Tongue-tied

Gringo Lingo gripes

Dallas Texadelphia founder Tom Landis seems a little annoyed with his fellow Dallas restaurateurs these days. The burr? He's underwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which they've embraced his 3-year-old pet project: food-service English-as-a-second-language classes for Spanish-speaking restaurant employees. Landis calls the project Gringo Lingo, a coinage that may have annoyed a few folks, including his partners, which include El Centro College and the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association. "It's been an interesting experience working with Dallas County community colleges, specifically El Centro," says Landis. "I think they make DISD look like an efficiently run system." He has other gripes too. Landis says his fellow Dallas restaurateurs have been slow to support him and have even tossed in a few roadblocks. Emanating from the LeCroy Center on the Richland College campus, the class is piped into restaurants via cable TV in the late afternoon. The 16-week classes cost $50 per student, and every employee that completes the class earns free tickets to a Dallas Burn soccer game. Maybe that's what the sticking point is--bad carrots. Landis says he must have students signed up for the classes, which start January 30, by the end of this week. "I've been trying to hold people's hands, or twist their hands, or whatever," says Landis, who is expecting 35 students from between five and 10 restaurants.

Landis himself plans to try out student life. He has divested himself somewhat from the Texadelphia operation (which is now up to three Dallas units), and partner Brian Mitts has taken over. "The one thing I did negotiate was that I still get free meals," Landis says. The third founding partner in the operation, Mike Rossi, cashed out earlier. Landis says he's pinning his higher-educational hopes on the Dallas Theological Seminary. "I've been like Charlie Brown on Valentine's Day looking for that acceptance letter," he admits.


Perpetually suave front man Karim Alaoui has sauntered over to Lombardi Mare, where he has taken the reins as general manager. "They want to bring this restaurant up a notch from what it is," says Alaoui of Lombardi's Inc., the restaurant's parent. Alaoui has fronted many stylish Dallas venues, including Mediterraneo, the defunct Toscana, and Bistro A. His last foray was with Venus Steakhouse & Supper Club, where he was general manager for roughly six months before he jumped ship. "I was looking for something less clubbish," he says...Former Good Eats President Frank Barnard has joined Genghis Grill Mongolian grill restaurants as the company's new president. Founder Jeff Sinelli will bump himself up to CEO. There are two Genghis Grill locations in Dallas, and one is set to open next month in Fort Worth.

 
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