Lombardi Mare, Alberto Lombardi's seafood extravaganza, has had a shift in the head. Executive chef Tony Knight has departed, or is departing, or might not completely depart, or something. "I'm just looking for other avenues, going a different route," he says. Knight adds he's been doing some consulting for Lombardi Mare's parent company, Lombardi's Inc., but he won't say precisely what he plans to do. "I'm not going to say anything until everything is sewed up on the other end," he adds. Ouch. But one thing is for sure: his slot's been filled. And taking the task of filling it is none other than Tom Fleming, recently executive chef of the Riviera. Why did he split from Franco Bertolasi's vaunted Continental dining room? "Change of pace," he says. "I love the Riviera. I love Franco Bertolasi. But I needed a change of pace in my life," he says. He also says he needs to get his feet wet, which is a good thing to do in a seafood restaurant. Following the foot lapping, Fleming will unveil a new Lombardi Mare menu in mid-November.
Tim Penn, the lauded executive chef of Brian Black's Il Solé, has exited the lofty Travis Walk restaurant. "It just wasn't working out," says Il Sole's PR rep Sally Francis, although she stresses the departure was amicable. Penn has been replaced by Jeffery Hobbs, onetime chef at Hotel St. Germain, Toscana, and Mediterraneo...On the heels of the sudden departures of his longtime partner Michael Cox and sister Alena Pyles, Stephan Pyles has severed his ties with Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, the firm that purchased his Star Canyon and AquaKnox restaurants in 1998. Pyles plans to "pursue other interests" which include books, TV, and perhaps other restaurant endeavors. Star Canyon Executive Chef Matthew Dunn has plugged into the Carlson corporate relay as Concept Chef of Star Canyon Restaurants, which means...well it's hard to know what concept chef means. But let's hope he gets a concept kitchen...Ex-Dallasite Daddy Jack Chaplin, founder of Daddy Jack's Wood Grills and lobster/chowder houses, says he's found his dream house in Lebanon, Conn., a place from where he scoots into Dallas once a month. "I am a full-blooded swamp Yankee and proud of it," says the native New Englander. He also says he's in the throes of opening a Daddy Jack's in Fort Worth's Sundance Square, which should open sometime in late December or early January. Chaplin is also working on a Daddy Jack's in Providence, Rhode Island, which, unlike his locations in parched stake-and-bake Dallas, will be right on the water in a marina in an old oyster processing plant.