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Semos Restaurant

Posted by Art Hoffman 
Semos Restaurant
October 21, 2003 07:23PM
Precursor to The Torch? Any history or memories from anyone?
[funsguy.tripod.com]
Re: Semos Restaurant
October 22, 2003 06:56AM
If this is the one down on the triangle where Fort Worth Ave and West Commerce split, it was operated by a different branch of the Semos family than had the Torch of the Acropolis (to give the Torch its full and proper name). I can't recall exactly when it happened, but it burned sometime after April, 1974 (I know it was still operating then, because I and my Mom had a meal there when I was coming through Dallas on teh way to Fort Hood just then).
Re: Semos Restaurant
October 22, 2003 07:11AM
The Torch burned in November of 1968- the week after I had celebrated my 8th b-day there. I remember the many lovely artifacts they had on display there- many of which burned in the fire. I believe they stayed open until the early 80's- but I could be wrong on that.
Re: Semos Restaurant
October 22, 2003 07:31AM
Semos family operated (at least) two restaurants. One branch ran the Torch, which did indeed burn, but was rebuilt and reopened. I have very fond memories of the Torch - we ate there often, including a meal there just before I departed Dallas for Vietnam in August, 1968. And anotehr when I got home a year later. Sure did miss the ambiance of the original, but the people were the same and the food as good.
The second was located down on Fort Worth Avenue, at teh triangle where West Commerce and Ft. Worth Avenue split and wasn't rebuilt after a fire sometime after April, 1974.
I think the Semos family was also involved with some other restaurants, across the river.
Well, I grew up in & out of the other side of town: Oak Lawn (okay, maybe a little farther north) and we treasured the Torch along Oak Lawn just north of Wycliffe. I remember the "Mrs. Semos" there as maybe (state senator) Chris' mom? She also worked with my family at N-M developing the Epicure department for the stores, probably in the 70s. In those days, you got feta only in cans from New York, or Marty's.
If you didn't eat at the Torch, you ate at Sammy Ventura's down near the Melrose (flaming parking lot sign?) after a movie at The Esquire.
I never ate there but I do remember the Semos Restaurant on Ft. Worth Cutoff next door to the Sky-Vu Dance Hall.
Seems like one of the Semos was a city councilman at one time.
Don't know which branch of the Semos family had the Oak Lawn area restaurant - I guess I can get my Dad to ask Chris the next time he sees him (they have been friends for years). If it was also named the Torch, though, I expect it was Chris's side.
Chris Semos was a long-time Texas State Representative, from the Oak Cliff District. In fact, he was at one time the Dean of the Texas Hosue. He left that position to become a Dallas County Commissioner (I think) rather tahn a City Commissioner, but i could be wrong about taht. One or the other, in any case. Not sure how many terns he served - more than one in any case. Good peopel, the Semos family.
Chris used to talk about visits to the Old Country, where hsi relatives would twit him about being a "mere provincial legislator",a t which point he would note that Texas has an economy (and population) considerably exceeding taht of the nation of Greece...besides being geographically larger as well. Most Europeans have a hard time understanding just how big teh United States (or a state like Texas) is. Geographically or economically.
Chris Victor Semos
October 23, 2003 11:31AM
Chris served as a Dallas County Commissioner 1983-1994. He represented District 4--Southwest Dallas County.
Re: Chris Victor Semos
October 23, 2003 12:27PM
I was thinking Chris had been a County rather than City Commissioner, but then decided I wasn't completely sure. Good man, and from a fine family.
Re: Semos Restaurant in Oak Lawn
November 08, 2017 05:13PM
You're so right, Connie. My dad met my stepmother at Semos on Ft Worth Ave in the 1950s. She worked for Mr Semos until his death then for Chris until he retired. They were friends until his death and I took her to his very large home in the heart of Oak Cliff several times in the late 1990s. Chris was not in good health and died from complications of diabetes. The Semos family were good people and loyal to their friends.
Re: Semos Restaurant in Oak Lawn
November 11, 2017 11:46AM
Oki (btw, is your handle related at all to the state of Oklahoma and the common nickname of "Okie" for one from that state?).

I have not seen you post here before a day or two ago. Welcome to the phorum. I have found it to be a fount of information about my home town, as well as a very pleasant venue through which to discuss said home town with other folks with interests and histories related to the place.

Again, welcome!

Dave McNeely
Re: Semos Restaurant
January 11, 2018 02:33PM
That Semos restaurant was between West Commerce and Fort Worth Avenue in the triangle where they forked. Across Commerce from Semos was the Hi Vue, a "joint" as my mother used to call any place that served alcohol and had dancing or other entertainment, especially if what she called "hoods" frequented it, A hood was anyone my mother considered to be of questionable character and possibly even a slight bit criminal in nature. The Hi Vue may have been owned by one or another of the gangster crowd in Dallas.

Herbert Noble was attacked at the Hi Vue in one of the at least 13 times that he evaded death in attacks from other "hoods" possibly associated with Benny Binion. Personnel from Semos were on break in the alley behind Semos, and witnessed Noble being shot, but were unable later to identify any photographs or persons who might have been involved.

Dave McNeely
Re: Semos Restaurant
January 13, 2018 08:15AM
I think that is where Lois Green was rubbed out- in the alley behind. Or was it the Sky Vue? Jim
Re: Semos Restaurant
January 13, 2018 08:33AM
Jim, Green was at the Hi Vue when he was attacked. He was actually shot in the alley, where Semos employees witnessed the shooting. I confused this attack with a different one on Herbert Noble.

Dave McNeely
Re: Semos Restaurant
April 22, 2018 08:36AM
The club where Green got it was the Sky-Vue. At that W. Commerce-Ft. Worth Ave split.
Re: Semos Restaurant
April 22, 2018 09:13AM
I wonder if there is anything left of it now. It seems that there was a large white motel there ( the Belmont??) I guess I'll have to take a trip to O.C. to see. Was Sylvan ave. nearby? As I am pushing 76yo, my memory of the geography is very poor. Jim
Re: Semos Restaurant
April 22, 2018 12:10PM
jgoodman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wonder if there is anything left of it now. It
> seems that there was a large white motel there (
> the Belmont??) I guess I'll have to take a trip to
> O.C. to see. Was Sylvan ave. nearby? As I am
> pushing 76yo, my memory of the geography is very
> poor. Jim

Jim, I am almost up with you on age. Yes, the location of the "Wye" intersection of Fort Worth Avenue and West Commerce is near Sylvan Blvd, I think between Sylvan and the Commerce Street Bridge. The Belmont Motel, on Fort Worth Avenue at Sylvan, has been renovated. It is very proud of itself now, claiming to be what some call a "boutique" hotel. Prices are high. There is a restaurant associated that also is very proud of itself. I cannot comment on that, as I have never sampled the food.

Dave McNeely
Re: Semos Restaurant
April 22, 2018 03:09PM
Ahhh! the use of "boutique" and high prices makes me wonder if something of a clandestine erotic nature is served-up therein. 75 and 1/2 years on this planet have messed with my mind. Frontal lobe behavior has taken over. Jim
Re: Semos Restaurant
April 22, 2018 09:05PM
jgoodman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ahhh! the use of "boutique" and high prices makes
> me wonder if something of a clandestine erotic
> nature is served-up therein. 75 and 1/2 years on
> this planet have messed with my mind. Frontal lobe
> behavior has taken over. Jim

[www.belmontdallas.com]

Well, it is interesting that the accommodations are advertised with images of attractive women in illustrations of the rooms. But the word "boutique" has come to be used for smaller hotels that think their lodgings are in some way special beyond ordinary luxury. I don't really know what the usual price of a room in a "better" hotel on the edge of a big city low rent district is these days, but the prices for these rooms seem out of line with what I would expect to pay for a better 3-star place, and it would be hard to imagine that it is any above that.

Dave McNeely
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