news &

Find your city here:

   September 2006


Metrotainment Cafes (Garrison’s, Einstein’s, and Joe’s on Juniper) has opened Hudson Grille in Alpharetta. The space was designed by Preston Bennett to capture the look and feel of a 1920s-style big city tavern. Chef Philip Sandidge’s menu features all-American fare, ranging from crabcakes and bone-in pork chops to grilled seafood.

In September, the Hayes Foundation, owned by Robert Hayes, is set to open Roberto’s World Tapas in the Regal Cinema Center in Duluth. Executive chef Chad Anderson will prepare tapas with a global influence, including Moroccan lamb lollipops, grilled flatiron steak, and chipotle shrimp skewers. Hayes will also debut Ma Mer (“my sea” in French) in the same film center later this fall, where chef Nicolas Bourr plans to offer fresh, simply prepared seafood from around the world. Prior to Ma Mer, Bourr headed the kitchens of MidCity Cuisine and Iris, and also worked with Guenter Seeger at the Dining Room in Buckhead’s Ritz-Carlton.

Many moons: James Ehrlich, owner of the original Eclipse di Luna on Miami Circle in Buckhead, has recently opened his second Luna—this one in the Park Place complex in Dunwoody in the space that was formerly Blue Olive. The unique tapas menu includes items such as Mako shark skewers and a slow-roasted lamb sandwich.

Franco De Amicis, the former food and beverage director for the Lake Blackshear Resort in South Georgia, has a new Italian restaurant in Duluth. Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano features a variety of regional Italian dishes in Mediterranean-style surroundings.

Here comes the sun: Zaria (Russian for “sunrise”), a new concept by Jerry Couvaras’s Atlanta Bread Company, is now open in the Vinnings Jubilee center on Paces Ferry Road. An upscale bistro with its own in-house bakery and full bar service, it’s the first of several outlets planned for the Southeast over the next two years.

The Sun Dial Restaurant downtown has a new executive chef. Christian Messier returns to Atlanta after a stint at the Renaissance Grand Downtown St. Louis Convention Hotel. His career started in Atlanta at the Country Club of the South.

Chef Tony Morrow, owner of Flavours Catering, has opened the Pecan in the former Oscar’s space on Main Street. Morrow, who helmed Buckhead Life’s 103 West as well as Pano’s & Paul’s, has put together a menu of classic Southern cuisine including Tybee Island crabcakes, salmon with pepper jack grits, and lobster beignets.

At the plate: TV chef Marvin Woods of Turner South’s Home Plate will soon preside over the stoves of Spice in Midtown, according to owner Bruce Patterson. Woods plans to introduce a new lowcountry menu with African influences.



JBF Award winner Chris Schlesinger and partner Jim Economides have opened All Star Sandwich Bar down the road from Schlesinger’s ever-popular East Coast Grill & Raw Bar in Cambridge. The joint serves hearty sandwiches like the Buffalo specialty “beef on weck” (house-roasted beef au jus with horseradish on a Kimmelweck bun) and the “Big Eazy greazy muffaletta.”

The Big Dig has spawned a new restaurant hotspot—the Seaport District. In June the high-tech Legal Test Kitchen (LTK) opened on Northern Avenue with digital menus, WiFi access, and iPod docking stations, making this most recent Legal Sea Foods outpost a trend-setting showcase. There’s food, too, like tuna burgers with chili sambal and roasted pepper aïoli, and chicken and shrimp wok-made omelet with snow peas, shitakes, and Shandong sauce.

Down the road at the new Westin Boston Waterfront, executive chef Pasquale Presa (formerly ofthe Westin LAX and the Sheraton Woodbridge Center) oversees both Sauciety and Birch Bar. At the 130-seat Sauceity, guests can order a variety of grilled meats and fish and choose from nearly 20 unique sauces organized from mild (lemon artichoke emulsion) to bold (lobster vanilla foam) to spicy (five-chile mole). Birch Bar features a selection of upscale small plates including mini-burgers, chicken lollipops, and New England artisanal cheeses.

The restaurant-packed South End will finally get an Indian eatery when Mela opens late next month in the old Nightingale space. Modern dishes are on the menu, but we suspect the real draw will be the hot stone cooking: 500-degree granite slabs will be brought to the tables for diners to cook their dinner. Mela is the newest from One World Cuisine, whose growing empire of Indian eateries (Kashmir, Mantra, Cafe of India, Bukhara, Diva, and Diva Lounge) dominates greater Boston.

Everyone’s buzzing about Beehive, coming this fall in the new Boston Center for the Arts Complex. Marc Orfaly (Pigalle and Marc-O) is consulting with two longtime South End restaurateurs, Jack Bardy (Pho Republique) and Daryl Settles (Bob’s Southern Bistro) on a joint venture that will feature a variety of good eats ranging from tapas to cheeseburgers.

Pava is the brainchild of Carlos Pava and Tess Enright, the husband-and-wife co-owners of Tess and Carlos, the boutique where fashionistas go to get their Prada and Paul Smith fixes. Susan Regis (ex-Upstairs on the Square) and Jason Bond ( ex-No.9 Park) are the chefs.

Todd English’s perennial Wellesley favorite, Figs, closed earlier this month. The official word from English’s camp is that the celeb chef decided not to renew the lease and has turned the space over to fellow Boston restaurant star Michael Schlow (Radius, Via Matta, and Great Bay) and his restaurant group, Guapo. Stay tuned.

Todd Winer, former chef de cuisine at Todd English’s Olives in Charlestown, is now the chef at the Metropolitan Club. He replaces Jeffrey Fournier, who left to start his own venture (reportedly also somewhere in the ‘burbs). Winer is changing things up a bit—the Met Club will start serving lunch early next month and the dinner menu will be revamped. Meanwhile, Joe Brenner, who was the chef at Olives before a stint at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire, has returned to replace Winer.

David Reynoso (formerly of Butcher Shop and Cafe Louis) is now chef at Spire in the chic Nine Zero Hotel. He replaced Gabriel Frasca, who moved to Nantucket with Amanda Lydon (ex-Upstairs on the Square and Ten Tables) to run the Straight Wharf restaurant. Thanks to the shuffle, Greg Reeves, chef de cuisine at B&G Oysters, Ltd., will now be running both B&G and the Butcher Shop kitchens, which are located across the street from each other. David Punch (ex-Rendezvous in Central Square) is now the chef at Ten Tables.

Copley Square’s Turner Fisheries welcomed new executive chef Frank Neugebauer in late June. Neugebauer previously cooked at the Savoy in London, the Four Seasons Hotel in Hamburg, and the Ritz-Carlton and Westin Copley Place in Boston.

Back in Cambridge’s Harvard Square, Harvard alum David A. Zebny plans to bring late-night dining back to the area with the new Z Square Cambridge, located in the former home of Finagle a Bagel (which has moved down the street). The restaurant is the second for the Z Restaurant Group, who also own Z Cafe in Marin County, California. The kitchen is headed by Paul Sussman (former chef/owner of Daddy-O's and Macondo in Cambridge and ex-chef at the Fireplace in Brookline).

The brother-and-sister team behind nationally acclaimed Lala Rokh (the only gourmet Persian restaurant in town) has just opened Bin 26 Enoteca, an Italian restaurant and wine bar in the Beacon Hill space that formerly housed Evan Deluty’s Torch. Azita Bina-Seibel and Babak Bina are serving seasonal, regional Italian food with a twist—dishes like lime flavored cold melon soup with ham and figs, and guinea fowl with a sauce made from quinoa, red lentils, watermelon, and Marsala sauce.

Marisa Iocco, chef of Frank DePasquale’s triumvirate of Bricco, Umbria, and Mare, is leaving the cooking world (for now) to explore writing and travel.



Feathers flying: The so-called Second City has now become the first, at least when it comes to banning foie gras. Thanks to a ruling by the city council, which objects to the force-feeding that’s needed to produce the delicacy, the product has been proscribed from menus effective late August, making it the only spot in the U.S. with such an edict. (California has legislated a ban on production and sale by 2012.) Meanwhile, chefs are crying fowl; some of the city’s top toques, led by Michael Tsonton of Copperblue and Didier Durand of Cyrano’s Bistrot, have formed Chicago Chefs for Choice to overthrow the ordinance. Stay tuned.

Flatwater debuted in July overlooking the Chicago River. With boaters stopping by to place orders at the substantial docking space, and an interior designed to mimic an intimate clubhouse, the restaurant is making dramatic use of the waterfront.

Things are looking sweet again for Christine McCabe, most recently with the now-shuttered Sugar Dessert Bar. She has been named the pastry chef at the Park Grill in Millennium Park. Iin other area news, Keefer’s executive chef John Hogan is part of a team that will take over the old Chicago Bar & Grill space and convert it into Tavern at the Park. Straightforward fare (steaks, pastas, and sandwiches) is slated for the two-story eatery’s opening in February.

A former funeral home located in an opulent North Side building has been transformed into Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro. Executive chef Jeanne Carlson is turning out contemporary Irish dishes, like sautéed oat-crusted trout stuffed with onions and bacon, as well as creative spins on classics like shepherd’s pie.

East meets west: Chinatown just got a bit more upscale with the addition of Mulan. Chef/owner Kee Chan is pairing Asian and American cuisine in dishes like grilled elk medallions with panko-crusted scallops and miso-carrot cream.



Reel food: Houston’s first Studio Movie Grill debuted in May on Highway 6 North. (There are also locations in Plano and Addison.) A combination movie theatre and casual restaurant, the eatery features build-your-own burgers, pizza, and chicken sandwiches, as well as beer and margaritas.

Pasta redux: This summer Fabio Milano reopened his Fabio’s Fresh Pasta Factory on West Alabama. Milano previously had a pasta factory in the Village—supplying clients such as Damian’s, the Four Seasons Hotel, Magnolia Bar & Grill, and Ugo’s Italian Grill—but he sold it in 1999 before going home to Italy. Two years later he returned to Houston and opened Fabio’s Italian Bar and Grill. The new, much larger factory will also feature a retail counter.

Go west: After 31 years Hungry’s is moving west, though it will still be located on Memorial Drive. According to owner Ashkan Nowamooz, the new digs will feature a larger dining room, outdoor patio seating, and a fountain.

Morton’s of Chicago is opening a second outpost in Houston this fall adjacent to the new Main Street Square. The new location will feature Morton’s Bar 12-21, with a special bar bites menu.

According to the Tasting Room’s owner Jerry Lasco, construction is nearly complete for the wine bar’s third and most ambitious outpost to date, the Tasting Room River Oaks. The new wine bar/retail store venue in the neighborhood is set to debut in September.

Greg Martin, formerly with Sysco (and before that, Cafe Annie), is now the food and beverage director for Central Market. Over the next 18 months, Central Market plans to build 16 Cafe on the Run concepts throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. Construction is already underway at four of the locations.

New owners: El Patio and its famously boozy Club No Minors have taken over Midtown’s 2416 Brazos in the space that used to house the Thirsty Cactus. Roger Aggoun purchased King Biscuit Patio Cafe on White Oak Drive this past May. Aggoun says that he is not planning on instituting any radical changes.

Comings and goings: Alberto Baffoni (formerly chef/owner of Simposio) is now at Rainbow Lodge. Meanwhile, former Rainbow Lodge chef Matt Maroni has moved on to Bryan-College Station.

The Canyon Cafe has a new GM, Rob Clanton, while Plinio Sandalio, the former sous-chef at Rickshaw, is now pastry chef at Noé in the Omni Hotel.

Bistro Le Cep's Joe Mannke has announced that Imrai Sanvicente, who has been with the restaurant for five years, has been promoted to executive chef.

This summer, St. Regis welcomed new executive chef Garret Fujieda. Fujieda is a native Hawaiian who has worked at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, New York City's Gotham Bar and Grill, and the Westin Diplomat in Florida. Meanwhile, the St. Regis’s former executive chef, Toby Joseph, has headed east to the hotel’s new Fort Lauderdale location, set to open in September.



Mozza Pizzeria, the bi-coastal collaboration between Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery) and Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich of Babbo and Del Posto in New York, will open in the historic Emilio’s space at the corner of Hollywood’s Melrose and Highland Avenues late this month or early October. An adjacent restaurant, Mozza Osteria, is slated to open later in the fall. All of the menus were developed by Silverton and Batali along with on-site executive chef Matt Molina (ex-Campanile). Managing partner David Rosoff (ex-Michael’s) put together the all-Italian wine list.

After 68 years the original Du-Par’s Restaurant, L.A.’s quintessential coffee shop in the landmark Farmers Market, is set to reopen in mid-October after a massive $2 million top-to-bottom restoration. Veteran restaurateur W.W. “Biff” Naylor (ex-Tiny Naylor’s) has brought in Medardo Hernandez (ex-Granita) as executive chef for the three outlets (the others are in Studio City and Thousand Oaks).

When proprietors Gerard and Virginia Ferry debuted L’Orangerie (a recreation of their elegant restaurant in Paris) on North La Cienega Boulevard in 1977, the restaurant was the ultimate in sophisticated French fine dining. Now just short of its 30-year anniversary, this sole survivor of a one-time thriving trend will bid L.A. adieu with a final, festive New Year’s Eve celebration. Distinguished L’Orangerie alumni include Jean Francois Meteigner, who departed in 1994 to open La Cachette in Century City, and, more recently, Christophe Eme who ventured out to establish the high-profile Ortolan.

A well-financed partnership headed by Nobu Matsuhisa will move into the L’Orangerie space. The new venture, called Nobu Matsuhisa, will replace the famed chef’s flagship restaurant, Matsuhisa, less than a mile south on the same street.

The curtain has gone up on a $200 million expansion of the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa that includes Leatherby’s Café Rouge operated by Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group, which is supervising all food, beverage, and catering for the entire facility. Splichal personally created the Cali-French wine country menu, and the exec chef is Greg Stillman, most recently in charge of the now shuttered Pinot Blanc in St. Helena.

After four years of planning and development, the upscale Blue Coral Seafood & Spirits finally started reeling them in last month in Newport Beach’s Fashion Island. Restaurateurs Bill Allen and Paul Fleming, who created the successful Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Bar next door in 1998, spawned the striking 260-seat prototype with the financial backing of OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc.Michael Doctulero (ex-Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar) is chef/partner and Edna Morris, the former head of the James Beard Foundation, is president. A second restaurant is already under construction in La Jolla.

The restaurant scene in Glendale has been shaken up with the debut of Minx Restaurant & Lounge in the Verdugo foothills. Chef Joseph Antonishek (formerly of O-Bar and Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills) is the menu-maker. The international menu includes a fusion robata section with tastes from Korea, Thailand, and India.

After several months of tweaking the small plates concept at Meson G in Hollywood, Tim and Liza Goodell and their Domaine Restaurants decided to close the restaurant for some retooling. It has now opened as the latest outpost of their contemporary Asian eatery, Red Pearl Kitchen, which was established in Huntington Beach in 2002 and has another location in San Diego. Dim sum, skewers, wok-fried items, and hot pots are presided over by Ped Phommaong (ex-Reata), a native of Thailand. In other Domaine Restaurants news, late last month the Goodells unexpectedly closed Troquet, the stylish French bistro they established in 1997 in South Coast Plaza.

Jason Travi, the former chef de cuisine at Gino Angelini’s La Terza Restaurant, is now at BottleRock, a small plates cafe, wine bar, and retail wine shop uncorked earlier this month in downtown Culver City. Travi’s menu includes bar snacks (foie gras “Fig Newton” with almonds and mint), salads, panini, artisinal cheeses, and salumi from Paul Bertolli (ex-Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant). There is a changing, international selection of twenty wines by the glass, and any bottle in the extensive store inventory can be opened with a purchase of two glasses.

Alessandro Serni is now stirring the saffron risotto at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula Valley wine country. Serni was most recently with the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and before that he oversaw a number of outlets at the Four Seasons Aviara Resort in San Diego. South Coast winemaker Jon McPherson is working with Serni on the food and wine pairings and the menus have shifted from a taste of aloha to wine-friendly Mediterranean cuisine. Opening chef Dan Saito will oversee the South Coast Winery Cafe in Costa Mesa, now under construction.

Opus Restaurant (which opened last year as Opus Bar & Grill in the faithfully restored art deco Wiltern Theater Building) is a tweaked version of its former self after some opening glitches and three chefs who have come and gone. Joseph Centeno (ex-Meson G and Aubergine) now brings stability to the kitchen with a new menu that balances modern pasta dishes with fish and meat selections. There is also a distinctive bar menu featuring boldly flavored finger foods.

When the historic Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach was expanded and rebuilt on a lavish $65 million budget in 2003, the owners recruited Josef Lageder from the La Costa Resort & Spa to oversee the enviable state-of-the-art kitchens. The resort has now officially added Yvon Goetz, a native of Strasbourg, France, to the culinary brigade as executive sous-chef. Goetz is best known locally for his ten years as chef de cuisine of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Veteran French chef Frederic Castan has returned to Orange County after departing in 2002 to open the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. Castan brings a touch of his native Provence to the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach. He oversees Motif, Club 19, Monarch Bay Club, Crust, and the Pool Bar & Grill. Also on the property is Stonehill Tavern, the exclusive domain of chef/restaurateur Michael Mina.

After five years there is a new top toque in the kitchen at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Orange County native Robert W. Wilson returns to the Southland after checking out as exec chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn. Wilson has cooked at company properties across the country since 1997.



Chef Michael Brewer, who cooked at Brennan’s for several years, has launched Jackson in the space formerly occupied by Sugar Magnolia, which had closed prior to Katrina.

Speaking of Brennan’s, the famed eatery has reopened amid much fanfare with a refurbished dining room. Now at the helm is executive chef Lazone Randolph, who has been with the Royal Street restaurant for 40 years. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, Randolph cooked over Sterno burners to help feed police officers while overseeing the restaurant's reconstruction.

The venerable Mosca’s, severely damaged during Katrina, has reopened with a new dining room. The menu, still featuring perennial favorites like oysters Mosca, remains as it has for the past 60 years.

Civello on Magazine Street has opened to rave reviews for its fresh approach to Italian cuisine and its use of local seafood. Opera-singing waitstaff keep the atmosphere lively.

Seven on Fulton in the Warehouse District is the newest pride and joy of Vicky Bayley, who previously ran Artesia as well as Mike’s on the Avenue.

A fond adieu: The Bistro at Maison Deville has officially closed after 20 years. During its run, it served as the stage for several chefs who went on to wider fame, including Susan Spicer of Bayona and the late John Neal who launched Peristyle.

The City Club has closed, but metro area favorite Zea Rotisserie and Grill is now comfortably ensconced in that prime St. Charles Avenue location.

Comings and goings: Though Galatoire's reopened in January, this bastion of New Orleans cuisine continues to undergo changes. Executive chef Ross Eirich, who had been at the helm for the past four years, has left to help his father open the Cypress Cove Grill in Venice, Louisiana, and to run Nick & Nate’s, a catering operation. Eirich will be replaced by Brian Landry, who previously worked at Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge.

One of the first big post-Katrina restaurant world changes was the departure of chef Jonathan Wright from the New Orleans Grill in the Windsor Court Hotel. His replacement is Michael Collins, who hails from California and whose track record includes stints at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui and West Virginia's Greenbrier. A new menu is still in the formative stages.



Reborn again: Summer brought us the third incarnation of Le Cirque, housed in Bloomberg Tower and designed by Adam Tihany, who reprises the restaurant’s circus theme. Chef Pierre Schaedelin has returned to preside over a menu of modern and classic dishes.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse opened a second branch in Tribeca, minus the gorgeous Guastavino ceiling of their Park Avenue location.

Another taste: The Tasting Room’s chef Colin Alevras and his wife and business partner, Renée, recently relocated their popular eatery, known for its highly seasonal American menu, into somewhat bigger quarters in Nolita. The original location will become the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café.

On a roll: For a satisfying street snack, head to Roll and Dough in the West Village for specialty bing, a round, dense pastry with savory or sweet Asian fillings rolled in sesame seeds.

S’Mac is short for Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese and specializes in its namesake. The bright East Village shop offers the gooey comfort food in two pasta shapes and three sizes, and with enough custom flavor add-ins, cheese varieties, and combinations to keep the crowds coming back.

Knife + Fork is Damien Bressel’s ambitious East Village eatery. The Irish chef serves highbrow food (think seared quail with pickled chanterelles, morels, and truffle-cauliflower purée) at moderate prices. Bressel also offers a six-course chef’s tasting menu.

Dinner and takeout are now made easy at chef Bill Valentine’s Really Cool Foods. This Upper East Side store offers delicious takeout options as well as meal components and recipe cards for those short on time but long on good cooking intentions. Also on the menu: organic food for babies and pets.

I Trulli owner Nicola Marzovilla has teamed up with the owners of Moss, a contemporary furnishings store in SoHo, to open the Centovini, an Italian wine bar and restaurant located near the shop. Patti Jackson (ex-Le Madri and Alto) presides over the stove.

Splitting up: Danny Abrams and Jimmy Bradley have parted ways and divvied up their restaurant real estate. The Mermaid Inn is now Danny’s, while the Red Cat and the Harrison go to Jimmy.

Witchy ways: Creative sandwiches and sandwich cookies can now be had at the new East Village outpost of Tom Colicchio’s growing ‘Wichcraft empire.

Bridging the generation gap: Dressler, a new upscale restaurant in Williamsburg, has shown enough grace and style to attract exacting parents and their hipster offspring. Co-chefs Polo Dobkin and Cal Elliott (ex-Gramercy Tavern) are turning out sophisticated, modern food that is worth the trip across the river.

Brouwers of Stone Street in the Financial District evokes old New York with a traditional menu and a retro-chic feel. Chef Michael Sullivan cut his teeth as sous-chef at Chanterelle and later as chef at Le Zinc, both in Tribeca.

It’s time for dim sum: The former Time Café in Nolita has been reborn as Chinatown Brasserie. The mammoth duplex, with an appropriately lacquered look, offers a staggering array of dim sum options as well as inventive Chinese dishes by chef Tyson Wong Ophaso and dim sum chef Joe Ng.

Comings and goings: This summer, Josh DeChellis left his chef post at Jovia on the Upper East Side. His replacement is Eben Copple, formerly of Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto. In the meantime, DeChellis remains the consulting chef of Sumile in the West Village.

Patricia Williams recently found a new home at District in Midtown’s Muse Hotel. The peripatetic chef has worked in many New York restaurants, most recently at the now-shuttered Morell’s Wine Bar & Cafe in the Flatiron district.

John Schenk (formerly of Zoë, Monkey Bar, Clementine, and Nectar at the Bellagio) returns to NYC to take over at Strip House in the West Village. He will also be the corporate chef for other Strip House locations throughout the U.S.

Jim Lahey, the extraordinary baker behind Sullivan Street Bakery, recently sold the original SoHo location to his former partner, Monica Von Thun Calderón, who has renamed it Grandaisy Bakery. Lahey retains the Sullivan Street name, the bakery’s Midtown location, and the wholesale business.

Trestle on Tenth in Chelsea is a new European bistro from chef Ralf Kuettel, who worked at Zoë, Union Square Cafe, and the late Cena before striking out on his own. The diminutive spot will features a menu influenced by the chef’s Swiss heritage.

Closed for renovations: The Biltmore Room in Chelsea closed this summer for a makeover, though the bar and lounge remained open. Picholine on the Upper West Side has been undergoing a much-needed facelift, and is scheduled to reopen this month.

More closings: Scott Campbell shuttered his @SQC on the Upper West Side. The theater district’s Bistro du Vent also closed, making it the only nonstarter in the Batali/Bastianich empire.

Smells good to us: Stinky Bklyn is the appropriately named cheese and specialty food shop in Carroll Gardens. Owners Patrick Watson and Michele Pravda also own the charming Smith & Vine wine shop across the street.

Chocolate by the Bald Man opened in August in Union Square. The two-story cafe, shop, and fantasyland is dedicated to the pursuit of chocolate in all its many forms. It’s the vision of Israeli-born, French-trained pastry chef Max Brenner, who has opened several locations around the world. A second New York store is due in September.

Gerry Hayden (ex-Aureole) and Claudia Fleming (ex-Gramercy Tavern) opened North Fork Table & Inn this summer in the former Coeur des Vignes space in Southold, Long Island. The dynamic couple’s refined American food is a welcome addition to North Fork wine country.



My Brick Oven, in the former Franklin Coal Company complex, integrates the site’s existing mine shafts and fan tunnels with its hand-built pizza ovens to turn out chef Michel Sauret’s wood-fired pizzas and paninis. Mike Hren and Gary Matson own the shop.

Anthony and Penny Folino, owners of iconic Tom’s Diner, have opened Folino’s Ristorante and Folino’s Tavern in a historic building on the South Side. Anthony’s mother makes the meatballs.

Restaurateur Greg Caliguiri and his partners combined two of their earlier concepts—Walnut Grill and Shady Grove—to open Walnut Grove in O’Hara Township. The group plans to use the mid-priced contemporary American menu as a prototype for additional units.

Veteran chef/restaurateur John Vennare has hung up his toque, closing Caffe Giovanni in the South Hills. Josephine De Francis and Richard Fuchs have since opened Bistro 19 in the space. Jessica Gibson (ex-The Carlton) is executive chef.

Marc and Christina Alfano opened Alfano’sat the Quail, 25 miles south of Pittsburgh in Washington County. The restaurant serves market-based American and European cuisine in a Greek Revival brick house.

Lisa and Glen Hawley closed their outpost of Monterey Bay Fish Grotto atop the Jonnet Building and reopened the eatery in the Monroeville Mall. The seafood-focused menu echoes that of its sibling flagship on Mt. Washington. David Indorato is chef de cuisine.

Aaron Siebzener and Michael Kohanbash have opened Susheli, a Kosher eatery offering sushi and Italian foods, in Squirrel Hill.

Commercial roofing magnate Ed Dunlap continues to augment his restaurant empire, Pittsburgh Fine Dining, Inc. He opened Jake’s Beef & B-B-Que in the Galleria in Mt. Lebanon in July, and his catering company, LeMont Contract Dining, took over all food and beverage functions at Churchill Valley Country Club that same month. He then opened Roscoe’s, a casual comfort food concept, in One Oxford Centre and acquired another landmark restaurant, Tambellini’s Route 51, in Bon Air. Dunlap and his wife, Anna, also own LeMont on Mt. Washington, two Cafe Euros (one downtown, one in the South Hills), and two kiosks in the popular new Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

Restaurateur Clint Pohl, owner of Halo on the South Side, bought and totally renovated Redfin Blues, a restaurant on the Allegheny River at Washington’s Landing. Chef Chet Garland steers the kitchens at Redfin, Halo, and Switch, another Pohl-and-partners concept on the South Side.

Veteran caterer Michael Lench opened UUBU6 (oo-boo-six) on the South Side Slopes, offering prime meat, fresh fish, and specialty products. The unusual name comes from the building’s historical function as a social club for the Working Man’s Beneficial Union (WBU#6). The chef de cuisine is Thomas Reid, who relocated from Boston.



Sami Ladeki of Ladeki Restaurant Group sold Fresh in La Jolla and Blackhorse Grille in Del Mar this summer to concentrate on his Sammy's Woodfired Pizza concept and La Jolla's Roppongi. Arturo Kassel (ex- Kittichai and Blue Water Grill in NYC) now owns Fresh, and Carl Schroeder (formerly of Arterra at the Del Mar Marriott) bought the Blackhorse Grille space and renamed the restaurant Market.

Back at Arterra, Brian Pekaricik has been promoted from sous-chef to chef, while Bradley Ogden maintains his role as consulting chef.

Jesse Paul has resigned from his post as executive chef at Star of the Sea and is investigating new opportunities. The restaurant is closed temporarily and will reopen as Ghio's Seafood & Steaks.

The new luxury property Grande Del Mar has named William Bradley as executive chef of their free standing restaurant, Addison. Bradley comes from Vu in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Roy's will be debuting another San Diego location, this time in the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. Roy's will replace the Yacht Club restaurant.

Bondi, an authentic Australian pub and eatery has chosen downtown's Gaslamp quarter for its foray into the United States. Chef Christopher Behre previously worked for Australia's acclaimed Tetsuya Wakuda.

Chef Carlton Greenawalt has put 150 Grand in Escondido up for sale. The restaurant received national attention when Riko Bartolome, now of Asia-Vous, was in the kitchen.

Michael Stebner will close his Hillcrest restaurant, Region, the end of October. He is currently looking for a North County location. Celedon, another Hillcrest restaurant, will take over the lease. Plans are for a major remodel before opening.

Vida Gourmet has opened on Fay Avenue in La Jolla. Executive chef Winston Edwards is cooking up healthy California fusion cuisine.

The US Grant Hotel has been remodeled and a new chef, Andreas Nieto (St. Regis in Century City), is at the helm of Grant Grill.

At Jack's La Jolla, sommelier Jerome Astolfi and general manager Tom Mastricola have moved on. Replacements have not yet been named.



Thomas Keller has opened Ad Hoc in Yountville in the former Wine Garden space he purchased last April. Keller and chef Jeff Cerciello are serving a four-course, fixed-price menu for around $45, featuring the kind of comfort food they grew up with, like fried chicken and beef stroganoff, along with salads from the nearby French Laundry garden. Conceived as a temporary project, Ad Hoc is expected to be open only through winter 2006.

Steven Rosenthal has officially left the Wolfgang Puck–owned Postrio after 12 years, leaving brother MitchellRosenthal to run the kitchen. The brothers, who also own the successful Town Hall with partner Doug Washington, will be opening a new restaurant, Salt House, with Washington in October.

Chris Yeo has closed the original Straits Cafe on Geary Boulevard and reopened it as Spanish Fly. Yeo will be opening a newer, more modern Straits at the Westfield Centre later this month.

C&L Steakhouse has closed and will move to a new location. The lease has yet to be signed, but we can tell you that the new place will take a French-American approach to steak and seafood and will feature a cooking fireplace.

Cindy Pawlcyn has opened Go Fish Grill in St. Helena in the old Pinot Blanc space, partnering with longtime Pinot Blanc chef Sean Knight and Hana chef-owner Ken Tominaga, who runs the sushi bar. Andrew Budnyj, formerly of Michael Mina's Arcadia in San Jose, will be executive chef. The focus is on California-style seafood preparations.

Promotion group Vintage 415 and restaurant partners Sam Josi, Stryker Scales, and Eric Passetti—who run the popular Mamacita—plans to turn the old Yoshida-Ya spot into an izakaya, a Japanese-style bar/restaurant. Josi will split his time between the kitchens at Mamacita and the new spot, while Scales and Passetti will man the front of the house. If all goes well, the 100-seat-plus place will open by November.

Yoshi’s, the famous Oakland jazz and sushi club, will open a second location at the new Fillmore Heritage Center. Shotaro Kamio (ex-Ozumo) is the new executive chef for both outposts. The new menu will feature modern twists on Japanese food and an extensive sushi menu.

Also at the Fillmore Heritage Center, husband-and-wife team Monetta White and David Lawrence (ex-Carnelian Room) will open Blue Mirror, the couple’s first restaurant together. The menu will be French-Southern (think freshwater shrimp hush puppies and skillet-fried chicken with truffled mashed potatoes).

And just across the street, Joseph Manzare of Globe, Zuppa, and Tres Agave fame is partnering with local minister Gary Banks and political consultant Keith Jackson to open Fillmo’ Betta Restaurant and Lounge, which will offer a California take on Southern food,next spring.

Laurent Katgely of Chez Spencer is next in line to open a place in the burgeoning Presidio area with partner Antoine Alliaume (Curbside Cafe and Curbside Too). La Terrace, a small French place, will open in October with a wood-burning oven, full bar, and three meals a day.

Joe DiMaggio’s opened in the old Fior d’Italia spot in North Beach in July. The menu is American steakhouse, with a greatest hits list of menu favorites like carpaccio, Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, and a choice of 20 different martinis.

Neighborhood fixture Prego in Cow Hollow will become a French brasserie now that Perry Butler (Perry’s) has teamed up with the Bacchus Management Group. No name yet, architect Anthony Fish of Arcanum Architecture is designing. The doors should open in June 2007.

Randy Lewis is the new chef at Mecca, the eatery that started the supper club resurgence. He replaces Sergio Santiago, who in turn replaced Stephen Barber. Lewis came from Indigo in New Orleans and Popina in Santa Rosa. The menu offers, charcuterie, dishes from the wood-burning oven, and a revolving selection of offerings like branzino with farro, and baby red abalone with honeydew and chiles.

Perhaps the Bay Area is just not ready for sous vide lamb, licorice-lacquered frogs’ legs, and bacon ice cream. Winterland closed in July, another in a line of idiosyncratic restaurants (like Eric Torralba's Antidote in Sausalito) that couldn’t find a following.

Poleng Lounge rolled out its menu last month in the former Storyville/1751 Social Club space near USF, transforming the front area into a 40-seat restaurant and tea lounge serving Asian street food. Small plates include Balinese beef and pork satay, tea-infused Poleng curry, and shrimp with sake and tea liqueur from chef Tim Luym (formerly of Charles Nob Hill and Fifth Floor).

Farmer Brown opened on the cusp of downtown and the Tenderloin, bringing a neo-soul flair to the scene. Chef/owner Jay Foster is serving mostly organic and sustainable fare, with much of the produce coming through Mo' Better Food, an organization that connects restaurants with Northern California African American farmers. Dishes include crab imperial soufflés and pork chops over mashed sweet potatoes and plantains. Save room for the boozy bourbon pecan pie.

South of Market got a new, upscale Vietnamese restaurant when Bong Su opened in the old Max’s Diner space. Owners Anne Le and Tammy Huyhn also own Tamarine in Palo Alto, and the food follows a similar vein of contemporary preparations like five-spice duck, mango, and cucumber wrapped in mustard leaf.

Cozmo’s Corner Grill in the Marina closed down and is reopening in September as Circa. Chef Erik Hopfinger, who won praise at Tablespoon, will create a lounge-like family-style menu with upscale comfort food, meaning Dungeness crab tater tots and PB&J foie gras.

Watergate and Watercress have reopened in new guises. Watergate is now Sparrow, with Terry Lynch at the stoves cooking French-Asian food, while Watercress has turned into Senses, a 65-seat French restaurant by Teo Kridech (who also owns Bistro Annex a few doors down), his wife, Melanie, and Bruno Dennis.

Up north in San Anselmo, Saman Javid takes over as executive chef at Fork. Javid was most recently sous-chef at Scott Howard, the namesake restaurant of one of Fork’s former chefs, and has also worked at Frisson, Moose's, and MC2.

The folks from Nectar Wine Lounge are opening a second location in Burlingame. The space will be double the size of the original, but the small plates wine-pairing menu will largely stay the same.

Four-star La Folie chef Roland Passot left his native French cooking behind to open the American-themed Tanglewood in San Jose in August. Left Bank partner Ed Levine has joined him along with Quentin Topping, who will be executive chef. The restaurant’s goal is to buy from farmers, ranchers, and fisheries that use sustainable practices.

In Half Moon Bay, Jose Ugalde and wife Liam Durkee opened the casual Chez Shea in the old Two Fools Cafe spot. The lunch menu includes sandwiches, soups, and salads, and for dinner the menu expands into a handful of full meals, like braised short ribs and chicken couscous.

The Napa restaurant formerly known as Budo has reopened as Cuvee Napa, serving comforting American dishes like Cabernet-braised short ribs, clams with chorizo, and fruit crisps. Owner Roger Roessler hired chef Octavio Barrera of Bistro Don Giovanni.



O’Asian restaurant opened in the financial district in the space that housed Ruth’s Chris Steak House for 15 years. Executive head chef Wai King Huen, a native of Hong Kong, brings over 30 years experience to this high-end restaurant. The menu features an abundant variety of dim sum and entrée selections plus exotic teas from China. Janet Lau is managing partner.

Danielle Philippa of Latin eateries Tango and Bandelone is closing both restaurants and leaving Seattle to be on the road with her band.

Drey’s, a neighborhood bistro and pub, opened in Madrona in the space that formally housed Sapphire. Owners Rick Fox and Rob Smith hired chef Steven Hazell (formerly of Queen Anne’s Q and Fremont’s Triangle Lounge) to develop the menu of regional dishes and European offerings. Chris Hartfield (ex-Bandelone) is head chef.

Umi, a premier sake house with a sophisticated approach to the Japanese izakaya concept, opened over the summer in the popular Belltown district. Executive chef is Billy Beach, who hails from the shores of Okinawa. Beach previously held positions at I Love Sushi and Wasabi Bistro.

The third outpost of Purple Cafe & Wine Bar has opened downtown in the space that occupied the University Book Store. Alex Nemeth, former exec chef at the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland, is heading the kitchen. Christene Larsen is thewine director and Dan Kezner moved from Kirkland to be general manager.

Chef/owner Scott Simpson (Blue Onion Bistro, 22 Fountains) closed his Capitol Hill district restaurant, Fork, due to ill health. Moving on are his chefs, Jared Stoneberg and Tyler Moritz, who is the new sous-chef at Union. Pastry chef Sue McCown (ex-Earth & Ocean) is taking over the space. Simpson is hoping to return some day to the restaurant scene.

Chef Maria Hines has left the W Hotel to open her own restaurant, Tilth, later this month in the Wallingford district in the space that previously housed Mandalay Cafe. It will be the second certified organic restaurant in the area.

Saint Germain, a tiny French cafe and bar, has opened in Madison Valley specializing in tartines, small open faced sandwiches. Owner Jean-Michel Omnes named it after his favorite Paris quarter.

Bis on Main is closed until early October for remodeling. Owner Joe Vilardi is incorporating the vacant space next door to expand the restaurant’s small quarters.

Michael Malone, owner of the historic Sorrento Hotel, has named Michael Rawson new managing director of their newly formed management company. Their first venture is Cafe Palma, featuring a la fresco dining and an inspired Italian bistro menu from executive chef Brian Scheehser. Rawson previously managed eight hotels for developer Andre Balazs, including Chateau Marmont in Beverly Hills and NYC’s Mercer Hotel.

Cameron Kee has opened the upscale Six Tables in downtown Kirkland with a prix fixe menu and just one seating per night at each of the (you guessed it) six tables.

Mercer Island recently welcomed the opening of Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro, a Sugar Mountain Guest Services Venture. Company head Kurt Dammeier oversees the downtown-style bistro that focuses on food with no additives. Jacky Lo is chef.

Bob Colegrove is now the food buyer for the Art Institute of Seattle after closing his restaurant, Barbacoa, on Queen Anne for financial reasons. The space was taken over by Vuong and Tricia Loc, who have renamed it Portage. Colegrove’s previous business partner, chef John Calderon, is now managing the dining room at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.

Zephyr Grill & Bar, the sister concept to Icon Grill in Seattle, opened at Kent Station. Randy Tel is the owner and operator; the executive chef is Nick Musser.

Real estate mogul Joseph Brazen opened 520 Bar & Grill in old Bellevue.



At the interestingly named El Gaucho restaurant in Nishi-Azabu, chefs Yamaguchi-san and Komatsu-san are serving modern Japanese food with Italian and French influences (think lightly charred bonito with a garlic cream mousse). The top floor features something unusual for Tokyo: rooftop dining.

Hot spot: An outpost of Korean nabe (a.k.a. hot pot) restaurant in Pusan called Doragon no Tsubo opened in Nakameguro in June. The menu features three kinds of nabe not commonly found in other places: chogechige, a light broth made of beef bones; budechige, a hot pot of sausage, Spam, and tripe/intestines; and kamujatan, with big spareribs on the bone.

Maejiru Harenohi opened in June in Nakameguro, fueling the Japanese craze for collagen. The popular item on the menu is the beauty nabe, which is a chicken broth hot pot to which collagen is added along with Napa cabbage, mizuna, tofu, leeks, and chicken.

French restaurant Flower opened in July in Roppongi, meeting the growing demand for all things organic.

The labyrinthine restaurant Gen, specializing in Matsuzaka-gyu (beef similar in rank to Kobe), opened in August on the 10th floor of the new Kentos Building, also in Roppongi.

Bulgarian restaurant Yoshoku Burugaria Dainingu Sofia (or Sofia for short) opened on one of the basement levels of the Caretta Shiodome skyscraper near the Shimbashi area.

The Art of Cooking: Hiramatsu, Inc., the same company that owns namesake restaurants in Tokyo and Paris, will run the restaurant concessions in the new National Art Center housed in the building designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa. Three of the concessions will be cafes, while the fourth, located on the third floor overlooking the atrium and garden, will be called Brasserie Paul Bocuse Musée and will feature the Lyonnaise cooking of the great French master. The restaurant is slated to open January 2007.



Francesco Ricchi has teamed with Enzo Febbraro, former executive chef at Filomena, to open D’Acqua, a seafood-only restaurant in Penn Quarter where Signatures used to be.

Also in Penn Quarter is PS 7’s, the contemporary American vision of executive chef/owner Peter Smith, who most recently was exec chef of Vidalia for 11 years. Highlights of the seven-section menu include smoked oxtail consommé with braised baby leeks, xo gouda, and oxtail dumplings. The pastry chef is Naomi Gallego.

Fans of New York’s legendary Italian restaurant Il Mulino will welcome D.C.’s own version in November or December. Brothers and chefs Fernando and Gino Masci founded the restaurant more than 20 years ago, and now have Jerry Katsof and Brian Galligan to expand the great Italian concept. This will be the eighth outpost.

Restaurateur Joe Giannino has assembled quite a team to open Famoso in MaxMara at the Collection at Chevy Chase this October. Famoso will offer fine dining while M Cafe will offer lighter Italian fare on the ground level. Chef Gabriele Pagnelli from Emilia Romagna in Italy has already wowed North American fans in Toronto at his restaurant Romagna Mia. The pastry chef is Susanna Ortega, formerly of Leopold’s in Georgetown.

Bar Pilar has been reinvented into a wine bar, serving Italian-inspired small plates. Named for Ernest Hemingway’s famed boat, Bar Pilar still maintains its neighborhood feel and nautical design. Executive chef Barton Seaver, who also oversees the kitchen of sister restaurant Cafe Saint-Ex, is at the helm with a team that includes chef de cuisine Joshua Whigham, formerly of Cafe Atlantico.

Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper, named after chefs Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong’s son, Eamonn, has opened in Old Town, Alexandria. The Armstrongs, who also own nearby Restaurant Eve, along with partner/sommelier Todd Thrasher, have recreated an authentic Irish chipper experience using artisanal methods and all-natural ingredients. Upstairs at Eamonn’s is PX, a speakeasy/social club that features the handy work of mixologist Todd Thrasher, who uses only freshly squeezed juices and his homemade creation of tonic and bitters in his cocktails.

It’s going to be a hot winter in suburban Lansdowne. Boston-based Not Your Average Joe’s plans its first outpost outside of the Boston metro area this winter in the new Lansdowne Town Center in Leesburg.

Rick Allison and Scott Wills, both alumni of Great American Restaurants, are opening the Dock, also in the Lansdowne Town Center.

Clyde’s Restaurant Group plans to open its 14th restaurant, Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in the Broadlands. In the early 1980s, Clyde’s purchased a series of heavy, antique timber structures that had been destined for the wrecking ball. Now, they will be tastefully restored in the spirit of an American inn in time for a December opening.




Olivier de Saint Martin, owner/chef of Caribou Café, is buying longtime favorite La Bohème and converting it into a Parisian cafe, complete with a zinc bar. The menu will change to a small plate format and Saint Martin is planning to make his new oeuvre a real neighborhood spot.

Daniel Stern is planning a new location to augment his Queen Village eatery Gayle. His new restaurant will be in the lobby of the Circa Centre.

Mark Vetri is also planning a second venture. He will expand his holdings from his 35-seat Vetri to a larger, less formal eatery with a wood-burning oven.

Al Paris, formerly of the jazz/food venue Zanzibar Blue, has opened Mantra, a charming, funky restaurant with a wildly eclectic menu.

Charlotte, NC

Frank Scibelli has hired Jessica Garon (Emeril’s Atlanta Restaurant) as the pastry chef for his three restaurants, Mama Ricotta’s and two Cantina 1511 locations.

Louisville, KY

Chef Michael Paley is now cooking lunch at Proof on Main.