RIP: Arthur Carman (1925-2010), the legendary restaurateur of Alexander Street
Arthur Carman, the renowned proprietor of Carman’s Dining Club, near Maple Leaf Gardens, passed away at his home Tuesday. He was 84.
Born Athanasios Karamanos in Greece, Carman and his storied namesake steak house once represented the epitome of fine dining in Toronto. Carman’s opened in 1959, with clientele that included Al Green, Nat King Cole, Lorne Greene and Sammy Davis Jr. Diners still reminisce about the smell of garlic in the air and the nostalgic decor that stood out in a neighbourhood that evolved from quiet residences in the Leafs’ backyard to a thriving gay village dotted with high-rises. The restaurant closed last year just as it celebrated its 50th year in operation.
A memorial site has been set up where people can write messages of condolence. Among the people who’ve contributed is George Bigliardi, owner of yet another eponymous restaurant just blocks away from Carman’s (it closed last year). He writes:
I was saddened to learn about the passing of my friend Mr. Carmen. Over the years I have always admired his courage and the achievement of building his restaurant into a Toronto institution. My restaurant was located on Church Street around the corner, and sometimes Mr. Carmen would drop by later in the evening and we would spend and hour or two in enjoyable conversation. I always believed that he did not receive the recognition he deserved for his considerable contribution to Toronto and the hospitality business. He was a great person, and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Arthur Carman is survived by his wife, Kathleen, as well as his extended family.
4 thoughts on “RIP: Arthur Carman (1925-2010), the legendary restaurateur of Alexander Street”
there was no other room/resto like it.
the garlic bread and apps before steak were one of a kind.
the waiters…so old-style and refreshing.
the martinis were fast and cold.
and who dusted the tchotkes?
Truly an end to an era. It’s sad that the legacy ends here.
It was our most favourite restaurant in Toronto. Their lobester, ribs, shrimp cocktail, house salad, etc, were way ahead of any competitors. In the early years Arthur, if you were a member,would provide a n/c dinner on the birth of a members child. He wanted to celebrate along with you. MMMMMMMM.
A true gentleman!!! Gone but never forgotten.
What a legendary place!!! My late partner Richard and I went there twice for our Anniversary and it was superb, as always.
Arthur made you feel so welcome no matter who you were and whether it was your first visit to Carman’s or your twentieth!
It was like stepping back into a more wonderful, refined time where meals were slow, leisurely and oh-so-very delicious! Yes the estabishment was permeated with garlic but it just wouldn’t have been Carman’s without it!! My deepest condolences go out to his beloved family and many, many friends. “Rest in peace, my dear one, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest…..”
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