Nick Gets Fired Up

Phil Romano stays cool when We Oui chef Nick Badovinus jumps ship

When Phil Romano's pick-up-joint-disguised-as-a-French Luby's (also known as We Oui) went the way of all fleshpots, the supposition was that Romano would send his We Oui chef Nick Badovinus on an all-expenses paid recipe-collecting world vacation and then open a restaurant in the young chef's name. But it's not to be. Badovinus decided to cook with a faster crowd, a bunch that thinks of restaurateuring as a way of life instead of a hobby. Amazingly, Romano wasn't angry, says Badovinus, though he says the founder of Macaroni Grill and Nick and Sam's was caught by surprise. "I was expecting it to be much more volatile," Badovinus admits. "He really floored me with his support." Such is the beauty of bonding among fellow hash slingers. Badovinus apparently packed his toque and joined forces with Tristan Simon and his Consilient (why doesn't my dictionary have this word?) Restaurants company as corporate chef/partner. There, he will revamp the menu at Cuba Libre on Henderson Avenue and give it, as Simon explains, "culinary credibility." Not only that, he will draft a menu for Simon's new restaurant in Las Colinas called Blue Fire, an upscale regional American restaurant with a heavy seafood bias. Blue fire will also have a "real swank, dark, moody with lots of candle sconces" type lounge...for those who prefer meat. Badovinus says the bait that lured him to Consilient was the fierce dedication Simon and his cohorts display. "It's a chance to link up with some guys that really seem to be going in the same direction that I'm going...with some young guys that have something to prove," he says. "It's a big departure from being with a guy like Phil Romano who's kind of been there, done that." Simon says Blue Fire, a kind of urban brasserie, will be open sometime around the end of the year. In the meantime, Badovinus will focus on Cuba Libre before he plunges into the Blue Fire menu, excerpts of which will start appearing as Cuba Libre specials starting in July.


Liz Baron of Blue Mesa Grill Restaurants, Inc. says the company is in the process of launching its fourth Blue Mesa Grill. This one will be on the edge of Plano and Frisco, a hair south of where Okies breed, somewhere near Stonebriar Centre. This is the first restaurant the company is building from the ground up, and it has enlisted Carrell and Yost Architects for the job, the same group that did the stunning Blue Mesa Grill in Dallas across from NorthPark Center. "It will be a lot less Southwest-looking, less themed-looking, more contemporary," she says of the new project. "This one we're going to get creative with."

 
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