After plowing down the Hard Rock Café on McKinney Avenue and scraping the plot clean, Uptown developer Brett Landes is flexing his muscle with a 16-story boutique apartment complex rumored to have a couple of Dallas celebrity investors. Landes won't confirm the celebrity part, but he has partnered with former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach on a number of development projects since 1992. There are also rumors Landes has even bolder ambitions Uptown, but his lips are screwed down vice tight. Maybe that's because Landes took flak for tearing down the Hard Rock, which took shape in the circa 1906 McKinney Avenue Baptist Church building in 1986 after a reported $13 million renovation. Oh, and it was on Preservation Dallas' list of most endangered historic places. "There was nothing historic about it," insists Landes. "If people really knew about that building...it was nothing even remotely close to a 100-year-old church. The stucco was plastered to the brick. The only way you could take that stucco off was to take the brick out...and then you've got nothing left. So what do you have? You have a stucco'd Hard Rock. This is history?"
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Big changes at Paul Pinnell's upcoming Dali Wine Bar & Cellar in One Arts Plaza: Chef Marc Cassel is out. "We couldn't come to terms on certain things," Pinnell says. In Cassel's stead Pinnell says he has a chef from a top restaurant whom he refuses to name. But Pinnell does say Dali Wine Director Rudy Mikula (Hibiscus, Nove Italiano) will have a piece of Dali's general partnership...Also in One Arts: Scott Jones' (Café Italia) Screen Door has hired chef Fitzgerald Dodd (Star Canyon, Voltaire, Crescent Hotel and Hotel ZaZa) after his initial deal with former Melrose Hotel executive chef Joel Harloff fell through. Jones also confirmed that Screen Door's opening party will be hosted by Bon Appétit magazine...After more than eight years serving Cal-Ital in Travis Walk, Brian and Sonja Black's Il Sole Restaurant & Wine Bar is gone. The Blacks, who in early 2004 took over Mi Piaci in North Dallas from Brian's mother Janet Cobb, could not be reached for comment, but a message on Il Sole's answering machine suggests they are scouring for a new location.