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After six years as assistant general manager, Scott Shoenberger ended his stint with the Melrose Hotel, home of the Landmark restaurant, last week. He's off to Hartford, Connecticut, where he will head the 271-room Hastings International Conference Resort, operated by Colorado Springs-based International Conference Resorts. Apparently, Melrose executives feel Shoenberger's shoes are unfillable, at least by a single mortal. He'll have a pair of replacements: a food & beverage director and a rooms division manager, both as yet unnamed. Shoenberger's new charge is one of eight conference resorts operated by ICR in Arizona, Colorado, California, North Carolina, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The company also plans to unveil a state-of-the-art, 350-room conference facility in Lewisville sometime next year.

Pyramid scheme
Long a spot for pricey, showy evening opulence, the Fairmont Hotel's Pyramid Room will now serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week instead of dinner only Monday through Saturday. The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. with frequently changing menus to include the reintroduction of entree souffles. Coming on the heels of the appointment of Pyramid Executive Chef Jean La Font, the move becomes effective early next year and will coincide with the closing of the Brasserie, the hotel's two decade-old casual restaurant serving traditional American fare. The Brasserie space will be reserved for special events.

Perception is reality
Tracy Curts of the Uptown Improvement District admits McKinney Avenue isn't the first-class retail-dining spine it should be. And things are unlikely to get better soon as the street will undergo a major facelift from Pearl Street to Oak Grove near Greenwood Cemetery. The 15- to 24-month beautification project, which will begin March 1999 and likely exceed $2.8 million, is part of a 1995 city bond program that should cure the street's teeth-rattling texture. But will construction knock the pearly whites out of area businesses, especially restaurants? "The real problem won't be one in fact, it will be one in perception," assures Curts, who says he's hiring a marketing and public relations firm to help him deal with construction headaches and perceived access problems. Predictably, Curts insists the recent rash of restaurant crashes has been due not to area turbulence, but specific business blunders--bad food, rents commensurate with property values instead of sales volume, and inappropriate menus and pricing. Yet one thing's for certain: when the going gets tough, the tough get PR.

--Mark Stuertz

E-mail Dish at markstz@juno.com.

 
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