Royce Ring, who left Carlson Restaurants Worldwide's Emerging Brands (Samba Room, Fishbowl, Timpano, etc.) to launch his own restaurant company dubbed Triple R Group, has landed his first Triple R chef. Tim Byers, who comes from New York's Thom, a Pan Asian restaurant in 60 Thompson, a boutique Hotel in SoHo, will head the kitchen at Tom Tom Noodle House, Triple R's replicable fast-casual Asian restaurant that should open in the West Village by late May. Byers comes with a diverse résumé that includes a stint at China Grill in South Beach. It also encompasses a stretch for Byers as executive chef at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, during which time he hobnobbed with French chefs bearing Michelin stars. "He brings a tremendous Asian background with a real strong French undercarriage," Ring says.
Doug Brown, who left his corporate sous chef post at Eatzi's for the executive chef perch at The Melrose Hotel, has pulled former Nana pastry chef Jason Foss into the Melrose kitchen as that hotel's pastry chef. Brown received acclaim as executive chef for The Wyndham Anatole's Nana Grill (now Nana), where he worked with Foss, before Brown vacated Dallas for a post at Murial's Supper Club in Palm Springs, California...Restaurant operator Jim Roark, who has inhabited 2900 Greenville Avenue over the last couple of years via a variety of concepts including Velocity, a restaurant called M Streets and a restaurant/club called Café Asian, is poised to shut down the latter to make room for yet another makeover. It seems Café Asian, whose motto is "Asian food with a Greenville attitude," is in dire need of an attitude adjustment of the sort that can't be accomplished by martinis alone. Café Asian will be zipped up for good on May 5. In its wake will follow the Pony Keg Bar & Grill, a tavern of sorts that Roark's partner Baham Ayrom says will ply fried foods, steaks and other such grub. Pony should open some three weeks after Café Asian is scuttled. "Here we go again," says Roark. Indeed...Entertainment Collaborative partner and wine honcho Whit Meyers has announced that his wine handiwork at the Green Room and Jeroboam has bagged the restaurants a pair of 2002 Wine Spectator awards--the fourth for the Green Room, the second for Jeroboam. But wine isn't the only attitude adjuster that goes well with food. Wire services reported this week that a Beijing restaurateur was given 18 months in the slammer for seasoning the restaurant's spicy fish dish with ground opium to give his customers a jones for the preparation. But the operator claimed ground opium was used in his hometown to prevent dysentery that can come from ingesting spicy cuisine. Oh, we get it. He wasn't trying to make them spicy fish junkies. He was just trying to keep them from tying up his bathroom.