An alert Disher sent me a link to a job posting on Craigslist. There is a new sports bar concept going up near Frankfort and the Tollway. Shocker, they are looking for “model type female servers and bar staff.”
What’s the big deal? One of the contact names for the restaurant is Michael Costa. Yes, the same Michael Costa involved in last year’s Las Colinas Prime saga that included TABC raids, gun shots, alleged theft, unpaid workers and contractors, and arrest warrants. Grab your Snuggie and read all about it here:
I called Mr. Costa and asked him if he was back in the restaurant business. He said, “Yes, in fact I’ve got several things going on.” And then he told me he was walking into a meeting and referred me to a publicist. I am waiting. I’m sure many others are waiting as well. Keep your eyes peeled.8 Comments »
From the Department of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up“: a press release from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s Collections announcing the Top Ten Inventions from their collection.
Tommy Edison’s light bulb? Check. Bell’s telephone? Check. The first camera? Check. Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez’s 1971 invention of the frozen margarita machine? Umm, check please? What about The Clapper? The Snuggie? Genetically modified salmon? I could go on. Is this what it takes to get people interested in U.S. history? The full release is below. Continue reading "Mariano Martinez’s Margarita Machine Named One of the Top Ten Inventions of All Time"7 Comments »
Long before there was Houston-based Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill opened in Dallas, there was Perry’s Steakhouse. Now the two Perry’s are operating in Uptown about two blocks apart. You’d think Dallas diners would be smart enough to figure out which is which but apparently we aren’t. I’ve had several e-mails fro co-workers and readers who made a date or appointment at one, only to have their date or meeting mates appear at the other.
I feel bad for the original Perry’s. After nine years, they had to change their name to The Place at Perry’s because Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille owned the name Perry’s. On the other hand, the new name gave the Dallas-based Place at Perry’s a chance to rework their concept from an upscale steak shop to a more casual beef-centric spot (they only use Niman Ranch meat). The Place at Perry’s now offers half-price wine every day from 2 to 7 pm and live music.
Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill also has live music in their super-chic bar. The dining room is dark and sophisticated. They feature table side productions—salads, meat carvings, and desserts are brought out on trays and flamed or tossed while you watch. I’m sorry but these little shows are just that—the guy making the salad or dessert has tiny plastic cups like the ones you take pills from in the hospital with pre-measured ingredients. He tosses them around like he’s on the Food Network.
Remember the young gal at Foodie Couture who wrote this account of her business relationship with Mico Rodriguez along with details of Mico’s plan for a restaurant called Pinky Chan? She was so happy to be working with her mentor.
Then last night, a teary post titled “Pinky Chan: A figment of the imagination” went up on their site.
“I’ve been living and breathing Pinky for two months and seeing this character and restaurant concept come to life was simply.. AMAZING! From meeting with the fashion and interior designers to demolition it was becoming a reality. But it came to a screeching halt when issues with investors could not be resolved.”
Welcome to the big show, girls. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Investors cost a little more. Next.11 Comments »
Pop-Tart World is a café in Times Square dedicated solely to exotic versions of the once (and still, IMO) lowly Pop-Tart. The “promoters” (love the emerging term to replace restaurateurs) of Pop-Tart World offer build-your own PTs, Fluffer Butter (marshmallow spread sandwiched between two Pop-Tarts frosted fudge pastries), Sticky Cinna Munchies (cinnamon rolls topped with cream-cheese icing and chunks of cinnamon-roll Pop-Tarts), and (beat, beat) Pop-Tarts sushi (three varieties of Pop-Tarts minced and wrapped in a fruit roll-up). Customers are treated to a “light show every hour” and the first suckers in the door “get frosted.” What. Ever. Yuck-a-doo.
Now, one hand, we have locavore guru Michael Pollan explaining why “paying $8 for a dozen eggs is a good thing” and on the other hand (thigh), we have Pop-Tart World. (And don’t get me started on the food spin offs coming to a store near you as soon as the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Make Money is released.) Oh, it all makes me want to take my head off and send it to the cleaners.3 Comments »
Well, the hottest topics in Dallas are food trucks and street food. We’ve got a column on the practicalities of mobile food in Dallas in our current issue. Last night, Channel 8 did a feature on the 10 pm news. (Murmur.) There are articles on the same topics coming from Canada! Today comes word that The Clandestine Dining Society in Dallas has partnered “with one of Dallas’ first gourmet food trucks!”
Why so secret? Oh, it’s clandestine. Gotcha. No wonder I’ve never heard of it. But wait the mysterious email goes on:
“Now – about that gourmet food truck…i’ll go ahead and admit that the CDS has more than a minority stake in it. We hope to be up and running within the next 45 days, and will be serving lunch and dinner when not operating as the CDS event truck. While the Central Business District is currently off-limits, our plans are to alternate between Lakewood, SMU-area, and the Design District. We’ll operate on a semi-fixed schedule and will definitely FB/Twitter our most up-to-date locations and specials.”
So there you have it. We’re on our way to becoming the next Portland.3 Comments »
Sorry, I was writing a post to run tomorrow morning and accidentally hit publish instead of save. Therefore, if you are looking for the story about Bob Sambol, you will have to wait until 9:00 am on Tuesday.5 Comments »
I spent a few months researching funky food trucks in other cities. Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Washington D.C., and New York all have a variety of mobile food units that either tweet their locations or rely on a regular schedule.
The most successful food truck operation is Kogi Korean BBQ in Los Angeles. The chef, Roy Choi, operates four trucks and recently opened Alibi Room, a brick and mortar restaurant in west LA. I guess you could say he backed into the restaurant business. (Rim shot.)
More interesting to me is that Choi was chosen as one of the ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine.
Why can’t we find these kinds of stories on our local streets, especially downtown or in the Arts District? After speaking with city officials, restaurateurs, code enforcement officers, and anyone in between, I determined that the future of funky food trucks in Dallas looks grim. Even Michael Sigel, owner of Green House Truck, the first operation to make some headway in Dallas, seems to be using his truck more for catering and special events.
Anywhoo, the whole story about food trucks in Dallas is here. Read it and scream.
Parting note: During the course of researching this story, I tried to reach chef Choi for some perspective. Here is the reply I received (3 weeks after the call followed by an email):
Thanks so much for your interest in Kogi, but unfortunately we are not accepting any press requests at the moment or anytime in the unforeseen future. As it stands, we are on a media sabbatical. I wish you all the best on your project.
From the guy who used to make tacos on a truck in the bowels of Los Angeles? Gotta love this country.10 Comments »
Blame it on the full moon. Blame it on the bossa nova. What. Ever. A few gals from the office went to dinner last Saturday at Horne & Dekker and one slipped part of a centerpiece into her purse. It wasn’t an elaborate candle or flower arrangement, the centerpieces at Horne & Dekker are a trio of house-labeled peas, carrots, and whoopass wrapped in kitschy H &D labeling. On their way out, one eagle-eyed darling spotted a lonely can of Whoopass on the patio and couldn’t contain herself. She had to know what was inside. (Full story here.) I sent a note of apology to owners Shawn Horne and Flynn Dekker and they replied:
I thought we were a little light on the Whoopass around here. We forgive your associate, but ask that she please return the silverware and fine china. Just remember that opening the can of Whoopass may cause harm…serious harm.
For the record, no china or silverware was swiped from the restaurant—just one No. 303 can of Whoopass. We asked you to guess what was in the can and we had a few bets going on around the office. Watch The Whoopass Mystery for the reveal.13 Comments »
Yesterday Thrillist reported the opening of Manhattan Lounge. The subhead reads: “Prime Uptown real estate for drinkers, dancers, and drink-then-dancers.”
I read the full snippet three times and I am still confused. I have a couple of questions for those of you who party at high-end establishments like Manhattan Lounge. The first one is not too serious.
Can someone explain the first paragraph in the story:
“Once you’ve made it through honest hard work, no one will blame you for surrounding yourself with the finer things, except maybe your ex-wife. And your estranged starter children. And Martin Sheen in Wall Street. Nevertheless moving on Uptown, the co-founder of Manhattan Lounge.”
Serious question: Please explain bottle service to me. The bottle service at Manhattan Lounge starts at $185, with discounts for 2 or more. (I am assuming that is 2 or more bottles, not people. Yikes.) So, does this mean I am going to pay over $200 with tip and whatnot for two bottles of vodka just to get a place to sit?
Enlighten me. I don’t get it.
UPDATE: Our nightlife editor gives us a sneak peek at Manhattan Lounge.39 Comments »
I called corporate headquarters for In-N-Out Burgers yesterday to check on the opening of their first Texas location in Garland. Tracking down the only guy who can speak on the record for this company, Carl Van Fleet Vice President of Planning and Development, has always been a major task. I got lucky yesterday—he called back in less than five hours and left this message on my voicemail.
15 Comments »
“At this point in time, I can’t really speculate as to when we might open. It would be premature to try and guess and I would be misleading some of our customers. What I can tell you is that it is not going to be in 2010. We are just not ready. There is way too much to happen between now and then for us to be ready to go anywhere in the Dallas market.
Confidently, I can say it will not be in 2010 and only say it will be sometime in 2011. If I had to guess, I could say spring (he laughs) but it is vey early in the process and we have a lot of work to do.”
A few weeks ago I was having breakfast at Craft Dallas. There were only three customers in the restaurant which makes me nervous since I’d hate to see Dallas lose this place—the food is really special. However here is the transcript of a conversation I had with my waiter. I pretended to be from out of town.
Jump for the story.45 Comments »
Sarah Eveans files a report on the updated Inwood Tavern. It sounds like new owners Lisa and Tom Elia Georgalis have made a lot of changes. Read it and weep—today is Sarah’s last day at D Magazine.5 Comments »
Over on Go Oak Cliff, a little game is going on: Four vacant spaces in the Bishop Arts area and four potential restaurants opening soon. It’s fun speculation. But I have a bigger question: How many restaurants can North Oak Cliff comfortably support? I live in the area and eat out most nights. Yet there’s new restaurants even I haven’t tried. I’m happy to see the OC bursting with new business. But when is enough enough? Discuss.11 Comments »
Yesterday my favorite sports chick, Gina Miller, twittered this tweet: “another legend leaving: cafe pacific is losing lease @ highland park village & the mercury is going in its spot. major bummer.”
I called Café Pacific owner Jack Knox. Dang, no answer. So I called the Pope of Highland Park Village, Ray Washburne. Double dang, straight to voicemail. A little later a gentle ping from my computer. Hark! An e-mail from Knox, who is probably the nicest guy in the restaurant business.
“Sorry I missed your call. I was in the back yard with Wal-Mart and Woodrow, the apparent owners of the place where I live. I hear the [rumor], or a version of it, about every forty eight hours. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on the part of our competitors, or maybe it’s just a good conversation starter. Last Saturday at our monthly front of the house meeting, just to make sure that everyone was on the same page, I explained to all the CP staff that we have a lease that is valid, in place, unchallenged, and very comfortable for both our landlord and me that runs to July 15, 2015. I think that the usual renewal option will be forthcoming in time, it’s mainly a matter of terms.”
Minutes later, the Pope, I mean Ray Washburne, calls. “My plane just landed,” he says. “I’ve been in Las Vegas at the International Shopping Center Convention. Hey, Jack’s not going anywhere. He has a lease until 2015.”
Dishers, can officially shut down the Café Pacific rumor for a few months and go back to our regularly scheduled hot rumor. Like In-N-Out Burger is coming to Dallas. Hah! That’s always a good one. Huh? It’s true? What in the hell are we going to talk about now? Leave a rumor after the beep.10 Comments »
Central Market. Is throwing an awesome party this weekend. Thrill of the Grill. The PDF makes me HUNGRY!
Market Street. International Food Expos. All area locations of Market Street will highlight unique cultures, products, and ethnic tastes from around the world. All the details are below.
Loft 610. Come Experience Award Winning Spanish Eclectic Singer Songwriter Javier Mendoza On The Patio Saturday — 5:30 PM. Details below.
TNT/ Tacos and Tequila. Jim and Liz Baron, owners of Blue Mesa and Zinsky’s, have screwed Dallas and opened a taco joint in Austin. TNT / Tacos and Tequila will open May 14. The 115-seat eatery is “tucked” into the newly-opened Pressler Gables complex at 5th and Pressler. TNT focuses on locally sourced, naturally grown ingredients and offers tacos with a twist and all-day build-your-own breakfast tacos. Hey Liz, what is wrong with downtown Dallas?
Dallas Uncorked Celebrates 6th Anniversary at Veritas Wine Room.
Dallas Uncorked will partner with Veritas Wine Room May 10th for their 6th anniversary celebration. “We started our not for profit, educational organization in 2004 with a hope to bring unique wine events to our Dallas membership. Six years later we have grown our membership to over 2500 wine lovers, and produced dozens of wine events throughout Dallas.” Full details below.
Tramontana. This just in from chef James Neel: We have received the first of the season Texas Gulf Soft Shell Crabs!!! Our classic preperation is Pan Fried with Creole Mustard Bianco. Call 214/ 368-4188 to make your reservation and reserve yours now for this weekend! Details below.
Jeff Moschetti. According to Facebook, the new Associated Press, chef Moschetti has left Sangria and is headed to One2One Restaurant and Bar in Frisco. Opens this summer. The menu will be “American with a twist” according to PegNews. (Chubby Checker cuisine?) Continue reading "Restaurant News: Bits and Bites"2 Comments »
Some of the comments under yesterday’s comments post about Leslie Brenner’s picks for Best French Restaurants went a little east of France. Like to Italy. At one point I wrote:
“It took you a year of eating red-sauce Italian food and steak au poivre to come to the conclusion that the majority of Dallas diners do not have adventurous palates. (R.I.P Il Mulino)”
The line caused several commenters to steer off topic and question the quality/authenticity of IL Mulino. I used IL Mulino as an example of a restaurant that failed here because Dallas diners refused to accept the, for Dallas, adventurous menu. “Authentic” Italian or not, whatever that is around here, is not the issue. Whatever Il Mulino was—gasp, modern Italian?! New York Mob Italian?! French Italian?!—it was, in my opinion, a good restaurant. Why? Because, without going back to my notes or reviews, I can clearly remember (and taste) the food I ate—the ravioli in champagne sauce, the Dover sole, the complimentary appetizers. Strong taste memories are hard to come by when you eat food for a living.
Il Mulino was expensive—Dallas doesn’t like to pay for high prices for Italian unless they are in New York or Los Angeles or Italy. However, they don’ t blink at forking over $50 for an 8-ounce filet of beef. It’s a reality of how the majority of palates and pocketbooks in this city roll.
On another note, I don’t like using the term “authentic” to describe food from another country. For the sake of argument, an Italian recipe can be authentic but unless all of the ingredients are sourced in Italy, the resulting dish is not truly authentic. Chew on that one. And spit it out below.18 Comments »
Yow. Zah. Looks like the pendulum of justice has swung to the other side of the Avila family. Last week when I spoke with Ricky/Ricardo Avila and his fiancée, Michelle, Ricky told me his 88-year old mother was suffering from the onset of dementia. He claimed that he and Michelle were the primary care takers of Mrs. Avila, the founder of the Avila’s Mexican Restaurant on Maple Avenue. “It’s sad that other members of my family do not even visit her,” he said. Ricky/Ricardo explained that he owned the restaurant business and his mother owned the building. “She’s just not sure what is going on most of the time,” he said.
The whole Avila family appeared before Judge Ken Molberg on Tuesday, February 9. “It took him ten minutes to realize I owned the business,” said Ricky. As I reported from the restaurant, Ricky/Ricardo and Peter Tarantino were running the restaurant.
Yesterday morning, I received an e-mail from blogger Texaskatey reporting there was a sign on the door saying the restaurant was closed along with a link to the restaurant’s website announcing Avila’s was moving to another location. Apparently, the previous night, Ricky/Ricardo Avila and company gutted the interior of the restaurant.
A little later, an e-mail from Patricia Avila Guajardo, who I can only assume is one of Ricky/Ricardo’s sisters, hit my inbox. The note, printed below the jump was addressed to Kim Pierce of the DMN and cc’d to me. She claims Avila’s Mexican Restaurant on Maple will “begin operating as soon as possible.”
I agree with Patricia on one point—this whole soap opera is “out of control.” From where I sit, it looks like everyone is guilty. Why Ricky/Ricardo and company did not wait for scheduled legal proceedings to take place is astonishing. Late yesterday, DMN’s Karen Robinson-Jacobs reported the judge ordered Ricky/Ricardo to “‘restore all property and tangible things taken or removed from’ the restaurant within 24 hours of Thursday’s order.” Hmm. Stay tuned.
Jump for Patricia’s side of the story. Continue reading "Soap Opera Update: Avila’s Mexican Restaurant on Maple in Dallas"7 Comments »
My inbox is filling with messages from former employees of Popolos, the popular restaurant owned by Steve Hammond that closed on January 30. Of course, they are screaming one side of the story—they got screwed out of a job.
However, there is one common thread to their tales—apparently a long-time customer was in the house on closing night and he/she asked the manager what kind of severance package Hammond was handing out to the employees. From what I can piece together, the customer went nuts when he/she found out there was no severance package in the works. So, he/she handed the manager his/her credit card (Black American Express) and told her to charge $10,000 on the card and distribute the money to the staff. Several former staffers report that owner Hammond wasn’t too happy about that and a argument broke out in the dining room and the police were called.
Meanwhile, Hammond has opened reworked his Park Cities Prime into Preston’s, a chef driven (Jon Schwarzenberger) restaurant centered around local and organic ingredients with a Texas twist.20 Comments »
If you spot a celebrity dining in a Dallas area restaurant, we want to hear about it. Servers, this is your time to spill more than the refried beans. We’ll be here all weekend. Go, eat, report. In the meantime, you can help Diddy. He’s looking for “the dopest strip club in Dallas.” Or Tweet to other visiting celebs from here.25 Comments »