"I want to be a sustenance provider," says restaurant operator Shannon Wynne, dousing any desire he might harbor to slip into the upper crust of the dining-out biz. Wynne says he's spooked by the mid-to-upper levels, which suffered from dried-up expense accounts and a dismal tourist trade in the wake of September 11. So Wynne is shifting his focus to what he calls the "eat to live and drink to live" segments of the market, a segment minimally affected by things such as sheared airline flights and thin wallets. To that end, Wynne, the founder of 8.0 and the Flying Saucer Draught Emporiums, is in the process of launching the Flying Fish, a fast-casual seafood spot that slings fried catfish, shrimp, oysters and crab. Flying Fish, which Wynne likens to Hook, Line and Sinker, is set to open around the first of May in the Village on the Parkway, right behind his Flying Saucer restaurant. But this won't be the first Flying Fish. The inaugural version is under construction in Little Rock, Arkansas. Wynne also is assembling his 13th Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Shenanigans Seafood and Steakhouse is going back to the beginning. Last fall, Ram International, a Lakewood, Washington-based restaurant company, changed its Humperdink's Chophouse to Shenanigans, a restaurant Ram has had success with in the Pacific Northwest for roughly two decades. But Dallas didn't bite. "People have not responded to the Shenanigans name," says Shenanigans/Humperdink's manager Ricky Nichols. So the spot on the Dallas North Tollway with the two-story back bar has reverted to Humperdink's Chophouse. Ram has about five other concepts, so maybe that spot on the tollway will change a few more times...James Johnson has been tapped as chef de cuisine for Paris Vendome, the restaurant Mico Rodriguez of the M Crowd/Restaurant Life plans to open in mid-March in the West Village. Johnson has done stints at the Mansion on Turtle Creek as well as the Platinum Club at the American Airlines Center. Rodriguez also has pulled in Alex Jureeratana as "managing partner." Jureeratana, formerly maître d' and restaurant manager at the Mansion, will focus primarily on Citizen...The Wine Institute released data showing that total wine shipments to the U.S. market from all production sources hit some 569 gallons in 2001, a 1 percent uptick over 2000. The data also show that consumers are thirsty for chardonnay, which jumped 8 percent in 2001, accounting for 27 percent of wine sales revenues in supermarkets. Chardonnay handily edged out merlot (14 percent), cabernet sauvignon (12 percent) and white zinfandel (9 percent).