Pastry chef David Brawley has rolled and caromed like a food-service pinball of late. First he cut loose from Phil and Janet Cobb's Salve!. Then he made his way far up north to The Mercury, Mico Rodriguez's flashy new restaurant in the Shops at Willow Bend. But that gig quickly went south. "I got called in after three weeks of being there, and George [Majdalani] just kind of explained to me that they couldn't afford to keep a pastry chef on the payroll," he says. "I'm still puzzled by it a little bit." But things came together for him right away. He slipped into Patrick Colombo's Ferré Ristorante for a one-week consulting fling working once again with former Salve! Executive Chef Kevin Ascolese while in the midst of haggling for a slot at Kent Rathbun's Abacus. Turns out the little one-week stay at Ferré suddenly took on the air of permanence. The question Brawley raises now is how did The Dallas Morning News get wind of it before he did? The News announced Brawley's new slot last Friday. "I'm still a bit puzzled over Dotty's [Griffith] mention, since no one at the restaurant spoke to me about expanding my consultant status until last Friday afternoon," says Brawley in an e-mail. "And no agreement was reached until Saturday. Either she knew something I didn't, or 'rejoin' was an all-purpose, but ultimately correct, choice of verbs," he adds, referring to Griffith's description of his new link with Ascolese. Funny how verbs work.
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It's also funny--a strange funny flirting with the tragic--how many in the restaurant business are nervous. Yet in the midst of all of this distressed revery, a flock of new spots is set to open. Perry's Restaurant threatens to open this month in the former Ruggeri's space, ironically enough dressed in Romanesque duds (columns, arches etc). Humperdink's Chophouse on the Dallas North Tollway has been chopped up by parent Ram International and replaced by Shenanigans Seafood and Steakhouse. And restaurateur Patrick Colombo plans to add to his West Village holdings (Ferré) with Cru, a wine bar that should open around December 1. Not really related and hopefully not an unnerving premonition, Traci's restaurant on Thomas Avenue seems to have shuttered for good. Owner Traci Ford planned to stay open until this month and scour Dallas for a new location as quaint as the Victorian she opened in some four years ago. She was forced to leave her current location to give way to a boutique hotel development. But a message on the restaurant's answering machine speaks of finality, advertising an estate sale November 8 and 9 with the restaurant's antiques, art and equipment to go on the block.