Colombo's Big O

Restaurateur Robert Colombo (Trece, the upcoming The Club Dining & Drinks) is dedicating his next project to the elusive "O." Not that "O," but "O" as in organic and maybe ocean and original too. On June first, Colombo got ahold of the Samba Room space after Orlando-based E-Brands let it go dark. "They felt the concept had run its course," Colombo says. "They decided they didn't have another concept that would fit in there. So voilà, there it came." Colombo plans to christen it Villa O, an Italian "pasteria" featuring pastas made with organic flour cooked in a pasta cooker before transfer to a wok with various sauces and organic vegetables and meats. "You blast pasta with this intense heat and flavor and out it goes," Colombo says.

But organic foodstuffs aren't the whole O. Colombo is also implementing an Italian water purification and gasification system to make Dallas tap drinkable in both still and sparkling versions. Villa O also boasts an exclusively Italian wine list (save for French bubbles) with 50 selections at bottle prices under $100 available by-the-glass and in decanted half-bottles. Villa O should open by November...if Colombo doesn't fake it.

Meanwhile, E-Brands plans to invigorate its portfolio (now at 14 restaurants in six states) that includes Timpano Chophouse, Samba Room, Salsa Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Aquaknox, Bossa, Taqueria Canonita and David Burke Modern American Cuisine, mostly by proliferating the Stephan Pyles-founded AquaKnox (currently in the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas but soon to hit Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa) while it ponders the fate of its three remaining three Samba Rooms... Jamee Green admits she lobbies for a hobby. "My dad started me at a very young age," says Green, whose father is a ranch-owning Republican activist. That's good, because as the new executive director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association she's going earn most of her keep hobnobbing with politicos at the state and local level. Green, who took the post from the departing Tracey Evers, was most recently at the Real Estate Council, the nonprofit consortium of commercial real estate practitioners that is behind the planned $90 million Woodall Rogers Deck—a plaza, park, pavilion and gardens suspended over the Woodall Rogers Freeway between St. Paul and Pearl streets...Sommelier Drew Hendricks is gone from Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. He'll plumb for riches at the elusive Joule Urban Resort downtown in a restaurant under development by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, whose flagship restaurant Aureole boasts a 40-foot wine tower tended by "wine angels" in black cat suits who retrieve wines by flying around the Tower on theatrical wires.

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