The Southfield gem attracted its share of celebrities.

Who was that fellow sitting with owner Pat Archer at his now-closed Excalibur Restaurant on Franklin and Northwestern Highway?

He was the spitting image of Frank Sinatra … and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself enjoyed a stack of bar-b-q ribs after his show at the Fox Theatre … compliments of then-Executive Chef Marty Wilk who also sent some ribs to Sinatra at his hotel suite.

Marty didn’t know it then, but he would eventually also become Excalibur’s excellent owner … at the favorite show biz place for celebrities who were appearing in this region … as well as many locals who had made Excalibur a day and night fun stop.

Sinatra was a happy patron of Excalibur.
Sinatra was a happy patron of Excalibur. Frank Sinatra Enterprises

He had been a favorite London Chop House chef before coming to Excalibur in Southfield … and after taking over ownership, his years there rubbed off as his first acts were to transform Excalibur so much that it soon became known as “The London Chop House of the Northwest.”

It didn’t take long for Excalibur to become a place to be seen and a celebrity showplace.

From the informal-style menu came steaks, chops, lobster, veal dishes, etc.

With each passing year, Excalibur became bigger and bigger on fresh fish … nothing frozen … I recall enjoying its excellent Dover sole, filleted and placed into a light bread crumb mixture and baked to a nutty brown.

Music of the Billy Rose Trio was a dancer’s delight and Fred Astaire’s dancing elegance.

Having a premier fine dining restaurant like Excalibur almost in your backyard was a major plus.

MAIL DEPT. … “The lobster featured when I ate at the Clam Shop was a pound and a quarter and the $9.50 dinner included soup, salad, shrimp cocktail, coffee or tea or milk or Vichy water” … Sid Luderman.

IF YOU BELIEVE some people who say that fine dining is doomed, you’ll believe anything … Back in the late 1980s, the death knell was again being sounded for fine dining restaurants … Dire observations were being voiced about value and extinction … Not only did white tablecloth restaurants not vanish from the landscape, but they have enjoyed a powerful resurgence over the past several years … Take the dining pulse of any major areas or cities and you will find tablecloth restaurants thriving very well.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE A Jewish town had a shortage of men for wedding purposes, so they had to import men from other towns … One day a groom-to-be arrived on a train, and two potential mothers-in-law were waiting for him, each claiming ownership of him … A rabbi was called to solve the problem. 

After a few moments of thought, he said, “If this is the situation, you both want the groom, we’ll cut him in half and give each one of you half of him.”

To this replied one woman, “If that’s the case, give him to the other woman.”

“Do that,” said the rabbi. “The one willing to cut him in half is the real mother-in-law!”

CONGRATS To Michael Hermanoff on his birthday … To Warren Pierce on his birthday.  

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