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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Farm-to-Table Pioneer Celebrates 50 Years

Feb 01, 2021 08:30AM ● By Sheila Julson
By 1971, packaged instant foods were commonplace in American culture. However, restauranteur Ed Lowe rejected those practices when he opened Celebration Restaurant, a farm-to-table eatery, 50 years ago. Lowe was a visionary when he introduced Dallas to fresh, local farm-to-table food. Although he died two years ago, his dedication to sustainable and socially just food systems is living on through Celebration.

“When Ed started Celebration, he wanted to create an inviting place for people to gather and eat good food,” reflects Shannon Galvan, president of Celebration Restaurant, Catering & Market. “It was part of his upbringing—his parents were using fresh ingredients at home, and I think he wanted to carry that into his business for others to enjoy. Using fresh products, whether you’re growing them or buying them locally, is so advantageous for prolonging what Earth has to offer.”

Galvan believes that throughout the years, Lowe’s mission has made an impact on Celebration’s longtime customers and impressed newer patrons, as well. “I think the notion of being aware of what you put into your body while taking care of the planet by using sustainable products and supporting local farmers is a neat cycle that we get to be a part of and have been a part of for so long.”

During the few years prior to Lowe’s passing, Galvan says he had become immersed in learning about inventive ways of taking better care of our planet through sustainable practices such as regenerative farming. In addition to being a restauranteur, Lowe was also an ecologist and river advocate. He founded Friends of the Brazos River, an organization dedicated to protecting Texas waterways from pollution and regularly led youth groups from all socio-economic backgrounds via guided hikes and canoe trips.

Celebration continues to support projects that Lowe built, such as the community gardens at Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School, named after Lowe’s father, a Dallas businessman. Galvan hopes to expand efforts to support causes for which Lowe was passionate.

Supporting Healthy Communities Through Clean Eating

Galvan has been with Celebration for 15 years. She notes that during that time, they kept the menu as clean as possible through using local ingredients and sustainable proteins. They also use foods free from artificial flavorings and colorings.

Since day one, Lowe has worked with Texas-based farmers, ranchers and vendors to supply ingredients for Celebration’s menu. Galvan affirms that Lowe was a regular at farmers’ markets to purchase restaurant ingredients. Some of Celebration’s many partners include Stacy Saxon, from Saxon Farms, Melissa Fretwell, from Fretwell Farms, Josh Heddin and Mary Molsbee.

Like many restaurants, Celebration had to pivot their business model during the COVID-19 pandemic. They had an existing carryout procedure in place, but strengthened procedures to meet the increased demand. “We did that seamlessly with a small group of our servers, bartenders and kitchen team,” Galvan remarks. Their Celebration Market, offering prepared meals to go, has proven to be an outstanding success to help them weather the ups and downs of pandemic closures and restrictions.

“The biggest thing we have learned during this pandemic was that we have phenomenal people working at Celebration. They will step up to do anything for the greater good. A lot of people that have been here had worked with Ed are in a lot of ways, doing it for him, to keep his legacy going for another 50 years,” Galvan enthuses. “We’ve seen the same customers three times a week getting takeout. That’s something special. I attribute our success through COVID to our partners and to our customers.”

The Celebration staff has reconfigured indoor tables to accommodate six-foot social distancing requirement, Galvan says. They’ve added partitions between the booths and have placed hand sanitizing stations throughout the restaurant. The staff follows a rigorous sanitization schedule. Celebration also has two large patios—one being dog-friendly—for socially distanced outdoor dining.

Galvan says they’re finalizing plans for Celebration’s 50th anniversary, which will include rollback pricing to $8.95 on their original dishes like pot roast, meatloaf, roasted rosemary chicken and fresh broiled trout. They will also offer 50th anniversary merchandise items like shirts, hats, cups and leather keychains—the latter an homage to Lowe’s leather tooling hobby.

“Although Ed is no longer here to celebrate with us, we celebrate his vision,” Galvan concludes. “Starting as a hostess, I’ve seen how Celebration totally embraces each person as a whole. Our company takes care of our partners, and in turn they take care of our customers. It’s just so welcoming — it’s a second home for many.”

Celebration Restaurant and Market is located at 4503 W. Lovers Ln., in Dallas. For more information, call 214-351-5681 or visit
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