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    December 2003


Strap on the feed bag. Celita Bullard and Joseph Owens have turned a 19th-century historic building in College Park into The Feed Store restaurant and bar. It really was a feed store, operated for almost 75 years by Bullard’s grandmother. The American/Southern menu by Michael Schom (ex-Cavu Midtown Bistro) includes spinach-artichoke cannelloni and Asian-spiced hanger steak | Sia Moshk, who opened Sia’s in Duluth with Scott Serpas, has moved back into the city with Mitra in Midtown. Mitra, located on Juniper Street, serves American food with a Latin twist | Richard Blais (Fishbones) will open Blais in the former Peachtree Café space on East Paces Ferry Road with partners David Davoudpour, George McKerrow, and Ron San Martin. Johnson Studio designed the 80-seat restaurant | Michel Arnette (ex-Buckhead Life Group) is opening a loft-style restaurant in Brookhaven. Haven’s, on Dresden Drive, will feature new American cuisine | Rodney Wedge and Connie Chatham (Fuego Alpharetta) are bringing tapas to Midtown with Fuego & Tapas Bar on Crescent Avenue | Alex Wolf is now chef at Atlanta Grille in The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta. A native of Germany, Wolf worked at the Venetian in Las Vegas and at the Adolphus in Dallas | Brooklyn in Sandy Springs is opening a second location in Norcross. Chef de cuisine Jon Logan Aiken will oversee the menu | Also in Sandy Springs, the Neighborhood Dining Group (Chicago’s, Bitter End, Queen Anne’s) is opening Chicago’s No. 4 in The Parkside shopping center with The Desserty. The chef is Ciaran Duffy from 191 Club and RainWater Restaurant.


¡Hola! Señor Trotter. Charlie Trotter is heading south of the border to open “C” in Los Cabos, Mexico, in February. The fine-dining restaurant is his first outside the United States, and is part of the luxury One & Only Palmilla resort. The menu will feature indigenous Mexican flavors and preparations, as well as local seafood. Adam Tihany is designing the room | Le Français lives again. The north suburban bastion of haute cuisine was reopened by brothers Michael and Thomas Lachowicz (Les Deux Gros in Glen Ellyn). With the backing of transportation mogul Mike Moran, the brothers bought Le Français from retired chef Jean Banchet, and closed Les Deux Gros, which they had been leasing. Not so incidentally, Michael Lachowicz worked for Banchet in the 1980s and became a true believer in the classic French style. “Michael is the only one doing my cooking,” said Banchet | “Celtic fusion cuisine” is what they are selling at the Galway Arms, a newish Lincoln Park restaurant in a Gothic building. Wade Fortin (ex-American Club) is dishing out an upscale version of the storied Scottish meat pies called Forfar Bridies, in which he wraps phyllo pastry around duck confit and duxelles | La Vita restaurant in Little Italy has a new lease on life with the arrival of chef Nick Van Wassenhove (ex-Le Passage, Rosebud). Signature dishes include mussels sautéed in marinara sauce with pancetta; fettuccine salmone; and grilled New Zealand lamb chops | Japonais has opened alongside the Chicago River in the old Montgomery Ward’s headquarters. Jun Ichikawa (ex-Mirai Sushi) oversees the sushi, and Gene Kato (ex-Ohba) handles the rest of the menu, such as Kobe prime rib. The restaurant is a partnership between Miae Lim (Mirai Sushi, Ohba), Rick Wahlstedt (Le Colonial, Le Passage), and Jonathan Segal (P.J. Clarke’s, Le Colonial) | After boosting the menu at Carlucci restaurant in suburban Rosemont, John Coletta has been named executive chef of the new branch in Downers Grove | Although a number of German restaurants have closed here in recent years, Jim Glunz has opened his namesake Glunz Bavarian Haus in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. Chef Markus Aichorn is serving a handful of American dishes, along with classics like Wiener schnitzel, veal bratwurst, and apple strudel.


Pop icons. Set to open sometime this month, the Hotel Icon downtown will have a signature restaurant (as yet unnamed) by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a Whiskey Bar by Rande Gerber (husband of model Cindy Crawford) | John Sheely (Mockingbird Bistro) has sold the Riviera Grill to the Sam Houston Hotel owners. Riviera Grill chef Jonathan Jones has moved to Pat-A-Cake in Wharton, where he makes Gulf Coast cuisine | Barbara Farrar has sold Chez Nous to former owner Gerard Brach | Claire Smith (Daily Review Cafe) has opened Shade in the former Kaldi Cafe space on West 19th Street. Chef Jeb Stuart is returning from Anniston, Alabama, to run the kitchen | Beso, a new spot from Solero chef Arturo Boada and partner Bill Sadler (Cafe Noche, Moose Cafe, etc.), takes over the space that was Two Chefs Bistro. The menu will feature Latin American flavors, steaks, and Boada’s deft touch with seafood | Olivette at The Houstonian has hired Jesse Llapitan (The St. Regis, Los Angeles) as executive chef. He replaces Jim Mills, now general manager.


Ivy league. Harvard Bar & Grill is a new American that has opened in the Thistle Hotel in Victoria on the former site of Christopher’s Victoria | The elegant Japanese restaurant Viktor has opened in Knightsbridge. Owners Lubov Shurmer and Marianna Istomina also own a restaurant in St. Petersburg. The Modern Japanese food has Latin American, French, and Russian influences. Consultant chef Oyamada Yasuta is from Sushi Samba in New York City | Darbar is a new Indian restaurant in Fulham, with the chef from Red Fort | Terence Conran has opened Plateau in Canary Wharf above the Reebok Gym | Restaurant Associates has formed a partnership with Gary Rhodes to take over the fine-dining room at Tower 42, the NatWest Tower. The restaurant will be called Rhodes Twenty Four and will serve Rhodes’s signature “Best of British” cuisine | Oliver Peyton (Isola, Mash, Atlantic Bar & Grill) is collaborating with Moroccan couple Mehdi and Leila Bahraoui on the restoration of the 1950s Villa Zevaco in Casablanca. This landmarked building is being converted into an “epicentre of Epicureanism” with a restaurant, bar, and tea salon | Isola now has a restaurant within a restaurant. The casual and inexpensive Antipasti Bar downstairs serves small plates of Italian delicacies.


New Patina. Joachim Splichal has moved his flagship Hollywood restaurant Patina to more spacious quarters in the new $274 million Walt Disney Concert Hall downtown. Hagy Belzberg designed the new 4,500-square-foot space. The new chef is Theo Schoenegger (ex-Rock Center Café in Rockefeller Center, New York City). Meanwhile, the Melrose Avenue original has become a private event space, Patina Privé | Veteran Patina sommelier Chris Meeske has purchased Mission Wines, a boutique wine merchant in South Pasadena | Luna Park in San Francisco has opened a branch on La Brea Avenue just down the street from Campanile. Co-owners A. J. Gilbert (he runs the front) and chef/partner Joe Jack offer reasonably priced, California bistro fare | In the early ’90s, Maxim’s-trained pastry chef Laurent Quenioux dazzled downtown diners at the long-departed Seventh Street Bistro. Since then he has kept a low profile in Alhambra with the petit Bistro 1000 and a modest catering business. Now, Quenioux has opened Bistro K in South Pasadena, a labor of love clearly done on a modest budget. The menu offers European, Asian, and Mexican specialties | The long-vacant Jozu space in West Hollywood is now home to Citrine Restaurant. David Slatkin (ex-Fenix at The Argyle Hotel, Mojo at the W Hotel) makes a Californian menu with Asian and Cuban touches | After losing a reported $2.5 million with “cowboy cuisine” at Reata Restaurant in Beverly Hills, you’d never expect Texas cattle baron Al Miscallef to try it again. Two years later, Miscallef is back with Reata Grill in the Westfield Shoppingtown Promenade in Woodland Hills. Thai chef Ped Phommavong (ex-Lemongrass) oversees an East-meets-West menu | Enrico Glaudo (ex-Primi) is now executive chef at Frascati Ristorante & Bar in Redondo Beach. Opening chef Soerke Peters returns to sister restaurant Ca’ Del Sole | Creative differences prompted Christophe Eme to leave L’Orangerie after 14 months and good reviews. Former sous-chef Jean-Claude Mons is the interim replacement | Quinn Hatfield has left Casa del Mar in Santa Monica for San Francisco, where he has opened a restaurant for Pascal Rigo in Hotel Adagio with his wife, Karen Hatfield, as co-executive chef | Celestino Drago has given up on Celestino’s Italian Steak House on Beverly Boulevard. The Piedmont beef will be served instead at Enoteca Drago, scheduled to finally open this month on North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills | Rosa Maria Cardini, whose father, Caesar Cardini, is said to have invented the Caesar salad at Caesar’s Hotel in Tijuana, has died at 75. In the late 1930s, the Cardinis moved to Los Angeles, where Rosa bottled their signature salad dressing at home and sold it at the Original Farmers Market. Rosa developed Caesar Cardini Foods into a multimillion-dollar business that was eventually sold to Dolefan Corp. in 1988.


Island flavor. After a short break to redecorate, Dominique Macquet has created a tropical ambiance at Dominique’s in the Maison Dupuy Hotel. New menu items include baby conch from the Caicos, lobster from the Caribbean, and snapper from Key West | Alex Patout has reopened his eponymous restaurant in Mandeville, after a fire gutted the former Bechac’s historic property. The building dates from the 1830s, but Patout promises contemporary Louisiana cuisine, such as blackened Brie with blueberry vinaigrette | Richard Wu (Ding How) has bought Mr. Tai’s, a forerunner of Hunan-Szechuan cuisine in Metairie. The renamed Ocean City Chinese Restaurant will serve Cantonese and Mandarin seafood | Last supper. After more than ten years, Charley G’s has served its last meal in Metairie. Chef/owner Charley Goodson is concentrating on his Lafayette operations. D’Angelo’s, an Italian chain from Baton Rouge, is moving into the Veterans Boulevard location | Caterer Joel Dondis has been talking about opening a restaurant for a long time. Now under construction in the trendy Magazine Street area is La Petite Grocery, a dream come true for Dondis and partners Anton and Diane Schulte (ex-Peristyle) | Hotelfront. Victor’s Grill replaces Victor’s in The Ritz-Carlton, and the Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel has been split into the New Orleans Grill and The Terrace.


It’s official. A few months ago we reported that chef Tadashi Ono (ex-Sono, La Caravelle) planned to open a restaurant in Chelsea’s new boutique hotel, the Maritime Hotel. Matsuri, which means “festival” in Japanese, is now open for business. Itadakimasu | Terre shaky. Until recently, Christian Delouvrier had his hands full with two upcoming projects. Now one of them, Terre, is history. Chris Bass, who was to have been the financial backer, still plans to build some kind of eatery in the Meatpacking District space, but Delouvrier is concentrating on his other concept, Delouvrier, a fine-dining restaurant slated to open next year | After a decade of innovative, Greenmarket-derived cooking, husband-and-wife chefs Diane Forley and Michael Otsuka have shuttered Verbena and the adjacent Bar Demi; they lost their lease. The duo are looking for a new location | Mr. Fitoussi goes to Washington. Michel Fitoussi, the top toque at Palace Restaurant and later 24 Fifth Avenue, both in New York (and, it just so happens, Forley’s mentor), is now Restaurant Associates’ executive chef for the restaurants at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. For more details see D.C. dateline (page 48) | Is it a cursed location or a sign of the times? SoHo’s short-lived 325 Spring Street, a gastronomic ode to the exalted (and exorbitant) truffle creations of France’s truffle king, Clément Bruno, has closed. The restaurant replaced the equally short-lived Théo | Bubby’s, a homey fixture on the TriBeCa dining scene, has opened a sister restaurant in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood. Look for the same delicious, home-style cooking—items like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, and pies | Pampano Taqueria is the new takeout spinoff of nearby Pampano in Turtle Bay. Open on weekdays for lunch only, the stand offers an inviting array of reasonably priced burritos, quesadillas, sandwiches, and tacos—including our personal favorite, the langosta with sautéed lobster, black bean purée, chile de arbol salsa, and avocado | Rustic Italian food lovers everywhere, rejoice. Sara Jenkins, whose deliciously simple cucina we loved at I Coppi, Il Buco, and Patio Dining, is back. Now she’s at 50 Carmine, turning out wilted escarole salad with anchovy dressing and buttery croutons, pennette Abbruzzese with crumbled sausage and broccoli rabe, and fricassee of lamb with braised artichokes. Proprietor Paola Bottero also owns the excellent Paola’s on the Upper East Side | On the move. Franklin Becker has left the breathtaking Capitale for a “grander” location. He’s now the executive chef of the TriBeCa Grand Hotel, overseeing current food and beverage operations and planning the hotel’s new restaurant. At Capitale, chef de cuisine Fred Brightman has replaced Becker | Chef Frank DeCarlo is no longer involved in Apizz on the Lower East Side. His former partner in Apizz, John LaFemina, is now in sole control. DeCarlo continues to make culinary magic at Peasant | Amma is a new Indian restaurant in Midtown, where chef Hemant Mathur, formerly of Diwan Grill and Tamarind, and caterer Suvir Saran have teamed up to bring New Yorkers a clever fusion of Indian flavors. You can’t go wrong with stuffed chicken legs spiked with pickled eggplant, lamb chops with sweet-and-sour pear chutney, and idli dumplings sautéed in curry, mustard seed, and coconut, all of which keep wine consultant extraordinaire Josh Wesson working overtime. Save room for the mango cheesecake | We love Lucy. Pearson’s Texas Barbecue has Upper East Siders licking their well-manicured fingers, and Daisy Mae supplies the rest of us with an incredible takeout business on the West Side, so we figured it was just a matter of time before barbecue diversified. Enter Lucy Mexican Barbecue. Andrew DiCataldo of Patria took over the Pipa and Chicama spaces in ABC Carpet & Home after the departure of Douglas Rodriguez. He has kept the former, but has transformed the latter into Lucy Mexican Barbecue, offering an inviting assortment of tacos, ceviches, tostadas, sopas, and tamales. It’s the barbacoa, though, that will keep you coming back | The landmark Grotta Azzurra in Little Italy has reopened, and we bet Ol’ Blue Eyes is smiling. Originally opened in 1908, the famed Sinatra hangout has been closed for the past six years. Happily, after a breathtaking renovation, its azure waters flow once again. There’s even a famous cave, only this one is filled with wine. Chef Chris Pfeifer’s menu ranges from lobster and crab ravioli with Vin Santo to grilled swordfish with “melted” tomatoes, capers, and black olives | Divine Divane. Turkish restaurateur Orhan Yegen, who brought us Beyoglu and Efendi, has added another delectable eatery to his portfolio. Divane in Hell’s Kitchen has but a minimal selection of Turkish meze, but that’s just to ensure that diners can focus on the array of char-grilled entrées, including seafood, fish, lamb, and filet mignon.


Nerves of steel. Gary Reinert, Jr., has opened Hot Metal Grille in the shadow of the Hot Metal Bridge on the South Side. The decor is post-industrial chic, the food contemporary American. Meanwhile, Reinert closed his other restaurant, Seventh Street Grille downtown, when the lease ran out | Joseph Difiore has retired, selling his landmark Shadyside restaurant, The Elbow Room, to his son, Mike (Buffalo Blues) | Jeff Stasko and Karl Kargle (The Inn on the Mexican War Streets) have opened Acanthus Restaurant, with a French country menu, in the restored carriage house | George Leventis (Peter’s Pub) and George Sliman have opened the casual Bridge Café on the South Side. The former Viaggio site had been vacant for four years | Joseph Collincino (Miyako Japanese Steak & Seafood Restaurant) and Rebecca Gomes have opened Nakama Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar on the South Side | Executive chef Mark Dyanadon has left the Pittsburgh Hilton downtown | Scott Cape (ex-Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa) replaces James Walsh as executive chef of The Renaissance Hotel and Opus Restaurant downtown. The new Nemacolin top toque is Jeremy Critchfield | Executive chef Dandi Bockius has left Mitchell’s Fish Market in Homestead | Bikki Kochhar opened Bikki in Shadyside. Chris Frangiadis (ex-Isabela) created the Euro-Indian menu of small plates and a bread buffet | Nigerian-born Sam Johnson (Kayla’s) opened Safari, a large African and Caribbean restaurant, club, and convenience store, in the Strip District | Steven Thomas Cortez replaces the short-lived Patrick Herbert as chef de cuisine at Perroquet French Bistro | Valhalla, the last brewpub in the Strip District, has closed. big Burrito Restaurant Group bought the property and plans to open a restaurant there next spring.


Sweet life. Your elderly auntie won’t recognize the former space in Nob Hill’s Fairmont Hotel that last housed Masons restaurant. It has been turned into Restaurant Sofia, with a look and feel right out of La Dolce Vita. The hotel has leased the space to cb5 Restaurant Group, a Connecticut company that owns and manages restaurants in several Starwood Hotels, and for international real estate mogul Sheldon Gordon | Azul has taken over 1 Tillman Place, the space that once housed Rumpus | The Carneros Inn is a new resort rising on a hill above vineyards on Highway 121 in Napa. The complex encompasses 96 cottages, a pool, an in-house restaurant called Hilltop (for guests only), and the casual Boon Fly Cafe, open to the public. The chef for both restaurants is Phillip Wang, formerly of Jardinière in San Francisco and Restaurant Daniel in Manhattan | After just months, John Beardsley has left Le Colonial, the high-style Vietnamese restaurant on Cosmo Place, to become executive chef of Azie, the Folsom Street fusion restaurant. He says he’s looking forward to Azie’s smaller space and broader menu | In Yountville, Philippe Jeanty plans to open the Mediterranean-themed Père Jeanty on Washington Street. He’s hired Jude Wilmoth, who has cooked at Tra Vigne, Piatti’s, and Napa Valley Grille, as chef de cuisine of the 130-seat restaurant.


Leaving home. Walter Pisano left his family’s restaurant, Tulio, in the Hotel Vintage Park for Trioani’s, a new restaurant from Paul Mackay and Rich Trioani | After executive chef Matt Costello left Library Bistro for the Inn at Langley, the bistro stopped serving dinner | Let’s hope the third time is a charm for 727 Pine in the Grand Hyatt after the promotion of sous-chef Shannon Galusha to executive chef. The loss of Danielle Custer, followed by Kyle Nelson, has left the kitchen wondering what’s goin’ on | Hector’s has reopened under new owner Stuart McLeod, who has restored the 80-year-old Kirkland restaurant to its original charm. Executive chef Christopher Nelson and sous-chef Dan Costa (both ex-Yarrow Bay Grill & Beach Cafe) are serving American comfort food | Wild Ginger owners Rick and Ann Yoder have opened the upscale nightclub The Triple Door, aimed at the over-30 set | Japanese restaurant and sushi bar Nikko has quietly closed in the Westin Hotel. Among those sad to see it go are former chef/owner Tak Suetsugu and his wife, Minae, who sold it in 2001.


Jamie Stachowski, formerly of eCiti in Tysons Corner, has taken over La Tarbouche on K Street. Stachowski, who is known for his American cuisine, will rename the space Restaurant Columbia | Sheila Johnson has tapped Equinox chef/owner Todd Gray to develop a “working chefs’ market” called Market Salamander in Middleburg, Virginia. The market, which is aimed at consumers but will sell chef-quality items, is but one stage of Johnson’s grand plan. She plans to open Salamander Inn & Spa in November 2004, including a restaurant by Gray | CIA graduate Frederic Przyborowski (ex-Ardeo) is restaurant chef at the new Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (For details, see NYC dateline page 45.) | Christopher Clime is now chef de cuisine at Ceiba, serving contemporary Latin American cuisine. Clime grew up in northern Virginia and in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, hence the name. Jason Andelman is the new pastry chef at Ten Penh, filling in for executive pastry chef David Guas as he focuses on Ceiba and DC Coast. All three restaurants are owned by Passion Food, LLC.


Las Vegas
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay plans to open a Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace. It will be his first venture outside New York City. The David Rockwell–designed restaurant is scheduled to open next spring.

Newton Square, PA
Win and Sutida Somboonsong (Thai Pepper, Mikado) have opened the Japanese-Thai restaurant Teikoku outside Philadelphia.

Woodstock, VT
Graham Elliot Bowles (ex-Charlie Trotter’s, Tru, The Mansion on Turtle Creek) has been named executive chef at The Jackson House Inn & Restaurant.