Eileen Pollis Obituary

mama shio a hoy

By Joseph Kellard

Last week, Long Beach lost of of its long-time residents. Eileen Pollis-Ponte, affectionately know to many as "Mama Ship-A-Hoy," passed away on June 26.

Born in Manhattan in 1922, she moved to Long Beach with her family in her early teen years. Pollis-Ponte was the daughter of Michael Samit, the widely-known Jovial Captain Mike of the former Manhattan landmark Mike's Ship-A Hoy Restaurant, which operated on Broadway for 30 years. As a young girl, she began performing various tasks at this restaurant, the family's first.

When Captain Mike and his family migrated to Long Beach they first owned and operated the Snug Harbor Ship-A-Hoy Restaurant on Neptune Beach. Ship's Grill on Park Avenue, the Long Beach Family Food Shop on Park Place and Ship-A-Hoy Jr. on West Park Avenue, which served the community for over 60 years. Pollis-Ponte served as the head chef in each of these establishments.

Her future husband, Kyriakos Pollis, was an employee of the Ship-A-Hoy Jr. when they met there in 1951. They married in 1954 and during their years together had six children. The couple retired in 1991, selling the restaurant where they met and which had been in the family for 50 years.

"Mama Ship-A-Hoy gave her life to her family and to the people of Long Beach," said her daughter, Eileen. She created the most delicious food; chicken Burgundy sauce prepared with fresh fruit sweet and delicious, homemade lasagna with noodles that melted in your mouth, fresh spinach pie with imported feta cheese, homemade crust with sesame seeds, and her famous Greek salad that only she knew how to prepare. She poured her heart and soul into everything she created. She took pride in her artistry and her work. She fed everyone with love and great food. Every customer was special and they knew it. From the moment they entered her door they became part of the family. That is why they called her Mama. Her kindness will remain a cherished memory for all those people who knew and loved her."

Mama Ship-A-Hoy is survived by her husband Kyriakos, her six children, Ellen, Eileen, RIta, Patricia, Michael, and Joseph, and eight grandchildren, Mario, William, Gary, Kurt, Christina, Joseph, Melissa, and Michael.

Printed in the  Long Beach Herald - July 5, 2001

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