Gumbo Jazzmatazz

Greenville Avenue Seafood & Jazz actually opened December 7, but the official grand opening was just this week. Why the delay? Pipes. Wires. Fixtures. And too few nickels. "This is my first restaurant venture," says Jason McCoy, 29, a Southern Methodist University MBA grad and former software consultant. And GA Seafood & Jazz is the second brick in the entertainment empire McCoy hopes to be nickeling and diming into fruition. The first one was Zephyrs, a nightclub on Sears Street that generated enough nickels, dimes and C-notes to make GA Seafood & Jazz possible. "That place has kind of been a goldmine," he says. That's why when Nero's went up for sale after serving Greenville Italian for more than 20 years, McCoy was there with some Zephyrs proceeds. He set out to craft a Cajun, French Quarterish restaurant with jazz seven nights (henceforth reduced to six, deleting Mondays) featuring the likes of Ricki Derek & the New Orleans Gumbo Kings. Heard of them? Chef is Duane Miller, a recent culinary art grad from the Art Institute of Dallas plus a couple of Katrina transplants to tune the menu into French Quarter authenticity. What's next? "I gotta start recouping some of my expenses that I've sunk into this place," he says, though he admits to being smitten by 300 Dallas, the upscale casual restaurant and nightclub cum bowling alley in Addison. Might Lower Greenville start bowling for beluga?

N9NE, Nobu, Nove, Kenichi, Craft, BLT Steak. It was only a matter of time before these multi-unit power-plates from out of town started drawing blood. Tristan Simon, who has been struggling to get his new Porch restaurant on Henderson Avenue aloft (will open in a week for sure...maybe), says he's having a helluva time finding qualified warm bodies to staff it. And then there is Iris, Susie Priore's polished neighborhood restaurant that shuttered just before April Fool's Day. "I just did everything I could, and I just couldn't do it anymore," Priore says through tears. "I just couldn't manage that kind of operation by myself...Finally, it just took its toll." Priore says that despite great reviews, the installation of former Lola tasting room chef Matt Bresnan and a loyal neighborhood following, the crowds slowly bled away. Competition that had once been stiff gradually turned blistering and unrelenting. Priore, who founded Iris in 2003 after a Peace Corps mission to Morocco was scuttled in the wake of 9/11, opened her much praised namesake Suze in 1999 before selling it to former Toscana chef Gilbert Garza a year later. Will she do another? "Oh, God, no," she sighs. "If I ever try this again I hope my friends will take me out and shoot me."


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