(WMC-TV) - Sam Bomarito, a Memphis restaurant legend for more than six decades, died Saturday at the age of 89.
Bomarito founded Pete and Sam's Restaurant in 1948 with his cousin, Pete Romeo, who died in 1987.
Autographed pictures on the walls at Pete and Sam's represent a who's who of celebrities.
"A lot of photographs, a lot of friends from years that he's been in business," said Pete and Sam's employee John Boyce.
Bomarito continued to run the restaurant after Romeo's death.
"He was just so generous and, you know, like a father to so many people," said Pete and Sam's bookkeeper Charlotte Bullard.
From the pizza, to the pasta, to the world famous spinach, Pete and Sam's has been a Memphis institution.
For years, Bomarito's children and grandchildren have worked with him to carry on the Italian food tradition, as well as the family's tradition of giving back to the community.
"The charities he gave to and stuff, he was just a good man," said Bullard.
Bomarito, a former World War II fighter pilot, loved airplanes. He also enjoyed keeping his customers happy and spent a lifetime making sure they enjoyed the food at Pete and Sam's.
"He made sure everything came out right," said Boyce. "A lot of times, he would see to the food himself to make sure it was done right."
"He was one of a kind," said Bullard.
Visitation for Bomarito is Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church on 1695 Central Avenue. The funeral is Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception. The burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.
The family is asking in lieu of flowers, you make a donation to the charity of your choice.