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   October 2006


Fans of Flour, a 20-seat sandwich hot spot in the South End, will soon have another option when their favorite haunt is full. Owner Joanne Chang is opening a second location in Fort Point Channel this December. The new venue will have a whopping 30 seats.

Back Bay ’s Brazilian-French Bomboa has been acquired by next door neighbors Greg Den Herder and Igor Blatnik, co-owners of 33. Current Bomboa chef Freddy Berilla will stay in place for now, but 33 chef Anthony Dawodu will oversee both places while the new owners rethink the concept.

Good news for fans of French food and chef Tim Partridge: You can find them both at Bouchee, the new Newbury Street bistro opened by the Back Bay Restaurant Group in the former DuBarry spot. Partridge broke hearts last winter when he closed his beloved Perdix in the South End, but now he’s back and serving up escargot and moules frites in style.

Charlestown ’s Meze Estiatorio is now Copia. Chef/co-owner Paul Delios has left and the restaurant has been taken over by Anthony Caturano and David Petrilli of the North End’s Prezza. The 200-seat eatery has expanded its Greek menu and is now serving pan-Mediterranean cuisine.

As part of a major renovation, Downtown’s Millennium Boston Hotel will be closing its Seasons restaurant sometime after New Year’s and converting it into a private dining space.



Former Rising Star Mohammad Islam is leaving LA to open Aigredeux in Chicago in December 2006. The restaurant, named after the sweet-sour character of his cooking, will focus on local, sustainable agriculture. Islam will continue to act as consulting chef for Chateau Marmont and the recently opened Bar Marmont in Los Angeles.

Aria in the East Loop has raised the bar—by opening one. This past summer, the three-year-old upscale eatery added a bar inspired by Japanese noodle houses. In addition to beer and wine, the new space offers sushi prepared by sushi chef Byung Kyu Park, who flavors his own soy sauce to serve with fish flown in from Japan.

After a stint as executive chef at Charlie’s Steak and Lobster House in Orlando, Florida, chef Jonathan Trubow has brought his brand of fine dining to Chief O’Neill’s Pub and Restaurant on the northwest side.

Matt Kelley, a former NASCAR racer turned pastry chef, has joined the culinary team at Bin 36, where he’s created a new seasonal pastry menu. Kelley was most recently with the Four Seasons Hotel.



Over the rainbow: After 29 years, the Rainbow Lodge is moving to the old La Tour d’Argent space on Ella Boulevard. Owner Donnette Hansen reports that the new property is a converted log cabin with plenty of seating and a great view. The restaurant will open for private parties on November 1 and for lunch and dinner service the following month.

Randy Rucker, chef/owner of Laidback Manor, announced in late August that he and his partner/mother, Bootsie, are selling their downtown restaurant and scouting for a new location.

In August Wendy Jones sold her two Mission Burritos to Mexican Restaurants Inc., which owns Casa Ole, Monterey’s Tex Mex Cafe, and several other Tex-Mex chains. No word on what’s next for Jones.

The buzz-generating Hotel ZaZa, set to open around December 1 in the old Warwick location in the Museum District, has announced that Bradley Manchester (ex-Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas and Austin’s Hudson’s on the Bend and Four Seasons Hotel) will run Monarch, the hotel’s signature restaurant and lounge. His menu will include steaks and lighter Mediterranean fare as well as Saturday brunch.

Jerry Lasco and Jonathan Horowitz, co-owners of the Tasting Room Wine Cafe, have several entrepreneurial irons in the fire. In addition to their third Tasting Room, they’re launching Max’s Wine Dive, a sexy, laidback diner featuring comfort food and wine scheduled to open in mid-November. Expect the menu to include Kobe beef burgers, Southern fried chicken, and pan-fried Texas redfish along with 150 wines available by the glass.

Houston-based Hospitality USA Management Group celebrated the August opening of its newest concept—Watson’s House of Ales. This marks the 16th location overall for the company, whose empire includes six Baker St. Pub & Grills and nine Sherlock’s Pubs. The British-themed pub conjures the lab of Sherlock’s Dr. Watson with cedar walls, stained glass windows, and a collection of antique medicine bottles, as well as a chandelier created from 423 Harp Lager bottles.

Comings and goings: Los Andes in Greenway Plaza has closed and Aromas Grille has taken over the space. The menu remains largely focused on pan-Latin food. It’s open for lunch on weekdays and for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Twisted Fork closed its doors in July and is reopening this month as Monsoon Wok & Lounge.

Dimassi’s, which serves Middle Eastern cuisine, has moved into the former Kingfish Market space on the Katy Freeway.

Chef Aldo Elsharif, who recently took over the kitchen at Rouge, has added a steakhouse option to his French menu. Not in the mood for coq au vin? Elsharif will now offer rib-eyes, T-bones, and filets, as well as pork chops and steak tartare.

The Pallotta Group will be opening a third location of Black Walnut Cafe in Sugar Land this fall. Current locations are in the Woodlands and Rice Village.

Kerrick and Adrienne Henny announced the opening of their second Coozan’s Hot Wings and Bayou Cafe in the North Oaks Shopping Center.

Jason Chaney has been named head chef of Skyline Bar and Grill at the Hilton Americas. The Houston native and CIA honors grad has worked at New Orleans’s Commander’s Palace and the Houstonian Hotel.

Speaking of the Hilton, chef Joel St. John has been promoted to general manager and chef at the hotel’s steakhouse, Spencer’s.

Jeffrey Armstrong, the much-lauded executive chef at 17 Restaurant in the Alden Hotel, was recently named executive chef at Keswick Hall in Charlottesville.



The once raucous Dublin’s Irish Whiskey Pub on the Sunset Strip has been transformed into the more elegant Sunset Beach. A casual space with small plates and daily specials serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch is downstairs, while upstairs the fine-dining, seafood-focused UV serves dinner only. Joseph Gillard (formerly of Mirabelle Restaurant and Nick & Steph’s Steakhouse) is the chef.

Smokin’ Jacks Kansas City Barbeque, a comfortable, 250-seat, down-home barbecue joint that just opened in Burbank, is the brainchild of restaurateur Bob Krauss (a.k.a. Smokin’ Jack), who spent years perfecting his seasoning rub, barbecue sauces, and other recipes before opening the much smaller prototype restaurant in Carpinteria (near Santa Barbara) in the summer of 2003.

The tiny hamlet of El Segundo wasn’t known as a dining destination until the under-the-radar arrival of Farm Stand in mid-summer. Second-generation restaurateur Sylvie Gabriel (her father, chef GuyGabriele, owns Cafe Pierre in Manhattan Beach and Zazou in Redondo Beach) opened the eatery with her husband, Alex (ex-Shamshiri Persian Cuisine Restaurants), who has created the playful “urban country” cuisine that has its roots in the home cooking of Italy, France, and Turkey.

When the landmark 1935 Griffith Observatory closed in early 2002 for a massive $93-million expansion and renovation, the complex’s menu offerings included only hot dogs to be enjoyed alfresco. With the observatory’s reopening next week, stargazers will be able to sup at the intriguingly named Cafe at theEnd of the Universe, managed by Wolfgang Puck Catering. The format is traditional grab-and-go, but all the salads, soups, sandwiches, and cookies will be prepared fresh on premises under the supervision of chef Alex Laborwit, who has moved over from WPC’s home base at the Hollywood and Highlandcomplex. Patio seating will provide breathtaking views of the famous Hollywood Sign on adjacent Mt. Hollywood and the Los Angeles basin looking west.

Music industry entrepreneur Sergio Dovarro has just debuted the ambitious J Restaurant& Lounge, a massive 25,000-square-foot space with an upscale, outdoor cigar lounge, a live music space, and multiple bars in the former Little J’s spot. Chef RyanMcKay (former sous-chef at L’Orangerie) has designed the contemporary Mediterranean-influenced menu being served at lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

The Pinnacle Restaurant at Falkner Winery is the newest destination restaurant in the Temecula Valley wine country. The menu, created by co-chefs E. Dennis van Rumund (ex-Lace Apron catering) and Cory Chung ( ex-California Centerfor the Arts in Escondido) is Mediterranean with American accents. The two-story restaurant building is located on a hilltop and offers sweeping vistas of the valley.

Saddle Peak Lodge in Malibu Canyon, which started life as a roadhouse and general store before a renovation transformed it into a fine-dining restaurant in the 1980s, has a new executive chef in charge of the game-focused menu—Steven Rojas, who was previously chef de cuisine at Patina at the Hollywood Bowl.

The energetic Dakota Weiss brought her own touch to the established Asian-themed Jer-Ne Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton,Marina del Rey, when she arrived as the restaurant’s first chef de cuisine late last year. Now she’s checked into the Art Deco Sunset TowerHotel on the Sunset Strip, where she will oversee the dinner–only Tower Bar as wellas the new, casualindoor/outdoor poolside eatery, Terrace, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a side order of a superb city view.

Mirabeau, a tiny French bistro in Monarch Bay Plaza in Orange County, has closed after three years. The instant cult favorite was the realization of a dream of chef/owners Katie Averill and David Pratt. Averill, who served as the pastry chef and had bought Pratt out toward the end of the restaurant’s run, will consult with local bakeries while she decides what’s next.



Post-Katrina, the French Quarter has rebounded with more restaurants than any other area in the city. Of note is Eat New Orleans, helmed by chef Jarred Zeringue, featuring a menu of casual New Orleans–style cuisine with a BYOB policy.

Another newcomer is Jazzy Tacos, a tiny eatery serving Central American dishes located in a picturesque alley between Royal and Chartres Street.

Local restaurateurs Crystal and Danny Stansbury, who had several operations in the funky Faubourg Marigny pre-Katrina, have opened Sidebar Cafe in the French Quarter. Though there’s a full menu, the crayfish boils and barbecue are proving to be the most popular offerings.

Giovanni Zedda, a native of Sardinia, has opened the Tiramisu Café, a tiny eatery with nine tables, on Chartres Street.

Moving up: The French Quarter’s Asian Cajun, which opened to rave reviews for chef Phillip Chan’s creative cooking (think fried rice with andouille sausage and crayfish), has moved Uptown.

Moving on: Saigon-born Minh Bui has closed his signature restaurant, Lemon Grass at the International House Hotel, in the CBD. Bui plans to reopen the restaurant in another location.

Semolina’s, owned by local chain Taste Buds, has a new look. Now called Semolina’s Italian Bistro, the offerings are a departure from the eatery’s previously multinational ethnic menu.

Turkish delight: Turkey native Fatma Aydin and her partners have launched three new eateries, including the casual Italian La Vita on Esplanade Avenue.

This little piggy: One of the most notable openings in town over the past several months has been Cochon, the brainchild of Stephen Stryjewski and Donald Link, chef/owner of the famed Herbsaint.

Chef Jonathan Wright is leaving the New Orleans Grill and will be succeeded by Michael Collins.



The James Beard Foundation mourns the passing of award-winning New York Times journalist R.W. Apple Jr. Apple, who covered the Vietnam War and 10 presidential elections, also wrote prolifically about food. He was a giant in our field, a former member of the JBF Restaurant Awards committee, and a dear friend.

All that glitters isn’t gold: Provocative chef Paul Liebrandt left Gilt at the New York Palace hotel at the end of summer. His replacement is JBF Award winner Christopher Lee, formerly of Striped Bass in Philadelphia. Lee’s offerings, which debuted earlier this month, include tuna Wellington with red wine­–foie gras sauce and a bar menu that features lobster sliders and truffled French fries.

Michael Anthony, the talented former chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, is now the new executive chef at Gramercy Tavern. He replaces Tom Colicchio, who left to focus on his growing Craft empire.

Kurt Gutenbrunner has ended his relationship with the Hotel on Rivington’s American-focused Thor to concentrate on his signature, much-lauded Austrian cuisine at Wallsé, Café Sabarsky, and Blaue Gans. Thor sous-chef Kevin Pomplun has moved into the top spot.

Cornelius Gallagher left Oceana in August to join the high-end catering and events firm Sonnier & Castle. He is replaced by Ben Pollinger, formerly chef de cuisine at Tabla.

Chef Sascha Lyon (ex-Pastis), who opened his eponymous eatery in the Meatpacking district to much fanfare earlier this year, has suddenly left. No word yet on his next move, but Sascha remains open as a bakery, bistro, and fine-dining emporium.

Tini is the aptly named new wine bar in the trendy but hard-to-reach Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn. Monica Byrne, who previously owned a wine bar in San Francisco, serves charcuterie and cheeses to complement her well-focused wine list, which includes organic vintages and a number of bottlings from female winemakers.

The owners of Basso Est on the Lower East Side have opened Basso 56 in Midtown, a sleek spot serving refined Italian fare.

Tony Luke’s, the Philadelphia classic know for its cheesesteaks and stellar sandwich of roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe, has reopened. It now has pub-like seating and a liquor license.

Richard Pelz has opened GoblinMarket in the Soho Cantina, serving modern American dishes like braised pork belly with Madeira, and crab and avocado salad with grapefruit.

We all scream for...yogurt? The impossibly trendy L.A.–based chainlet Pinkberry has just opened a New York outpost in the garment district and is drawing traffic-stopping lines. The menu of frozen yogurt and mix-ins is simple and, from what we hear, addictive.

City slickers: New Yorkers can now pony up to the Flatiron outpost of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, where chef Tim Love features items like camp bread with prairie butter. Love plans to commute between Manhattan and his original location in Fort Worth, Texas.

7 Square is the new restaurant in the Theater District’s Time Hotel. It replaces Océo but retains the previous restaurant’s executive chef, Shane McBride, who will oversee the new American menu and wine list.

Chef Eberhard Müller has left Bayard’s in the landmark India House in the financial district. The restaurant is now closed to public dining, but remains open exclusively for private events.

Sweet Melissa Pâtisserie, which already has shops in SoHo and Cobble Hill, just added a new location in Park Slope.

Also in Slope news, Little Dishes has been rechristened Little D Eatery.

Carroll Gardens’s tiny Petite Crevette is the brainchild of Neil Ganic, who has been on the scene for over a decade with other Brooklyn-based seafood haunts like La Bouillabaisse.

Encore: David Chang has a new hit on his hands. Momofuku Ssäm Bar is his follow-up to the wildly successful counter restaurant Momufuku Noodle Bar, both in the East Village. The sleek, dark wood eatery specializes in ssäm (a sort of Korean burrito). Expect the same top-shelf ingredients like Berkshire pork, whipped tofu, and white kimchi purée.

The folks behind Tribeca’s Dylan Prime steakhouse have opened Devin Tavern nearby. Christopher Dunn has moved over from Dylan Prime to branch out into regional American cooking with modern flair, as in his lobster bisque with corn soufflé. Chris Cipollone is the new chef at Dylan Prime.

Katy Sparks (ex-Quilty’s), who is working at Great Performances events and catering, has also designed the menu at Comix, a new comedy and supper club in Chelsea.



Many goodbyes…Michael Stebner and Allyson Colwell have closed Region. Rents in Hillcrest got too high, according to Stebner, who drove the local produce movement in San Diego. He and Colwell will relocate to Phoenix.

Tom Mastricola and Jerome Astolfi have left Jack's La Jolla. Mastricola has taken the management helm at Arterra in Carmel Valley and Astolfi, the former wine director, will head to the Bird Rock section of La Jolla as food and wine director of Delirios.

Longtime San Diego favorite Patrick Ponsaty has left his executive chef post at Scripps Ranch's Bastide. Ponsaty, who opened the restaurant, had a huge following for his simple bistro-style cuisine. He has not yet announced what’s next but plans to stay in San Diego.



“The Gastro”—the good eating area between the Mission and the Castro—will welcome the duplex restaurant Farina Focacciaand Cucina Italiana in mid-November. The chef, Paolo LiBoa from Genoa, will serve a blend of traditional Ligurian flavors in dishes like pasta with walnut sauce and, of course, focaccia with choices of toppings. The focacciaria/restaurant takes the place of Anna's Danish Cookies.

Sharon Ardiana of the Castro's Lime will open Angelina in the old Sunset Pizza spot in Glen Park. The menu will revolve mostly around thin Neapolitan pizzas, but will also offer antipasti and roasted meats. Save room for the homemade Italian ices.

Also in Glen Park, Ric Lopez and Mas Sake chef Gerardo Torres are opening a sushi restaurant that will serve creative takes on Japanese food. Lopez also owns the building nearby where former Clementine partner Laurent Legendre is primed to open P'tit Laurent, a small French bistro, in October.

Construction of the Napa Oxbow Market in downtown Napa has begun, and the list of tenants that will be in place by the Fall 2007 opening is quite impressive. Look forward to handmade charcuterie from Fatted Calf, Italian food at La Frasca (from Bistro Don Giovanni duo Donna Scala and Scott Warner), a new outpost of Taylor's Refresher, and the Oxbow Market Wine Merchant and Wine Bar from Bacar's Debbie Zachareas and company.

After twelve years, Hawthorne Lane owner David Gingrass has announced that he will be closing the successful fine-dining eatery at the end of the year and reopening it as the more casual Two in early 2007. The new place will serve simpler grilled and wood-fired entrées, homemade charcuterie, pizzas, and pastas at lower prices. Hawthorne executive chef Bridget Batson will remain in the kitchen.

Tom Colicchio has brought his popular NYC sandwich concept 'wichcraft to San Francisco. This is his first restaurant foray into the area.

Two fun new places have opened in the Mission District. At the charming Front Porch, Sarah Kirnon (formerly of Emmy's Spaghetti Shack) serves a menu tinged with Caribbean flavors. The other is Weird Fish, a cute fish-and-chips shop opened by the line-generators behind Boogaloos and St. Francis Fountain.

Perhaps we are seeing a change of tide in the small plates craze. Cortez, which explored and conquered the high seas of noshing, is switching to regular-size entrees.

Laura Cunningham, Thomas Keller's right hand in business and in life, has left the French Laundry and Keller's other restaurants. Cunningham, who as director of operations was instrumental in instituting the restaurants’ professional yet relaxed style of service, has not announced her next move.

On a similar note, CEO Rob Goldberg has left PlumpJack Group and will be joining the Mill Valley­–based Moana Hotel and Restaurant Group. Moana includes the Piatti restaurants Redd and Paragon.

Executive chef Robbie Lewis has left Jardiniere after four years at the stoves. No word yet as to where he is headed.

Will San Francisco ever have a mall culture? The folks at the newly built Westfield San Francisco Centre sure hope so. Several Bay Area standbys have already staked a claim in Westfield’s limited restaurant space. Look out for Lark Creek Steak from Bradley Ogden's Lark Creek Group, a newer sleeker Straits Cafe from Chris Yeo, and a large Out the Door from the Charles Phan and Slanted Door family.



Michael Babin of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group is opening his fifth new concept. Buzz, a bakery and late-night dessert lounge in Alexandria located across from its sister operation, Rustico. Pastry chef Lisa Scruggs heads up the bakery operations. Look for port and chocolate pairings, mini-cakes, and filled cupcakes as well as breakfast brioches with bacon, egg, and cheese. Buzz will provide most of the pastries for Neighborhood’s empire, which includes Tallula, Evening Star Cafe, and Vermilion. Meanwhile, Tallula will soon spin off its bar into a separate entity called Eat Bar.

The Ginger Cove/Ginger Reef space is becoming Bar José, the latest creation of chef José Andrés and partner Rob Wilder of Proximo Group. A 2007 opening is planned. Andrés also plans to use the extra space as a test kitchen called Think Food Tank, which will not be open to the public.

Chef Roberto Donna will open Bebo Trattoria (after Donna’s childhood nickname) in José Andrés’s Oyamel space in Crystal City. Donna will be focusing on the new restaurant while his celebrated Galileo is temporarily closed due to building renovations. Andrés plans to reopen Oyamel in the former Andale spot in Penn Quarter in January 2007.

Nellie’s Sports Bar is slated to open in the trendy U Street corridor near Ninth Street in the former Salome site. Operating partner is Cubanos owner Rocio Anzola. The restaurant will have an outdoor rooftop deck so guests can catch the wonderful autumn weather before winter (and heating lamps) set in.

Rockland’s Barbecue is opening a new outpost in the old Pica Deli space in the Clarendon/Virginia Square area.

Gordon Biersch has signed a deal to open its third D.C.-area restaurant at Rockville Town Square. Their other outposts are in downtown D.C. and in Tysons Corner, Virginia.



Wheeling, Illinois

Cinitare Restaurants’ executive chef Rick Tramonto and executive pastry chef Gale Gand have opened Osteria di Tramonto in the Westin Chicago North Shore. The 250-seat contemporary Italian restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and was designed by Johnson Studios of Atlanta, the team that worked on Tru.

Ft. Lauderdale

Erika and Tony Sindaco have moved their highly successful eight-year-old Sunfish Grill from Pompano Beach, Florida, to Ft. Lauderdale.

Venice, CA

Hans Rockenwager is opening 3 Square Café & Bakery in 6 weeks. Its address is 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291.