Hash Over

Barking up the wrong stogie?
Lone Wolf Lounge General Manager Bill Valentine, onetime general manager of 8.0 and Sambuca Restaurant in Deep Ellum, recently left the cigar bar and restaurant in disgust. He says that after several months of indecisiveness among the restaurant's partners, who include actor Chuck Norris, the venue's focus became too muddled (there was talk of transforming it into a coffee bar) to achieve success with him at the helm. Rumors were rampant that the lounge would shut down. But apparently, wine-purveyor-to-the-stars Dennis Overstreet, who opened a wine and cigar bar in Beverly Hills with actor George Hamilton, has purchased an interest in Lone Wolf and plans to replicate the L.A. haunt in Dallas by adding a broad wine selection, individual temperature-controlled wine lockers, and a limited food menu. Lone Wolf management wouldn't confirm any details, but the lounge's answering machine now refers to the spot as Lone Wolf at the Wine Merchant.

Hash seasonings
Former Seventeen-Seventeen chef and General Manager Kent Rathbun has secured space for his new restaurant, set to open May 1999, in what was once the billiard hall Big Shots on McKinney Avenue...After shutting down Yegua Creek Brewery several weeks ago because of Central Expressway construction chaos, Yegua partner Toby O'Brien says he's negotiating for new space on McKinney Avenue and hopes to reopen the brewpub by the first of the year. He won't disclose the location, but says he has his eye on a spot currently occupied. Does the string of failed restaurants on and around McKinney bother him? No. He boasts that his casual suds-slosher is far better suited to hack the harsh McKinney Avenue food chain than the upscale spots that recently croaked.

Carry the one
Vote irregularities hit the People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic at Grapevine's GrapeFest yet again. Embarrassed by vote fraud last year, the city boasted that more than 3,500 sippers cast ballots in this year's rain-drenched GrapeFest wine election only to retract the total two days later when it was revealed that the actual count was closer to 2,500. This after the city took great pains to point out that the ballots were counted under the supervision of a CPA who personally verified the results. Among the gold-medal winners were Llano Estacado Winery (Chardonnay), Messina Hof Wine Cellars (Barrel Reserve Cabernet), Ste. Genevieve Wines (Pinot Noir) and La Bodega Winery (blush). Of course, these results depend on your definition of "winner."

--Mark Stuertz

E-mail Dish at markst@juno.com.

 
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