Chef Daniel LeBoon was busy preparing Lancaster City Restaurant Week specials for Monday’s lunch at the Belvedere Inn when the front-door manager came in to say she thought there might be a famous musician in the dining room.
LeBoon, son of a die-hard fan of the 1960s group The Monkees, walked into the dining room and instantly recognized that Micky Dolenz was sitting in his restaurant.
“I said, 'Oh my God, it’s him,' ” LeBoon said.
Dolenz was still in town after his Sunday night concert, with fellow former Monkee Michael Nesmith, at the American Music Theatre.
“He was meeting his daughter for lunch, and somehow he chose our restaurant,” said LeBoon, who has been executive chef and partner at the Belvedere since Dec. 15. LeBoon said a woman who handle's Dolenz’s social media was also dining with them.
Dolenz ordered two items from the Belvedere’s restaurant week lunch deal menu: The soup du jour (clam chowder) and the duck confit salad featuring Bibb lettuce, spring mix, a miso-yuzu-red chile Asian vinaigrette and fried shallots.
“He was going crazy over that salad,” LeBoon said.
“Being a respectful chef, I didn’t want to go out and bother him or ask him for an autograph,” LeBoon said. “So I waited.” He eventually went out and thanked Dolenz for all the great music that entertained him and his father over the years.
“He said, ‘Wow, thank you very much,’ ” LeBoon said.
Then, the two started talking about cooking.
“We talked about food for about 20 minutes,” LeBoon said of the friendly Dolenz. It turns out that, not only did Dolenz’s father own continental-cuisine restaurants in California in the 1950s and ‘60s, the chef said, but Dolenz himself is a dedicated backyard griller.
“He is a hard-core backyard griller,” LeBoon said. “He has a 6-foot Weber grill in his backyard in California.”
And, though LeBoon said he normally wouldn’t ask a celebrity to pose for a picture, he couldn’t miss the chance to pose with someone of whom his father is such a fan. Dolenz readily agreed, even suggesting he pose with some of the salad on his fork.
LeBoon, who was previously an executive chef at Amorette, Historic Strasburg and his former Josephine’s restaurant in Marietta, said he has previously cooked for celebrities including Lady Gaga, Billy Idol and members of U2.
Dolenz’s visit comes the same week that singer Ariana Grande posed for selfies with fans at Lancaster’s Whole Foods and the Target store south of Lititz.