When Kachig “Joe” Miktarian came from Armenia to the United States at the age of 17, he was a driven young man who knew in America with hard work you could achieve anything. After establishing himself in Akron, Ohio, Mr. Miktarian sent to Armenia for his sweetheart, Dicranuhi (Dick-ran-ew-ee), who became his wife. Together they put down roots in Akron.
Mr. Miktarian founded his first store in 1920, a confectionary store on East Market Street near Adolph Street. In 1933, following the end of Prohibition, Mr. Miktarian opened Joe’s All Star Café in the same general vicinity. When the Route 8 expressway was being constructed, the café relocated to its final location on East Market Street between Arch and Adams streets near the Summa Health System – Akron Campus. He and his wife had four children, daughter Margaret and three sons, Mike, Paul and Zobby. The sons would later join their father in operating the family business.
“The café was really one of the area’s original sports bars,” said Patty Miktarian Spencer, daughter of Zobby Miktarian. Joe’s All Star Café was frequented for decades by factory workers from Akron’s rubber companies and Akron City Hospital employees.
“My grandfather had an entrepreneurial spirit and an incredible work ethic that has been passed on to his children and grandchildren,” said Ms. Spencer.
The Miktarians are well-known philanthropists, raising more than $200,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and sponsoring youth and championship softball, baseball and basketball teams under the Joe’s All Star banner for over 70 years. Affectionately known as “Akron’s Angel,” Mr. Miktarian was honored by the sporting community for his endless contributions to amateur sports. He received the Andy Palich Service Award during the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and was inducted into the Greater Akron Softball Hall of Fame.
In 2000, when the Miktarians sold Joe’s All Star Café to Summa Health, their legacy of giving continued with a generous estate gift to support the mission of the health system to provide the highest quality, compassionate care to Akron area patients and their families.
On January 27, a plaque dedication was held honoring Kachig “Joe” Miktarian and the Miktarian family. The plaque, located at the Summa Rehab Hospital on Adams Street (adjacent to the former Joe’s All Star Café), is a fitting tribute to the family’s longstanding generosity to Summa Health and the Akron community.
“My grandfather loved Akron, and Akron was good to him,” said Ms. Spencer. “I think he would be proud today to know that our family’s gift to Summa Health in his memory is helping so many.”
Left to right: Zavin Miktarian, Wilma Miktarian, Patty Miktarian Spencer,
Cheryl Esler and Sandy Miktarian stand near the Kachig “Joe” Miktarian plaque
at Summa Rehab Hospital.