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Since 1918 it has been our privilege to serve the Tulsa community. As the Savoy culinary tradition has been passed through four generations of our family, so too have we opened our doors to each subsequent generation of our loyal customers and their families. At Savoy Restaurant, we strive to provide you with the best dining experience, but our heritage is about much more. Our story is unique, but it’s also a quintessential story of the American dream that has been lived out by countless Americans.

It all began when our patriarch, Nick Kelamis, immigrated from Greece to America in 1910, entering through Ellis Island with thousands of other hopeful immigrants. Leaving behind a wife and young son, he came to America to build a better life for his family, with plans to send for them after getting established. Tragically his wife died before he was able to send for them, some say her heart was broken from missing her husband. At 4 years old, his son Tommy moved in with his Grandmother in Greece. Working on the railroads brought Nick to Tulsa, where he would eventually make his home. After working industriously and saving, in 1925, he opened the Kelamis Café at 208 S. Boston.

Upon reaching 18 years of age, Tommy enlisted in the Greek military and served two years in accordance with the customary service required of young Greeks at the time.

When Tommy completed his service in 1928, Nick returned to Greece and made arrangements for his son to move to America with him. At the Kelamis Café, Nick employed Tommy washing dishes until he learned to speak English. Tommy was a quick student, and with the help of a customer tutoring him at night, he quickly worked his way off the sink. Tommy befriended a young waitress named Maxine Rawlings, and after a courtship, they were married in 1941. In this same year, Nick Kelamis passed away.

After welcoming their first child, Tommy was drafted into the United States military in 1944. He sold the Kelamis Café, moved his family to Abilene, Texas, and entered the army as a cook. His commanding officer appreciated Tommy’s cooking to such an extent that he kept Tommy stationed at the base, rather than deploying him overseas. After his military service, Tommy was a partner in a pool hall. Upon discovering dishonest practices amongst his business partners, he left the pool hall, and decided to re-open the family restaurant in 1954. When he went to have a “Kelamis Café” sign made, the shop owner offered him a good price for a “Savoy” sign that was never claimed by the customer who ordered it. Tommy purchased the sign, confident that customers would come for the food not the name, and Savoy Restaurant was born. Tommy and Maxine took great joy and pride in serving the Tulsa community, and they continued to expand their family.

In 1967, at the young age of 58, Tommy passed away. Maxine continued to operate Savoy Restaurant until May of 1973, when urban renewal forced it to relocate. Savoy Restaurant re-opened its doors in 1975 at the current location, 6033 S. Sheridan. Tommy and Maxine’s son, Bill Kelamis, managed the restaurant with Maxine, and continued to run the business after Maxine’s retirement. Today Bill, his son, Evan, and their entire family welcome you into the Savoy tradition. We hope to serve you and your family for many generations to come!

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