Isola Gozo, that tiny Northern Italian restaurant next to Tiffany's and adjacent to Neiman Marcus in NorthPark Center, is gone. The once cozy restaurant is nothing more than a terra cotta-tiled, mahogany-paneled storeroom holding stacks of chairs, dishpans, marble tables, and other assorted food-service detritus. Named for the tiny Island of Gozo, where Ulysses was beached by a shipwreck and subsequently held under the trance of the sea nymph Calypso for seven idyllic years, according to restaurant press materials, Isola Gozo was launched in 1996 by David Patterson, following a stint with the Pino Luongo Restaurant Corp. (The company later became New York-based Toscorp, the firm that operates Coco Pazzo.) Dallas diners eventually chased Coco Pazzo from Addison and McKinney Avenue some three years ago. In addition to Isola Gozo, Patterson also opened Zuppa Market, a tiny gourmet shop near Lord & Taylor in the same mall. That little outlet is shuttered, too, at least judging from the boards covering the space where the Zuppa storefront used to be. Patterson couldn't be reached for comment, but NorthPark officials (NorthPark's Nancy Nasher is listed as a corporate officer in Isola Gozo's incorporation papers) would only confirm that the two venues shut down sometime in January.
It's hard to know what landscaping and smoky taverns have in common, except that perhaps most hard-working landscapers and taverns perpetually smell as if they could use a shower. But Ed and Michael Ruibal, operators of Landscape Systems of Texas, seem to have found common ground on McKinney Avenue. They will soon open The MAT (McKinney Avenue Tavern), a spot that will serve hamburgers, salads, pastas, and steak along with Buds and chasers. To launch The MAT, the Ruibals completely refurbished the space that used to house Chelsea Corner. "We just saw that building and we had a vision for it," says Ed. The MAT is also a sports bar with 14 television screens and a big-screen tube on a wall flanked by two additional TVs...A new winery has sprouted up in Texas, near Galveston for God's sake. Haak Vineyards and Winery, whose motto is "the first and only winery in Galveston County," opened this month in Santa Fe. Haak squeezes wine mostly from Texas grapes, but it also produces wines from grapes plucked in New Mexico and California. These include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Port. This Haak attack brings to 40 the number of commercial wineries operating in Texas.