Sure, you could call Deep Ellum a car wreck. Crime and petty harassment are universally perceived. Ladies--the mother's milk of nightlife--are leery of riveting in the tongue studs, buckling on the strappy sandals and heading down there for a night of primping and puckering. Bar and restaurant owners are suffering. So it makes sense to call in an ambulance sprinter. Texadelphia co-founder and former Dallas mayoral candidate Tom Landis has just unloaded his Deep Ellum Philly cheese steak outlet. "I love Deep Ellum," Landis says. "Met my wife in Deep Ellum." He sold it anyway--to attorney Steve Reese. You remember Reese, don't you? He's the lawyer whose firm Nemeth & Reese used to plaster the Yellow Pages with all manner of cover art and inserts wondering if you've struck a car-crash jackpot lately. Reese is getting into bars and restaurants as a kind of hobby, he says. Last summer he picked up the nightclub Seven from club operator Michael Morris (Martini Ranch, Margarita Ranch). Reese plans to transform the Texadelphia menu by upscaling it. "Dining with, obviously, hot waitresses," he says. "I want it to be a nice bar and grill to go look at pretty women." Reese, who says he will have the place transformed sometime in May, plans to call it Belly. "Fat guys that come in there have theirs, and my girls have theirs," he explains.
Eatzi's veterans Joe Goetze (Eatzi's opening executive chef) and Tiffany Darley (Eatzi's general manager) have joined Steve Servin, Gary Buehler and Brad Carpenter of Gil's Elegant Catering to spawn Dallas City Market, a 4,000-square-foot "European urban chic" home meal replacement hub. DCM also has wine, cheese, salads, flowers and coffee, all to be shuttled about in Danish-style shopping carts. It's due to settle on Lovers Lane just off the Tollway on April 21... Nicola's, which sat in the Dallas Galleria for some 10 years before it went dark last summer on account of the mall's face-lift, is set to open in early May in The Shops at Legacy. Nicola's plies "Italian rustica," stuff crafted by concept chef Vincenzo Idelicato. The new two-story restaurant features a dining room, patio and mezzanine. What it doesn't feature yet is a chef. Owner Richard Gussoni plans to use the new Nicola's as a template for expansion in other locations, thereby tying up Indelicato's whips...Drink this: It hits you in the face like a raspberry locomotive, but hang with the 2002 Valley of the Moon Sangiovese, and lots of cherry, plum and spice emerge from the rubble. In the mouth it teases with a clean minty grip. Sixteen bucks.