Isadore Lampel (c1894-1950) was a restaurateur involved with numerous business ventures in downtown Pittsburgh, the Hill District, Uptown, and Squirrel Hill over a 35-year career.Isadore Lampel obituary, Pittsburgh Press, April 25, 1950 (online—Newspapers.com
Lampel emigrated to the Pittsburgh-area from his native Hungary around 1910 and began working in the local restaurant industry soon after his arrival in the city.1930 Census After working in restaurants for several years, Lampel partnered with Louis Caplan in 1921 to acquire the Uptown location of Canter’s Restaurant at 1229 Fifth Ave. and start Caplan & Lampel. Following in the tradition of Canter’s, Caplan & Lampel served as a ticket office for local Yiddish theatrical productions, in addition to offering food service.
Caplan & Lampel ended around 1923 and 1924. In October 1924, Lampel started short-lived Gold & Lampel at 961 Liberty Ave. downtown. The partnership appears to have dissolved within a month, when Lampel went into business with Alex and Ethel Stark as Lampel & Stark. They simultaneously operated restaurants at 961 Liberty Ave. and 1347 Fifth Ave. The partnership dissolved the following year. The Liberty Avenue location became Stark’s Restaurant, and the Fifth Avenue location became Abrams & Friedman.
Lampel relocated to Uniontown, Pa. in 1925 to run the Commercial Restaurant at 87 W. Main St. He returned to Pittsburgh the following year to start Lampel’s Restaurant at 1336 Fifth Ave. in partnership with Ethel Stark. Their partnership ended in 1929.
For several years throughout the early 1930s, Lampel worked at various local restaurants, including Caplan’s Restaurant. In 1937, he partnered with Abe Brody to start the Center Café and Restaurant at 1830 Center Ave., the former home Weinstein’s Restaurant. The restaurant was directly across the street from the Irene Kaufmann Settlement House. The partnership ended in 1939, and the business continued as Lampel’s Restaurant until 1944.
Lampel left the city center in 1944 for Squirrel Hill. In partnership with a Mr. Goldberg, he started L&G Restaurant at 2014-2016 Murray Ave., taking over the Squirrel Hill location of Abrams & Friedman’s Restaurant. Lampel again went independent from 1946 until his death in 1950, renaming the business I. Lampel’s and later Lampel’s Restaurant.