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The Mehmedi Family

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The Mehmedi Family Of Celina Star Cafe

Article by Sharla Davenport

Photography by Holly Farrow

Originally published in Celina Lifestyle

Celina Star Café is known for its delicious traditional breakfast and lunch meals with menu items like Oreo Pancakes, Mexican Skillet, and savory sandwich wraps. But what you may not know about this local favorite, is the true “Coming to America” story of the Mehmedi Family, including Driton “Toni” Mehmedi, Celina Star Café owner.

The Mehmedi Family originated in Albania but settled in Kercove, Macedonia, north of Greece, east of Albania as part of the group of countries known as the Western Balkans. The country is poor with many of its citizens desiring for the land of opportunity with hopes of immigrating to the United States. Sami Mehmedi made his hopes a reality. 

Sami left his homeland with no money and first moved to New York. There he worked odd jobs to save money. Soon after, he returned to Europe to marry his wife, Anna, with the goal of coming back to the United States.

The couple returned to America with literally nothing, joining relatives in Belvidere, Illinois. While there, Sami worked at restaurants saving money to eventually open his own restaurant. Here Sami taught his son, Toni, how to cook and save money, plus build a strong work ethic. To make ends meet, Sami also worked in the trucking business resulting in many nights away from home. Toni missed his dad and pleaded with Sami to open a restaurant together as a family. 

So, at the suggestion of family friends who lived in Frisco, the Mehmedi family decided to relocate to Texas. Toni graduated high school early and moved to Texas in 2016. Together with his parents and uncle, the family became business partners opening a restaurant in Frisco. 

Just as the Frisco café started to prosper, the building landlord notified Toni about another building in Celina. Toni knew Celina was a booming town, so he gave his portion of the Frisco restaurant to his uncle and created Celina Star Café. Toni recounts how it was a rough start as so many other restaurants opened in Celina at the same time, but he credits the people of Celina for making it successful. “It is definitely a blessing,” Toni says. “Now a few years later, we are thinking of a second location in Celina or Gunter with a brunch, a trendy breakfast vibe,” he continues.  

When eating at the café, you will notice many members of the Mehmedi family work together. Toni’s Mom “runs the show”, his Dad often assists the cooks while his sisters help with hostess duties and general management. His uncle, Sinan Vllasaliu, a famous Albanian pop singer, sold the Frisco restaurant to become a partner with Toni in Celina. “He comes to Celina to relax from his celebrity-life in Europe,” Toni divulges.

Having family at work plus spending time with them after work is what drives Toni. He creates restaurants that focus on breakfast and lunch, to ensure no family disruptions during the day.  Obviously, the family is very close and misses their relatives in Macedonia. While they try to go home every summer, Toni realizes it can be hard with the restaurant schedule. He misses the beauty of Albania and the beautiful, mountainous countryside in Macedonia. 

Nonetheless, Celina is now Toni’s hometown as well as his parents’ who are now US citizens. Toni’s ambition is all because of his family’s accomplishments in America. “It’s great here, especially in Texas because of the opportunities,” he says. “We love Celina because they support us a lot. I bought a house here and I want to keep my roots here,” he said. No doubt Toni Mehmedi will continue to thrive just like his relatives and family have before him. 

Celina Star Cafe - 709 E. Pecan Street, Celina

Open 7:00AM - 2:00PM Mon-Fri  |  7:00AM - 3:00PM Sat & Sun

“We love Celina because they support us a lot. I bought a house here and I want to keep my roots here."

  • The Mehmedi Family
  • The Mehmedi Family
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  • Macedonia

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