The question isn't why it happened. It's why it took so long. After a yearlong decline marked by key employee exits, bankruptcy, legal spats, canceled lunch service, and a period without a liquor license during which booze was dispensed for free, Toscana on McKinney Avenue served its last meal this past Saturday. Yet it's possible the onetime FoodStar Restaurant Group (Toscana, Mediterraneo, PoPoLos) venue could reopen if a viable buyer is unearthed. "There have been a number of buyers who have approached me to buy Toscana," says Tim Hager, president of Shared Vision, the corporation that scooped up FoodStar's assets. "But nobody's come up with the money and the right price." So Hager is laying plans to reopen the restaurant with new duds. To that end, he's purchased Ianos Trattoria at Coit and Arapaho to secure the talents of Ianos chef Robert Austin. Hager won't confirm the tenor of the transformation, but sources say it will be another outbreak of McKinney's little French epidemic called Provence.
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Speaking of FoodStar spinouts, PoPoLos owner Maury Jaffer says he'll reopen the shuttered restaurant the first week of March after extensive renovations. "We gutted it, to say the least," says Jaffer. "We just had to do the restaurant in its entirety, because they [FoodStar] were such pigs." To help polish the sty, Jaffer hired Louis Bougazelli (III Forks, Fish) and former Barclays manager Ann Spicer...Speaking still further of FoodStar, former FoodStar President Michael Caolo says he's mulling an upscale Asian fusion concept in Frisco he describes as a notch above P.F. Chang's...See-Worthy Restaurants, parent of RockFish Seafood Grills, just shed Mother Pearls Seafood House and Oyster Bar on Lemmon Avenue. The restaurant was picked up by Jesse Trautmann and James Hamilton, ex-Dave & Busters employees, who purchased Mother along with the real estate after successfully managing it since last August...Avi Adelman, petulant founder of neighborhood activist group the Barking Dogs of Lower Greenville, is attempting to sour the opening of Milkbar, the brainchild of Sambuca founders Kim and Holly Forsythe to be birthed in the former Dragonfly space. Adelman has filed protests with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to gum up issuance of Milkbar's liquor license, claiming the bar will wreck the neighborhood with intolerable parking headaches. Adelman's life mission is to fight any restaurant or bar owner planning a Lower Greenville location. "You better check with the neighbors first before you lease space," he vows, "because you're going to have some problems here."