Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Celebration Restaurant in Dallas feels just like home
Restaurant hits fifth decade of serving comfort food.
There’s a reason Celebration Restauarant looks like a house – and it’s far more than simply being a design of convenience. Built more than 40 years ago in 1971, Ed Lowe knew that just because that particular area of Lovers Lane had been rezoned from residential to business, he had every intention of making his customers feel as at home as possible.
“In terms of the building itself, the exterior is real stone, the menus are real leather, and the walls are real wood. We try to use all authentic materials to create an authentically warm feeling,” Lowe says. “We don’t want people at the front just reciting ‘Hi, welcome to Celebration!’ We want the staff to be happy to be here, and then that helps make people feel warmly welcome.”
Celebration (which has since 1971 expanded to include a market and a catering company) has been succeeding in that effort, continuing into its fifth decade in Dallas serving what Lowe describes as "comfort food," using fresh, local ingredients. It’s a philosophy that Celebration had at its inception, and one to which it has rededicated itself through the past decade.
“Being comfort food, it needs to all be made from scratch. We don’t buy anything that’s pre-breaded or anything like that. All of our meat comes in fresh as much as possible. And because of the growing season here, you’ll see a lot of fresh vegetables – we make four runs to the wholesale farmers’ market every week and buy as much local fruits and vegetables as we can,” says Lowe. “From local, organic corn meal, local honey, local grits, and local, grass-fed beef for some of our specials. The food is simple and as local as possible.”
Even the dinner service is reminiscent of home at Celebration – optional seconds are available for almost every entree, and most of the sides are served family-style. The restaurant is also much like a house in that it is segmented into different rooms, promoting a smaller, more personal feel. And the service – while smiling and friendly – remains unobtrusive. Special dietary requirements are readily accommodated, and the vegetables on the menu are reflective of what was good at the market the day before.
“During the peak growing season, there won’t be a lot of the same vegetables on the menu for two days in a row, because the list is so long, though as we get into winter, you’ll see things like butternut squash on there a little more frequently,” Lowe says. “We’ll always have fresh fruit, garden salad, wild rice and mashed potatoes, but the others can all change on a daily basis.”
Despite the constant changing, Celebration’s menu has shown a remarkable stability (“Our menu didn’t really change for the first 10 years we were open,” Lowe recalls) through its four decades, continuing to stay true to the idea of quality homestyle fare in a welcoming environment. It’s by all means an environment that people seem to enjoy – the restaurant is typically well populated during lunch and dinner time – and the food, service, and ambiance give it the characteristic feel they hope to achieve.
“There are a lot of differing demographics around here, so whether people are in here for a business lunch or if someone is here for a big occasion, our goal is to make them feel comfortable, no matter the reason,” Lowe says.
No, there’s no place like home, but at Celebration they run a very close second.
Pegasus News Content partner - Entree Dallas
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