A sign on the door says that Patrick Esquerré and his crew were locked out of Café Patrique in Mockingbird Station. But not, it appears, before he got most of the fixtures for his fledgling counter-service restaurant out of the building. In a written statement, Esquerré says that expenses associated with the Mockingbird location were crushing, leaving him no choice but to pull the plug on his brashly colored restaurant. "The six months of delayed, and seemingly endless, construction of the Mockingbird Station Center after we opened caused a big drain of energy and cash," Esquerré explains. "...Then came the September 11 turmoil, which badly hit sales, as it did for other restaurants. Perhaps, in hindsight, this was not the best time and location to start a brand-new concept." To this fatal brew Esquerré adds the dual chokeholds of arduous parking conditions and escalating rents in the hip, urban Mockingbird Station. Esquerré is now concentrating his Café Patrique firepower on his second location on the northwest corner of Preston Road at Forest Lane.
As part of its much-talked-about strategy to shed its emerging brands restaurants to focus on T.G.I. Friday's and Pick up Stix nameplates, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide shuttered its Star Canyon restaurant in the Inter-Continental AustinHotel in Austin. A written statement from the hotel explains the space will be used for catering events until the hotel cements plans with a restaurant operator to revive the space...Alan Gilbert, owner of Gilbert's New York Delicatessen, says the reason he moved his Dallas deli to Belt Line Road and Quorum in North Dallas was to give himself more breathing room in the form of dining space and parking. Other than that, Gilbert hasn't changed a thing. "This is the same menu we've had for 53 years," he insists. "I mean it's a New York delicatessen. It's the real thing. Nothing changes. It is what it is. Thank God."...Jimi Davidson, editor of Vine Dallas, says Vine Publishing, Inc., the corporate parent of the slick wine magazine focused on Dallas swirling, sipping and spitting rituals, has just received a fresh infusion of investment capital. The name of the magazine will change to Vine Texas this summer, and distribution of the magazine will expand to Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio...A federal district judge has ruled that Virginia's ban on interstate direct wine shipments from out-of-state vendors to consumers is unconstitutional. A group called The Coalition for Free Trade is assisting winery and wine consumer plaintiffs in New York, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Michigan in challenging the outright bans on shipments to consumers in those states.