After sitting vacant since February with little more than a flock of non-rent-paying origami birds hanging from the ceiling to keep it occupied, the space that once housed Anzu, that hip, cutting-edge (at the time) Japanese/Pacific Rim exploit that shuttered after a bankruptcy filing, has been taken over. The prime McKinney Avenue-near-Knox Street location has become the purview of Espartaco Borga, who presumably plans to shoot down the paper birds before he transforms the confines into a Latin brasserie. Borga was the co-founder of the ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food chain, which Arby's bit into in 1995 as part of a strategy to dual-brand the roast beef and tortilla concepts. (Arby's parent took a 12.5-percent stake with options to acquire up to 50 percent more of the tiny Mexican chain.) Predictably, the synergy floundered in the flatus of bitter dueling lawsuits two years later. Borga was also involved in the founding of Lavendou, the Far North Dallas restaurant founded by Chez Gerard owner Pascal Cayet. Now Borga, who couldn't be reached for comment as he was traveling in South America, plans to revamp and re-energize the Anzu space and call it La Duni.
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You've heard of peripatetic chefs. There are a lot of them: Avner Samuel and Marc Haines being the primary examples (though the both of them have been pretty stable over the last several months). Yet general managers have this propensity too. Take Steve Occhipinti. He's swum with Fish, hobnobbed with Cobb at Mi Piacci, flung prime flesh at Del Frisco's and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, and ogled goldfish bowls at Lombardi Mare. Now he's pegged the next entry on his résumé on Texas de Brazil, the Brazilian churrascaria where gauchos wander around with skewers of dripping meat and force you to eat the stuff until your heart becomes a prime source of Caribbean vacations for your cardiologist. Occhipinti has taken over as general manager of the Cedar Springs location, a sibling to the Addison and Fort Worth Texas de Brazils...Rockfish Seafood Grills has just sprung a sixth location in North Richland Hills, which will be commandeered by Barry Bisset, who will assume the roll of chef/partner. The company has also named Debbie Norman Breard (formerly of the Container Store and Blockbuster Video) as director of new store development. In this role, Breard will scout for land and negotiate leases and new store construction as the school of Rockfish breeds like bunnies. Over the next two months, Rockfish will open a pair of additional locations: One in Round Rock, and in January Rockfish will open at Mockingbird Station.