Aristide Leon Camburako obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Aristide Leon Camburako

November 22, 1932 - May 18, 2017

Obituary


In Memory of Aristide Leon Camburako
Aristide Leon Camburako was born November 22, 1932 in Berre L'Etang Buche-du-Rhone near Marseilles, France. He was the second son of Emmanuel and Ekaterine (Reisopoulos) Camburako after his older brother Emile. They lived in France until the conflict of World War II caused them to move to Italy followed by Greece, Turkey, and Palestine. He lived in Greece again for a time after the war ended, then moved back to France. He learned the trade of cobbler and worked making baby shoes until he went to serve in...

In Memory of Aristide Leon Camburako
Aristide Leon Camburako was born November 22, 1932 in Berre L'Etang Buche-du-Rhone near Marseilles, France. He was the second son of Emmanuel and Ekaterine (Reisopoulos) Camburako after his older brother Emile. They lived in France until the conflict of World War II caused them to move to Italy followed by Greece, Turkey, and Palestine. He lived in Greece again for a time after the war ended, then moved back to France. He learned the trade of cobbler and worked making baby shoes until he went to serve in the French Air Force in North Africa as radar operator. Aristide arrived in the United States in 1956 aboard the Queen Mary. He settled in Cleveland, Ohio where he met and married Sophie Gerras, June 22, 1958.
Aristide began his lifetime career in the food service industry at the Statler Hilton Hotel located in downtown Cleveland. He established himself and quickly rose through positions; Garde-Manger, Swing cook, Rotisseur, Banquet Chef, and Sous Chef. In October 1966, he was promoted to Executive Chef and transferred to Kansas City, Missouri. By this time, he and Sophia had two children, Emmanuel and Mary. At the Hilton Hotel, he made the transition from back of the house to front of the house and was promoted to Food and Beverage Manager making him only the second person at that time in the history of Hilton to achieve this distinction.
Ari and Sophie welcomed a third child, Aristo who was born in 1970. After Ari's success with Hilton, he met Peter J. Carter and the two became business partners at the Cock and Bull Steakhouse. From there, Ari soon found interest in the then newly constructed Kemper Arena. In 1976, he gained the contract for the restaurant space that had been a Fred Harvey's. His new restaurant became the Cordon Bleu Inn, but soon renamed as Ari's Kemper Arena Restaurant where he welcomed guests including many celebrities before countless events at the venue.
Always proud of his heritage, Ari originated and proposed the idea to Crown Center for the first International Festival. He became the chairman of the Greek Festival and shared the Hellenic traditions with all of Kansas City at Crown Center Square. In 1986, he ended this chapter with the final event hosted at Ari's Kemper Arena Restaurant, his daughter's wedding reception.
He did research and decided his next move would be a concept restaurant /deli complete with a piano bar. The location he selected was at the renovated garment district building Lucas Place with Ari's Off-Broadway Deli in 1987. The business there was stable but after the conclusion of the contract, he closed the restaurant and went into semi-retirement for a year. The only encouragement needed to go back into business was the news that Pumpernick's Restaurant at 95th and Mission was available for purchase. He made the leap once again and soon had his entire family working alongside him, making a success of that business.
A series of medical issues caused him to sell Pumpernick's, recuperate and go back into retirement. After a three-year pause, retirement was no longer satisfying his desire to be in the kitchen and he pulled the family together once again and started Ari's Greek Restaurant in Olathe. After five years at Ari's Greek Restaurant, things came to a halt when Ari's health declined.
Ari was a member of the American Institute of Chefs, the American Culinary Federation of Greater Kansas City Chef's Association and served as president in 1971. His passions were his family, food, soccer and watching sports. He was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. As beloved Papou to his ten grandchildren Ari instilled the love and value of family, good food and sharing the rich Greek traditions with them.
He was preceded in death by his brother Emile. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sophie Camburako, by his sister, Marie Claire Didiot of Greece, children Emmanuel Camburako (Jill), Mary Wempe (Kevin), Aristo Camburako (Marcy), grandchildren; Mark (Cait), Michael, John, Mikael, Thomas, Joseph, Nathaniel, Nicolas, George, Sophia, and two great-grandchildren Jason and Ellie, extended family and friends who miss him dearly.