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Friday, October 9, 2009

Charles Sarkis - an Armenian?

As I was reading "Boca Raton Magazine" in the doctor’s office, an article caught my eye. It was about a new restaurant in Boca Raton called Abe and Louie’s.

The owner is Charles Sarkis, originally from the Boston area, now a Palm Beach resident.
With the last name Sarkis, could he be Armenian? Probably, although I googled his name and found only that he is from “Middle Eastern” descent.

Hmmmm, makes you think.

Charles Sarkis sounds like an amazing man - restaurateur since age 24, owner & operator of over 35 restaurants, father of six, cancer survivor, philanthropist, and an active alumni of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. A very upstanding member of the community, one would say.

Charles fought hard to get where he is. After all, his father, Abe Sarkis (1913 to 1991) , was a famed (and feared) mobster in New England and New York with a powerful bookmaking business that lasted 50 years, from 1934 to the 1980’s.

Charles, living in his father’s shadow, wanted to shed himself of his father’s image. And shed, he did. In 1998 Mr. Sarkis opened his first Abe and Louie’s restaurant in Boston. The “Abe” is, in fact, a tribute to his late father.
Abe and Louie’s is a classic American Steakhouse, serving Prime cuts of steak, lamb, fresh seafood, an interesting array of appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, and must-have desserts.

There’s nothing on the menu to suggest Mr. Sarkis might be Armenian, with two possible exceptions: the lamb shank, and the Abe and Louie salad.

I came across a 1998 review of the Boston restaurant which mentioned that the Abe and Louie salad was made from Bibb lettuce, blue cheese, apple slices with cinnamon - OK, here comes the “Armenian” part - pistachio nuts, and a hint of rose water.

AHA! So, perhaps Charles Sarkis IS Armenian. I called the new Boca Raton restaurant and asked if rose water is currently used in the Abe and Louie salad. Sadly, no; it’s served with a Dijon vinaigrette.

Oh well, at least they kept the pistachio nuts. As far as Mr. Sarkis being Armenian goes, that‘s still a mystery. I called the headquarters in Boston, but never heard back.

In my mind he is Armenian.

What say you?


  1. Yes he is, his father shortened it from Sarkisian I am from Boston

  2. Thanks! I thought so. Mystery solved.

  3. He is Syrian catholic and Irish catholic.

  4. Ah, interesting. So what you're saying is he's NOT Armenian??

  5. There are Armenians of the Syriac Catholic
    Rite. This does not prevent him from being Armenian.

    Another from Boston

  6. He is Lebanese. My name is Charles Sarkis. I know.

  7. I used to work for that company. He is Lebanese.

  8. He is Lebanese. I worked a summer job landscape and errands for his family at their house in Westwood like 20 years ago. The guy who got me the job was Labanese.

    Another from Boston

  9. I bet he is Armenian but his family came from Lebanon. As most people do not know history there was an Armenian Turkish war, which people either left Armenia and went to another country or most like died or survived somehow. I am 100% Armenian and live in Norwood, Ma 20 years ago

  10. He is Lebanese. My father and uncles grew up with his his father in the South End of Boston, and stayed friendly with him until his death. Lived a couple of miles from his fathers house in Milton later on in life.

  11. He is lebonese, I know I knew abie and asked him when I was 15. Im louie