Comisar family

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Template:Infobox family

The Comisar family is an American entrepreneurial family known for their prominence and influence as restauranteurs in Greater Cincinnati. They managed the The Maisonette, La Normandie, and Golden Lamb Inn, among other restaurants, throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


Members of the Comisar family include:

  • Nat Comisar, Sr.: Founder of The Maisonette
  • Michael J. Comisar: Son of Nat Comisar, Sr.; Father of Nat Comisar II
  • Lee Comisar: Son of Nat Comisar
  • Nat Comisar II: Former owner of The Maisonette and La Normandie restaurants in downtown Cincinnati; educated at Cornell University, graduating in 1983 with a B.A. in ancient Greek and recent American history.
  • Michael E. Comisar: The Maisonette managing partner with Nat Comisar II from 1996 to 2003
  • Cortney "Peewee" Comisar: daughter and first-born child of Nat Comisar II
  • Robin "Buckwheat" Comisar: son and second-born child of Nat Comisar II
  • Reilly "Birdy" Comisar: daughter and third-born child of Nat Comisar II
  • Christopher "Steam Dog" Comisar: son and fourth-born child of Nat Comisar II

Business history

After their father, Nat, opened The Maisonette in 1949, Michael J. and Lee Comisar transformed it into a top-rated French restaurant. The restaurant quickly became a Midwestern sensation, and soon gained international acclaim. The Maisonette won five stars - the highest rating - from the Mobil Travel Guide for 40 consecutive years - longer than any restaurant in North America.[1] The staff wore the golden stars on their lapels “like military decoration.”[1]

Thousands of patrons, including U.S. Presidents and celebrities, celebrated and dined in the banquettes. Maisonette chef Jean-Robert de Cavel later became head chef at Pigall's restaurant in downtown Cincinnati. The Maisonette stopped making profits in 2000, according to Nat Comisar II.[1]

La Normandie was a second restaurant operated by the Comisar family. The Comisars also managed the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio.[2]

"It's unfortunate. You just can't get enough people downtown." Other people disputed the wisdom of leaving downtown, The Maisonette's home for 55 years. "In my opinion, it's the kind of restaurant that needs to be in a panache location," said Jeff Ruby, owner of Jeff Ruby's downtown restaurant and other restaurants. "There's no panache in [...] other locations." [1]


Ultimately, the The Maisonette and La Normandie both closed, while the Comisar family name remained popular in Greater Cincinnati. Efforts to restore the former restaurants are met with enthusiasm, although no longterm installation has occurred or survived the city's relatively competitive business climate.[3] Comisar family members are frequently referenced as associates of the Portman family, and Rob Portman, a Republican politician who owns the Golden Lamb Inn.[4]

See also