Bizu kisses off

Hash Over

It's long been rumored that Bizú, Alberto Lombardi's Dallas-French bistro on McKinney, was sluggish. But the folks at Lombardi's Inc., including Lombardi himself, have for weeks denied that any change was afoot. Then Bizú, which means "little kiss" in French, closed its doors this past Saturday. The stylishly chic bistro will reopen in two weeks or so as the more causal Mangia e Bevi, which means eat and drink in Italian, and will serve bocconcini, or "small mouthfuls," sort of an Italian version of tapas. Not only that, but the restaurant will be split in half, the other side being reincarnated as Lombardi's Pizzeria. If all this commotion isn't a desperate attempt to avert the kiss of death, then what is it? "It's the changes in the neighborhood," says a Lombardi's spokeswoman who insists the move wasn't driven by slack revenue. "There's more people, more street traffic, more people looking for a neighborhood type of place. So they're deciding to take a more casual approach with it."

Other births and deaths

After 15 years in operation, Gershwin's, the New American restaurant on Walnut Hill Lane and Greenville, has shuttered. A note on the door composed by Michael Maguire, president of the investment firm that ran the restaurant, says that while Gershwin's has always been profitable, a careful review of the restaurant and current real estate trends led to a decision to retire the concept...Shelly Dowdy, formerly of the FoodStar Restaurant Group and "significant other" of onetime FoodStar President Michael Caolo, is launching a '50s-style cabaret. Venus Steakhouse & Supper Club will open this June on Lemmon Avenue at Douglas in a space that once held a TGI Friday's. Billed as a "ultra swank, elegant, and sexy," Venus will feature cheek-to-cheek dancing between courses and the "four Venus food groups: fine cigars, cognacs, Champagnes, and caviars." Heartburn for the lascivious...Avanti Euro Bistro, sibling to Jack Ekhtiar's Avanti Ristorante and Avanti Restaurant, Fountain Place, is set to open March 20 in Addison...Lola, the restaurant that slipped into the spot once occupied by Barclays, is now open. So is Maury Jaffer's resurrected PoPoLos.

Cork wars

Fort Worth attorney and wine journalist Sterling Steves isn't fazed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's vote to challenge a federal court decision declaring Texas' ban on direct wine shipments to consumers unconstitutional. He's confident that U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon's February 11 preliminary ruling will prevail. "I'm very optimistic," he says. "The opinion is an excellent opinion."

Mark Stuertz


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