tell you about my weekend!”

CONGRATS … To Rabbi Jason Miller on his birthday …To Ken Maier on his birthday.

Danny’s email address is

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