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   July & August  2006


Is that an Ecco we hear? The Fifth Group (Robby Kukler, Steve Simon, and KrisReinhard), responsible for such successes as Food Studio, La Tavola, Sala Sabor de Mexico, and two South City Kitchen locations, has brought its new Mediterranean concept to Midtown. With a rich, Italian look designed by Johnson Studio, Ecco is located in the former home of the Atlanta Fencing Club and features indoor seating for 240. Manning the kitchen is executive chef Micah Willix from Fort Lauderdale’s Seasons 52 and Mark’s Las Olas. Willix’s eclectic European menu includes wood oven–roasted clams, fried duck eggs with truffles, and almond-coated sweetbreads with sherry. The Food Studio’s Andy Fox is the G.M. | Partners Steve Buero, Chris Segal, Mark Stillman, and Phil Roness of 101 Concepts have opened a second Food 101 on North Highland Avenue. Ron Eyester from Food 101’s original Sandy Springs location is the executive chef. Prior to coming to Atlanta, Eyester cooked at the Starfish Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. His menu of American classics with a twist includes buttermilk-fried chicken, slider burgers, and Prince Edward Island mussels with roasted tomato broth. Preston Bennett designed the restaurant | Inman Park will be home to Shaun Doty’s next venture. Fresh from opening Table 1280 in the new Woodruff Arts addition, Doty has announced that Shaun’s will be housed in the former Inman ParkPatio location. Doty, who opened MidCity Cuisine after leaving downtown’s MumboJumbo, describes the new eatery’s menu as “simple yet creative.” He will continue to consult at Table 1280 | In 1994 Fabrice Vergez opened Brasserie Le Coze in the Lenox Mall for Maguy and Gilbert LeCoze of New York’s Le Bernardin. Sadly, due to the expansion of Neiman Marcus, this perennial Atlanta favorite has shuttered its doors. But all is not perdu—Vergez has announced plans for a new eatery, the French AmericanBrasserie, opening this fall in the Southern Company building downtown | KellyFuechsel has opened Pacific Kitchen in the former Lush space. Chef Michael DeMarco is serving casual California cuisine, including cioppino and Sonoma duck breast. Pastry chef Kaleena Sowell brings along her notable Southern standout, red velvet cake | Small bites: Drew Van Leuvan is the new chef at Spice, in Midtown. Real Food, located in Alpharetta’s Windward Plaza, has closed.


Where there’s smoke: 29-year-old former market researcher Wyeth Lynch has decided to take his weekend barbecuing hobby and turn it into a fulltime career by opening a joint called SoulFire. Located in Allston, SoulFire features barbecue classics like pulled pork and brisket. With the help of restaurant consultant Ed Doyle (ex-Aura at the SeaportHotel), Lynch will do double duty as chef and manager of the 75-seat eatery | Never fear: though some old favorites like Perdix and Nightingale have recently closed, the South End restaurant scene is still alive and well. Michaela Larson, Karen Haskell, and Gary Sullivan ( Rialto, Blu, Noir) have a new neighborhood project in the works. The three-level restaurant (which, at press time, is still unnamed and un-chefed) will feature an outdoor patio, and will be housed in a former shoe factory that currently contains several art galleries | A tale of two taverns: Brookline residents now have a new choice for casual dining. They can head to the ever-popular Washington Square Tavern or opt instead for the new Beacon Street Tavern just down the road. Both are owned by Gerry Finnegan, and WST’s chef Sam Kochan will be running both kitchens | Famed Harvard Square haunt Casablanca will remain open under the same ownership. There was a rumor that this Middle Eastern fave was closing due to rising rent costs, but owner Sari Abul-Jubein and landlord William Poorvu worked out an agreement that will allow the legendary restaurant to stay put for at least three more years.


Pumping up: during its golden years, the Pump Room was the celebrity hangout in Chicago, where the likes of Bogey and Bacall held court. Now, both the storied, but slightly worn, eatery and the Ambassador East hotel that houses it are undergoing a facelift and are due to reopen in fall. Rick Tramonto, executive chef at Tru, is revamping the menu while his partner, pastry chef Gale Gand, will be breathing life into the desserts. Nick Sutton, formerly of Tru and Osteria via Stato, will be the executive chef | Also rising from metaphorical ashes is the Berghoff. As reported in our March Dateline, the 107-year-old landmark German eatery closed when Herman Berghoff, grandson of the founder, retired and leased the building to his daughter Carlyn Berghoff for her catering company. Ms. Berghoff has since reopened the restaurant’s basement café, where she serves the institution’s trademark wiener schnitzel and sauerbraten. She has revamped the lunch and dinner menus in the upstairs bar area, and will use the rest of the wood-paneled landmark as her banquet facility | Ole Ole, a Nuevo Latino concept offering tastes of Mexico, Argentina, Spain, and Cuba, has opened in Andersonville. Chef Edi Reyes-Bulbuena (Blue Water Grill, Keefer’s, and Morton’s) is dishing out specialties like tilapia with spicy lobster and crabmeat | A new deli has dawned: Eleven City Diner is open in the South Loop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The 100-plus-seat space features leather booths, full bar, and matzo ball soup so good that one local critic professed to craving it for breakfast | Husband and wife chef/owners Laura Cid and LuisPerea have opened Bombon Cafe in Pilsen, an offshoot of their classic Mexican bakery. Specialties include tortas made with homemade rolls, tamales, quesadillas, salads, and desserts straight from the bakery | Kevin Hickey, who had been doing double duty running two top hotel kitchens at one time—the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room and Seasons in the Four Seasons Chicago—is now the full-time executive chef at the Four Seasons. Mark Payne, the Ritz’s executive sous-chef, has been promoted to executive chef | Reeling them in: the new Devon Seafood Grill is angling to lure diners with a dozen varieties of fresh fish flown in daily from around the globe. The captain of this operation is Mick Verheyen, previously the executive chef at Wolfgang Puck GrandCafe in Evanston | Dale Levitsky, of the late Trio Atelier, will head the kitchen of Stone Lotus in the former River North site of Pluton. The menu revolves around small plates | Chef Daniel Sikorski (Blackhawk Lodge) is directing the kitchen at the new Birch River Grill in suburban Arlington Heights, showcasing hearty American fare. Specialties are Yankee pot roast, meatloaf stuffed with mushroom duxelle, pecan-crusted trout, and for dessert, strawberry custard shortcake | Fixture hopes to live up to its name and become just that in Lincoln Park. A sister restaurant to the Meritage Cafe and Wine Bar, Fixture offers an eclectic American-style menu featuring hot and cold small plates to be paired with wines. Chef de cuisine is Sarah Nelson, the former sous-chef at Meritage.


The stampede of luxury contemporary steakhouses continues in Beverly Hills with the arrival of the long-planned Cut by Wolfgang Puck and its adjacent Sidebar lounge at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel. Architect Richard Meier has completely reconceived the former Dining Room space. Ari Rosenson, previously the executive sous-chef at Spago, is in charge of the menu, which includes seafood dishes such as roasted wild French turbot “French Riviera”–style for two. Richard Meier & Partners designed all of the furniture and flatware. As with Spago, guests have a prime view of the kitchens | Simon says: reversing the usual path of a successful Las Vegas restaurant, Simon kitchen + bar started in Sin City and has expanded to the City of Angels. Rock ‘n’ roll chef Kerry Simon is now serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Simon L.A. in the completely renovated Sofitel Los Angeles. The menu offers Simon’s signature wood-roasted pizzas and regional American seafood dishes and features organic produce, eggs, and meat. The chef’s partners in the venture are Elizabeth Blau (ex-Wynn Las Vegas) and chef Kim Canteenwalla (ex-MGM Grand). Simon is also responsible for the hotel’s room service and spa menus. Adjacent to Simon L.A. is Rande Gerber’s Stone Rose Lounge | Grace has been so amazingly popular that chef Neal Fraser, Amy Knoll Fraser, and Richard Drapkin have launched BLD nearby. Located on Beverly Boulevard, BLD is a more casual restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. A few highlights: sweet crêpes made with farmers’ market fruit, and a heritage pork burger. The kitchen is headed by Mike Garber, Grace’s former sous-chef, and the space also includes an artisanal cheese and charcuterie bar as well as a retail counter | Bridge Restaurant Lounge is the latest offering from the Koi Hospitality Group whose Koi (located across N. La Cienega Blvd.) is still white-hot after four years. Expect straightforward classic Italian fare combined with a happening bar scene. Tending to the slow-cooked sauces are Mirko Paderno (ex-Dolce), Santos McDonald (ex-Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi), and Salvador Guzman (ex-Madeo). The site’s Italian roots run deep; the fondly-remembered Alto Palato once inhabited the space | The latest project in Los Angeles from New York restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and his China Grill Management is the massive Social Hollywood, located where the former Hollywood Athletic Club used to be. The 40,000-square-foot complex is equal parts nightspot, ultralounge, and restaurant. Global small plates such as mini Kobe sliders with melted onions and gruyere are available at the Bar, and pan-Mediterranean fare with a strong Moroccan influence can be ordered at the Moroccan Room. Both menus were designed by consulting chef Michelle Bernstein (Michy’s in Miami). The executive chef is Joe Ojeda, previously of Asia de Cuba | Down memory lane: Michael Wilson was the chef at the cult classic 5 Dudley, which he left in 2004. With the debut of Wilson, the chef is now back in the spotlight serving three meals a day at his eponymous high-end wine bar and cafe located on the new restaurant row in downtown Culver City. His partners are chef Antonio Mure and Stefano Lorenzo (La Botte Ristorante and Piccolo Ristorante). The popular housemade pastas that Mure serves up at Piccolo will also be part of the Wilson menu | Try this on for size. Bin 8945 Wine Bar & Bistro has been uncorked on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The concept, developed by managing partner/wine director David Haskell (ex-Tao Asian Bistro in New York), is to match more than 50-plus wines-by-the-glass with “small,” “slightly larger,” or “meal-ending” plates. Executive chef Matt Carpenter, who comes from Josie Restaurant, is presenting modern European dishes with a touch of Caribbean and North African flavor | The stylish and upscale La Huasteca Mexican Restaurant in Lynwood has proven to be such a crowd-pleaser that a smaller branch has now opened in Old Pasadena. Co-owner and exec chef Alfonso Ramirez (who trained under Roy Yamaguchi and the late Jean-Louis Palladin) specializes in authentic dishes from Mexico’s many regions. The interior is decorated with Mexican artifacts and furniture, and features stunning hand-painted murals created by prominent Mexican artists | Craig Petrella, a longtime colleague of Norman Van Aken, has left his post as chef de cuisine at Norman’s on Sunset to take a sabbatical. Now manning the stoves is Mike Bryant, who has partnered with Van Aken since 2000 and was the executive sous-chef for the opening of NOS. Bryant and Van Aken are collaborating on the menu | Bill Bracken, the executive chef at the Island Hotel Newport Beach, has appointed Joshua Nudd as the new chef de cuisine for Pavilion, the property’s fine-dining restaurant. Most recently at Hoku’s in Honolulu’s Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Nudd previously worked with Bracken at the Belvedere in Beverly Hills. Expect the addition of some Asian/Pacific Rim touches to the existing Cali-Med menu.


Donald Link of Herbsaint, who hails from the Lake Charles area, has opened Cochon, an upscale paean to West Louisiana cooking, in the Warehouse District | Vickie Bayley—of Mike’s on the Avenue, Artesia, and more recently Ohi’s, a tapas bar in the Hotel Le Cirque—has partnered with David English to open 7 on Fulton in the Riverfront Hotel. English drew raves as exec chef at Cobalt in the Hotel Monaco, and has brought some of his more interesting menu items with him | Chef Adolfo Garcia and Nick Bazan will soon open La Boca around the corner from their other Warehouse District eatery, RioMar. Billed as an Argentine steakhouse, La Boca’s meats will be prepared in that country’s classic style—on the grill and served with chimichurri sauce | A fresh start: Pampy’s Creole Kitchen is one of the many restaurants that remains closed, but its former chef, Christopher Brown, has found a home at Roux Bistro in the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street. He has created a tasting menu that includes crayfish beignets, red bean cassoulet with duck confit, and a silky rendition of the classic oyster and artichoke soup, topped with cornmeal-crusted, flash-fried oysters | Opening and reopening: Scott Boswell’s French Quarter gem, Stella, which had begun renovations just prior to Hurricane Katrina, has reopened. In the days following the hurricane, while Stella was still closed, Boswell opened another successful French Quarter eatery, Stanley, where he offers his stylized takes on comfort food (think eggs benedict po’ boys) at breakfast and lunch | Café Adelaide in the Loews Hotel has also reopened, but without chef Kevin Vizard, who has launched his new restaurant, Vizard’s. The top toque position has been filled by Danny Trace, who is firing up more contemporary renditions of the traditional Creole cuisine popularized by Café Adelaide’s famous sister restaurant, Commander’s Palace.


Alex Stupak, pastry chef at Alinea in Chicago, joins Wylie Dufresne in the kitchen of wd~50 in New York. Stupak takes over for Sam Mason, who departs later this year to open his own as yet unnamed 50-seat restaurant on Broome and Thompson streets in Manhattan | Named after a popular surfing spot off Eastern Long Island, Ditch PlainsMarc Murphy’s new fish joint in the West Village—is an urban seafood shack in the spirit of Pearl Oyster Bar and Mary’s Fish Camp. Dive into freshly shucked oysters and clams, and fat, succulent lobster rolls. Chef Murphy and his partner/wife, Pamela ScheinMurphy, also own Landmarc in Tribeca and are planning a larger version of the bistro for the Time Warner Center | Lure Fishbar in SoHo reopened following fire and water damage in the building housing the restaurant. The chic aquatic room was closed for several months. Top toque Josh Capon still heads up the kitchen and Tanaka Shinegori (formerly of Sushi Yasuda and Jewel Bako) has been brought in to prepare the eatery’s new sushi menu | Michael Symon of Cleveland’s Lola has opened Parea in the Flatiron District, his first restaurant in the Big Apple. The menu honors Symon’s Greek roots, and the executive chef is Jonathon Sawyer | Katy Sparks has ended her tenure as the culinary director for Balducci’s gourmet market in Greenwich Village. She’s joining Great Performances, the New York–based events and catering company | Michel Nischan, the health- and flavor-minded chef and cookbook author, has teamed up with actor Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own philanthropic organization to open the Dressing Room: Newman’s Own, A Homegrown Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut. Mega-branding for a restaurant, to be sure, but the name signals a serious mission to revitalize the region’s culinary heritage and support community outreach (a portion of the eatery’s proceeds will benefit the nearby Westport County Playhouse). Menu highlights include Iroquois white corn soup, hook-and-line baked Chatham cod, and Cox’s Orange Pippin apple cobbler | Tom Colicchio’s expanding empire now includes Craftsteak in the Meatpacking District. The menu is a mind-boggling (not to mention wallet-draining) array of choices: well-stocked raw bar, dozens of side dishes, and a list of steak options that includes varying cuts, days of aging, and types of beef. We can’t even begin to recommend what to eat, but we can suggest making a reservation as soon as possible | Matthew Kenney has closed his Lower East Side vegetarian restaurant, Heirloom, apparently over a dispute with his partners. He continues to operate The Plant in DUMBO, Brooklyn, which is dedicated to raw food lifestyle education and practice | François Payard has a new cafe up his sleeve. The soon-to-be-unveiled NoLiTa spot will focus on Mediterranean fare. Stay tuned | Frankies Spuntino 17 Clinton Street on the Lower East Side is a spin-off of the original Frankies Spuntino 457 Court Street in Brooklyn. The new location maintains the charm of the original (exposed brick walls, dark wood, pressed tin ceiling) and the menu is outstanding for casual Italian sandwiches, mouthwatering combinations of crostini, antipasti, cheeses, and more substantial dishes | In the style of Nobu, which has outposts downtown and in Midtown, Megu in Tribeca has opened a second location in the Trump World Tower near the United Nations. It’s a smaller version of the breathtaking original, and it’s got a few glamour notes of its own (like the white tiger mural), but the food is every bit as grandiose and tantalizing | Sure to make the bankers happy. Harry’s at Hanover Square is back, baby. Harry Poulakakos presided over the legendary watering hole (and the even more legendary wine cellar) where this city’s movers and shakers held court for more than 30 years. Two years ago he closed the place, citing loss of his wife and partner as a motivating factor. Fortunately, Harry is re-energized, thanks to son Peter Poulakakos. The new restaurant is actually a two-fer: Harry’s Cafe and Bar and Harry’s Steak. The chef of record is former Maloney and Porcelli toque, Patrick Vaccariello | The direct approach to naming a restaurant: Food, the new(ish) fish and seafood restaurant from Scott Geller in Spanish Harlem. Given the industrial chic setting—and a pedigree that includes Nobu, V Steakhouse, and the French Laundry—we’re eager to head uptown | We sense a trend…A slew of über-trendy, oversized Asian restaurants have recently transplanted from other cities. First there was Morimoto (a replica of the Iron Chef–featuring Philly original that set up shop in the Meatpacking District), which was shortly followed by Buddakan, another Philly fave, mere yards from Morimoto. The latest newcomer is Buddha Bar, a replica of the famous Parisian spot, located in the (where else?) Meatpacking District. Though the latter is known more for its social scene, the food is worth checking out, thanks to chefs Keith Matsuoka and A. J. Pike, who are dishing up foie gras tempura maitake and kobe tartare with quail egg, among other fun treats. The most striking design detail is the inclusion of a glass-walled smokers’ room open to the sky | Daisy May’s BBQ USA finally has seats. Pitmaster and former Daniel alum Adam Perry Lang presides over some of the best barbecue fare anywhere, but until now, it was only available from one of his street carts. Now there is a modest dining room for cafeteria-style service and late-night large party reservations | In other barbecue news, Michael Eberstadt has opened Rack & Soul on the Upper West Side, a moderately sized restaurant specializing in two addictive dishes: barbecue and fried chicken | Sfoglia NYC, a local branch of the Nantucket favorite, opened recently. Chef/partners Ron Suhanosky and Colleen Marnell Suhanosky specialize in rustic Italian cooking, and their pastas are outrageous | Tribeca restaurant veteran Joey Campanaro (The Harrison, Pace) has found an intimate West Village space to call his own: The Little Owl. His menu hinges on seasonal pleasures, like halibut with ramps and lemon crème fraîche | Lo Scalco, the elegant domain of chef Mauro Mafrici, is relocating to Midtown. The doors will close on the Tribeca location in the middle of summer so Mafrici can concentrate on the move. Expect an early 2007 opening | Always room for a few quick bites: Kevin Garcia was the chef de cuisine at Del Posto. He’s moved to ’Cesca on the Upper West Side, replacing Tom Valenti…Josephs Citarella has closed. The elegant seafood house run by Bill Yosses plans to move to the Upper East Side this summer…No more Swedish meatballs. After seven years, Ulrika Bengtsson’s eponymous restaurant on the Upper East Side has closed. The Swedish chef plans to continue working in food, with a focus on special events.


South and north of the border: Canadian restaurateur Angus K. Peterkin renovated a two-story Shadyside building to open Azul Bar & Cantina. The Mexican restaurant, which replaces Cozumel, is outfitted with tables and chairs from Guadalajara, as well as 200-year-old beams from an historic West Virginia covered bridge | The latest addition to Squirrel Hill’s restaurant row is La Provence, opened by Eric Chabou, who has added some twists to a menu of bistro classics | The new owners of the Shiloh Inn on Mt. Washington have renovated the space, while retaining traditional dishes such as crabmeat Hoelzel and sole Rockefeller | Grooving all day long…At Dance Cafe—new to the downtown area—breakfast, lunch, and dessert share the floor with the waltz, samba, and belly dancing | Michael Pijanowski has launched Nine on Nine, also downtown, with partner Courtney Lynch and chef Richard Deshantz (ex-Hyeholde). The menu is French bistro–influenced | The namesake restaurant of chef Jeff Iovino (formerly of Soba) has opened in Mt. Lebanon. The vegetarian-friendly menu also includes fresh seafood, like grilled salmon served on a bed of basmati rice with seared spinach and a red curry–coconut sauce | In memoriam: Phillip Bucci, the iconic maître d’ who gave 46 years of first-rate service to the prestigious Duquesne Club, has died at the age of 76.


Outta this world: Heaven Sent Desserts has opened in North Park under the watchful eye of pastry chef Tracey Heffernan. Presentations and ingredients take a global approach to sweets | Debbie Hugonin and Seth Bass (the nephew of San Diego Padres owner John Moores) have stepped up to the plate with Blanca in Solana Beach’s Beachwalk complex. Contemporary California cuisine is on deck | Charles Hechinger is the new executive chef at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. Hechinger comes to San Diego from the Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, California | Over at the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, the new executive chef is Michael Beck. He replaces Josh Richardi, who has moved to the Santa Luz Clubhouse | Raw passion: Joe Busalacchi and Michael Viscuso have opened Crudo in Little Italy, with a focus on raw fish.


Before the French Laundry garnered national attention, the restaurant at Domaine Chandon was Yountville’s shining star, with its innovative chefs and modern style. Now Chris Manning has taken over for Ron Boyd, ushering in changes like a new name—Étoile—and a new look. San Francisco’s Puccini Group will redo the interior, and the wine bar will be converted into an intimate lounge serving dishes to be shared. During the day, Manning will offer customers picnic lunches and blankets to take outside, and his Cali-Med menu in the main dining room will include offerings like Alaskan halibut with forbidden rice, chorizo, Manila clams, and saffron foam, and broiled Quilcene oysters with Serrano ham and shallot butter | Executive chef Matthew DuTrumble and general manager Louis Caputo are opening Craveis in the Castro with a menu that will feature updated American comfort food, like caviar-topped potato chips, duck confit tostadas with a housemade hot sauce, and baby back ribs with a smoky Seagram and 7UP barbecue sauce. With its modular ceiling, LED light system, and unisex bathroom, the vibe is quintessentially Castro | Left Bank restaurants has named Joel Guillon, who cooked at the Argent Hotel for more than 20 years, their new corporate chef. Guillon will be updating menus throughout the group’s five locations | Campton Place was rocked when Daniel Humm departed for New York’s Eleven Madison Park last year. One by one, new faces have been filing in, among them sommelier Shana Dilworth, who is replacing John Ragan. Dilworth was most recently an assistant general manager and sommelier at Jardinière. Also, Boris Portnoy (ex-Winterland) is the new pastry chef | Yes, Noe: there’s a restaurant renaissance currently underway in Noe Valley with the addition of Sardinian La Cicciaand Joey & Eddy’s Seafood from Joseph Manzare. Now two more new eateries join the mix. Roy Lui and Filip Yip will be opening an as-yet-unnamed restaurant in the former Mikeytom Market with chef Alex Placencia (ex–Nectar Wine Lounge, Colibri Mexican Bistro, and U Street Lounge) behind the stove. The restaurant will serve small and large plates, with a selection of sakes and wines to pair with the Asian-tinged California menu. Half a block away, the old Chinese Long Island Restaurant space is now Bistro 1689, a cozy 45-seat French restaurant with chef Christopher Pastena (ex-Bruno’s) at the helm | Another New York restaurant has snatched up a Northern California chef—James McDevitt of Budo will be the new executive sous-chef at Le Cirque. Under McDevitt’s leadership, Budo was named one of the Top Ten restaurants of 2005 by the Chronicle, but closed in January of this year due to lack of business. Budo becomes Cuvée Napa, where chef Octavio Barrera will serve updated American comfort food like spice-rubbed skirt steak with olive oil–fried potatoes, and pan-roasted chicken with baby vegetables. The restaurant will also have a smaller bar menu for after-hours | Daniel Patterson’s new 30-seat restaurant, Coi, features global cuisine on a four-course fixed-price menu, with options like beet salad with curry spices, and Moroccan spice–crusted lamb with argan oil. The seasonal menu will change often, and Patterson plans to offer a more adventurous chef’s menu in coming months | There are already lines out the door at Nopa, the newest venture by Laurence Jossel, Allyson Woodman, and Jeff Hanak, all from Chow. Jossel is in the kitchen, Woodman and Hanak run the front of the house, and Hanak created the wine list. Don’t miss standouts like the crisp fritto misto or the lusty fish soup. Desserts are simple, yet playful, as in the crème fraîche ice cream with Cara Cara granita—a Creamsicle for adults. The place dishes out its California-Mediterranean fare into the wee hours, making it a favorite with local chefs | At A16, Nate Appleman took over for Christophe Hille as executive chef. Hille will be returning to the East Coast for personal reasons. Appleman is a certified pizzaiolo and has been working in A16’s kitchen since it opened, so continuity is the order of the day | Brick has opened in the Tenderloin, a burgeoning area for hipster restaurants. Partners Matt Sturm, Chris Cronk, and Leslie Shirah are no strangers to what keeps a place busy; their other ventures—Solstice and Fly—are always hopping. Brick’s kitchen is managed by chef Noah Tucker, who arrived from New York’s Town and Oceana. He’s put together a sophisticated 25-plate menu, with options like sourdough-dusted skate wing and confit Buffalo wings | Scott Giambastiani recently celebrated his ninth year—and his last day—at Viognier. He’s going to Google to be the executive chef at one of the company’s now-famous cafés. Viognier sous-chef Michael Greuel, who’s been there for five years, will step into the lead role | Scott Holley, owner of Steps of Rome and G Bar, bought Yabbies Coastal Kitchen. The menu will still focus on coastal cuisine, and word is that Holley will actually be serving yabbies, the Tasmanian freshwater crayfish.


Who’s on first? Fred Thimm, president and COO of the D.C.–based steakhouse chain Palm Management Corp., will be leaving PMC to open a string of upscale lounges called Martini Park. The eateries will be casual restaurants with a light menu and creative martinis, and the first is due to open in Plano, Texas, followed by Houston and Chicago. Thimm’s partner is Christopher Barish (son of Keith Barish of Planet Hollywood fame) | Chefs on the move: Duane Keller from Jury’s has gone to the Old Town Hilton in Alexandria, while Heather Chittum, pastry chef for Michel Richard Citronelle, has returned to her previous position as pastry chef at Dish and Notti Bianche, and is again working with her husband, Anthony Chittum. Naomi Gallego has left Vidalia and taken over pastry duties at Equinox, replacing Lisa Scruggs, who moved on to pursue a new business venture. Raynold Mendizabal-Betancourt is the new chef at Lima. He was formerly at Pesce in Dupont Circle | Makeovers and milestones: chef Bryan McBride’s restaurant at the Park Hyatt, in D.C.’s West End, will reopen in July after six months of renovations, while chef Jeff Black unveils the new and improved Black’s Bar & Kitchen in Bethesda after four months of revamping. Both the Palm restaurant on 19th Street and the Occidental (which this year celebrates its centennial) are closing this summer to have work done | Chef Laurent Tourondel is slated to open his first restaurant outside of NYC: BLT Steak comes to downtown D.C. in August.