Following months of speculation he was doing it, chef Gilbert Garza finally did it, or at least admitted he did it. After roughly a year of working in the kitchen, Garza bought Suze, the near Northwest Dallas neighborhood restaurant that was Going Gourmet before former Mediterraneo kitchen grunt Suzie Priore took it over and put her stamp on it. Garza enlisted his wife, Lisa, to run the front of the house and formed a corporation called "Taco Bout Us," which in no way means he has plans to experiment with refried beans and melted Velveeta. Instead, Garza, who largely carved his reputation at the defunct Toscana before a short episode at Mother Pearl's Seafood House and Oyster Bar on Lemmon Avenue, says he likes the wordplay in the name, which is inspired by Richard Melman's Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a Chicago-based restaurant company. "It just rolls off your tongue," Garza says. With a klasch of silent partners backing him, Garza plans to expand within a year if Suze performs well, though he insists he will never duplicate Suze. What he does plan is a slightly revamped menu, a vigorous slate of wine dinners, and a line of specialty sauces, vinaigrettes, dressings, condiments, and perhaps specialty meats. Priore, who has severed her ties to the restaurant bearing a derivation of her name, is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she plans to open a Tequila bar. Restaurant business careers seem to always end in shots.
The Wine Spectator, that wine authority with a Mafioso-like grip on the wine makers and swillers alike, has just released its awards of excellence, a roster of some of the best restaurant wine lists in the country. Among those soaked with accolades is Il Sole Restaurant & Wine Bar, the Travis Walk restaurant featuring "Italian country cuisine." The 1-year-old restaurant, opened by Mi Piaci alumni Brian and Sonya Black with cuisine by ex-Mi Piaci chef Tim Penn, features a healthy list, heavy with California and Italian wines. But it's also injected with wines from Washington state, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. The list is physically designed well with short flavor profiles to prevent it from reading like a phone book. Voltaire restaurant also snagged a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its encyclopedic list featuring a massive block of California and French wines, plus large lots of Italian and Australian wines, and a light seeding of drink from Spain, Germany, Chile, and Argentina...Wingstop, the Garland-based company that franchises aviation-themed restaurants flinging eight versions of chicken wings is building a new restaurant in Denton that should be opening before the end of the year. Pat Bergin of Euless, a former professional skater and rink owner, will be the owner-operator. The company has 20 Wingstops in operation and another 15 under development in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Missouri.