Farouk Elhaje, a fixture in downtown Detroit’s bartending scene for nearly 60 years, died on March 2, 2018. He was 80.
A “Last Call for Farouk” memorial celebration will be held at the Rattlesnake Club from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, according to a release. Restaurant regulars and alumni from some of Detroit’s most iconic restaurants are invited to stop by and share their favorite Farouk memories.
“Farouk was a great friend and a great character. He was an iconic figure in the Detroit restaurant scene over the past 50 years and I, along with many others, will miss him terribly,” John Stroh III, CEO of the Stroh Companies, says in a statement.
Born in Lebanon, Elhaje moved to Detroit and started his 58-year career in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher at the Caucus Club. He quickly moved behind the bar with help from a “lazy bartender,” as Elhaje recalled to Hour Detroit in 2013. Elhaje’s skills eventually caught the eye of restaurateur Lester Gruber who moved the young bartender to his other celebrated downtown restaurant, the London Chop House.
Elhaje worked at the London Chop House for 29 years before before taking a position at the Rattlesnake Club for another 29 years, serving celebrities and politicians such as Walter Cronkite and president George H.W. Bush along the way. Most recently he was the Rattlesnake’s bar manager.
“Farouk loved his career, never wanted to retire, and worked until the day before he died. He will be deeply missed,” Robert Sereno, general manager of the Rattlesnake Club says in a statement.
Friends and fans planning to attend the memorial are encourage to RSVP by calling 313-567-4400, emailing email@example.com, or replying to the memorial event’s Facebook page.