Jeffrey Yarbrough's separation at birth from actor Edward Norton isn't the only significant detachment in his life. He's also split from his lucrative club business, which he characterizes as a distraction from his true calling. "My focus in my life is food," he insists. "I have gotten sidetrack after sidetrack being in the live music business, being in the nightclub business, being the nightclub guy when my passion is food and wine." So in service to his jones, Yarbrough sold his nightclub complex to the operators of the Curtain Club, which include Deep Ellum stalwarts Sam Paulos, Doug Simmons and Ed LaMonica. Yarbrough got involved in this sidetrack in 1990 when he partnered with Club Clearview founder Jeff Swaney. Then in the mid-1990s, Yarbrough bought Swaney's interest in the operation, which gradually morphed into a Deep Ellum nightlife collective comprising Club Clearview, Open, Blind Lemon, Art Bar, Red and Black Light Room. Yarbrough is evacuating Deep Ellum, too, moving his offices near Bachman Lake to be closer to his restaurant Liberty, located at Lovers Lane and Inwood Road. He says the Asian noodle house will be his chief focus and he plans to reopen his Houston location this fall, which was shuttered because of street construction. Yarbrough is also raising money and scouting locations for a fast-casual Asian concept he has had up his sleeve for some time. "I want to take advantage of this Asian thing," he says. "It's hittin' on all cylinders right now." Yet at least a couple of Yarbrough's cylinders have been diverted to flesh-pressing. He's launched a marketing and public relations firm with his longtime marketer Susan Friedman. Dubbed FYI (Friedman Yarbrough Ink.), the firm's clients include Mercy wine bar, Liberty and Preferred Restaurant Services, a restaurant management, insurance, accounting and consulting firm run by Sfuzzi alumnus Dean McSherry.
Jason Gorman says he was stunned to learn he was booted from City Café last month. "They told me they wanted a new chef," Gorman says. But new owner Karim Alaoui has a slightly different take. What happened? "Nothing really," he says. "I guess he's looking for something else...It was a mutual decision." Alaoui says he's currently interviewing for Gorman's replacement. And Gorman says he's close to closing a deal with an unnamed Dallas restaurant...After roughly two and a half months in mothballs, the Riviera has been resuscitated, sans chef Michael Marshall and general manager Hector Garcia. "We had to get reorganized and come up with a new business plan," says Rivera founder Paul Low, adding that the menu has been modified to include affordable items to widen its gustatory reach.
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