Best Restaurateurs. Oh no, now I’ve got to make one too. (Bob Sambol? I like Bob but he owns one restaurant.)
UPDATE: Okay, I’ve thought about the above list a little bit more and I really have to question Dave Faries’ pick of Bob Sambol as a restaurateur of the decade. What about entrepreneurial spirits such as Jeff Sinelli, Mike Hogue, Kent Rathbun, Shannon Wynne? Bob Sambol lost his butt in Denver, sold his brand to Omni, and only owns part of his original restaurant. What’s in the eggnog over at the Observer, Dave?15 Comments »
Josh Hixson over at People “Who Need People” Newspapers just sauntered up to me and said, “Hey, Kelly Hightower is turning Kavala into a place called Nova.” “Dude,” (word of the day) said I. “Send me the deets.” Hear him roar.
Kelly Hightower said Monday Kavala will be re-conceptualized as an international tapas-style bar called Nova. They plan to reopen near the end of February. Hightower will become chef/partner for the new venture in combination with three investors whom he called, “bar people from around town, some pretty notable places.”
He declined to share their names.
Japanese, Mediterranean, and Tex-Mex offerings will be on the menu, Hightower said.
The buzz among bikers is that the bar’s investment group brought in some of the leaders in Oak Cliff’s growing bicycling community as consultants.
“The Bike Friendly Oak Cliff people will love it and we’ll have bike racks out there,” Hightower said. “We are definitely going for that crowd as well. We are going for a little bit more of a hipper vibe and get away from the mom and pop feel the restaurant has.”
Nova will also have an expanded bar and patio, as well as improved plumbing which was responsible for the stale/gassy smell, Hightower said.
“That has been pretty bad for Kavala over the past year,” said Hightower, referring to the smell. “I think it has driven people away from the restaurant.”
Hmm. I hope Wick reads this post. Bike Friendly People is a pretty catchy name for a community newspaper.6 Comments »
|Moving the Four Seasons European-style market in Garland indoors was a bust for several vendors. “The building was too far away from the action,” said one vendor who threatened my dog’s life if I revealed his/her name. “The food people did okay, but there were some unhappy sellers.” I guess Dallas is not indoor European-style, we prefer to act European in the great outdoors.|
|According to a person who was really on the street, the valet service at Dish misplaced DMN dining critic Leslie Brenner’s car. Eventually they located it. Wonder if Dish will ever find their lost star? A snitch on a cul-de-sac reports Ms. Brenner had no problem with valet after any of her three visits to the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.|
|A musical-lovin’ diner and a group of friends went to see South Pacific this weekend. Before he/she/they had 101 pounds of fun at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, he/she/they dined at Screen Door, excuse me, Screendoor. In particular, they ordered the $30 pre-theater dinner package. “I love David McMillan,” said he/she/they. “And he was there but the food was way below average.” Sub-par shrimp and grits? I know what to get chef McMillan for Christmas.|
This year has been horrific for many local restaurants, but 2009 has been very, very good to Neighborhood Services. “I am so tired of saying no to my customers,” said Neighborhood Services owner/chef Nick Badovinus. “I will be so happy to now say yes.”
For the last 16 months, Badovinus’ 90-seat restaurant on West Lovers did not take reservations, was not permitted to open for lunch or offer outdoor seating. There was always a wait for a table. “We pissed off a lot of people with our space,” said Badovinus at 7:16 this morning. “So many customers said, ‘I love your place, dude, but I just don’t have four hours to give you to eat there.’”
First up will be Neighborhood Services Tavern which will open “by Valentine’s Day” in the space formerly known as Soley on Henderson Avenue. The lease is signed and the project has already been approved. The menu features “about 12 small plates, 12 large plates, daily and nightly specials, dips, snacks, classic cocktails, and a sub-50 [dollar] wine list.” The kitchen will be headed by Mike Williams, the opening sous chef for Neighborhood Services, who once cheffed at Craft Dallas.
Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill will open in the controversial Taco Mundo space in Preston Royal Shopping Center in late May or early June. “PR” will have all of his “yes factors”—lunch, outside dining, and loads of parking. The menu will be a casual version of Neighborhood Services. Chef Jeff Bekavac, a line cook for Badovinus at Hibiscus and currently in the kitchen at Neighborhood Services, will run “PR”.
“That leaves me with a great opportunity at Neighborhood Services and by that I mean I can really finally serve the neighborhood. It will allow us to move into a reservation-based model,” said Badovinus. “Dude, I would think this strategy was crazy if I didn’t already have 80 dishes that the customer has already approved with their pocketbooks. The risk is daunting but you have to listen to the marketplace. When your customers say grow, it sure makes it easier. I am so blessed by the support I’ve received since I opened. I’m just looking forward to being able to say yes for a change.”14 Comments »