Hash Over

A Black hole; Avner goes tapas; Mel Hollen's is closed; Antonovich is in Kentucky

Black hole

Brian Black almost stepped in it. It turns out that one of the locations the former Mi Piaci operating partner was interested in developing was Antonovich's Tuscan Steak House, the Plano restaurant that had the lifecycle of a mayfly. "What a mess," Black says. "Pretty soon the bill collectors were showing up saying 'I've got liens on this and that.'" So Black quickly lost interest and focused his marbles on il Solé, an upscale restaurant and wine bar that he's launching with his wife Sonia on the second floor in Travis Walk in the former Tarazza space. Backed by a silent partner and sent aloft by Black's firm McKinney Restaurant Company, il Solé will ply New American cuisine crafted by former Mi Piaci Executive Chef Tim Penn when it opens this fall. Black says the restaurant will also feature a 150-selection wine program with flights and tastings, which should keep him from stepping in any more black holes.

Mixed hash

Perhaps it's fitting. Now that McKinney Avenue is firmly gripped in the tumult of restorative demolition, rumor has it that explosively temperamental chef Avner Samuel (Bistro A) is stalking the rumpled strip for space to launch a tapas bar. Not only that, sources say he's locked his sights on the former Enigma space that once housed his own restaurant, Avner's. Jill Alcott's "Chefs Palate," a take-out venue slated to go into the spot, has apparently been scotched. Samuel firmly dismisses the gab. "At this time it's only a rumor," he says. "And I have no comment."...After nearly three years in Addison, Mel Hollen's Bar & Fine Dining has apparently called it quits with a simple sign on the door: "Sorry, we are temporarily closed until further notice."...Chef Matthew Antonovich of Sipango and Antonovich's Tuscan Steak House has surfaced in Louisville, Kentucky. Seems he's working as a consultant for a company set to launch a new restaurant called Napa River Grill in a spot formerly known as Mama Grisante's...After stumbling badly with an offshoot called Champagne that proffered a chichi French menu, the Gold Bar is again shoveling lunch and dinner. Only this time it's downscale grub like chips & salsa, sandwiches, pizza, and pasta. And instead of a European chef, owner Stephen Wylie is behind the line cooking, a guy not generally known as a chef by trade. "He's pretty much everything by trade," says manager Brandyn Bryant. "He did all of the electrical work in here, and now he's back there cooking." He pauses. "We don't know what the hell he does actually."

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