Sipango has a new chef: Cole Kelley, former Breadwinners night chef who has also had stints at The Mansion, Dakota's, Atlantic Cafe Too!, and Yegua Creek Brewery. Kelley replaces chef Marc Haines, who left the restaurant last month to lay the groundwork for an Internet enterprise dubbed Net*Chef, a Web-based personal-chef time-sharing service he's launching with millionaire Darwin Deason of Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS). But that's not all Haines has been doing since he took a hike from Sipango. He's also partnered with Bruce Kaminski of Longshots sports bar in Addison and picked up Gulf Coast Seafood & Steaks restaurant on Preston Road near Texas 121 in Frisco. He plans to reopen the spot as Soprano's on January 21, a venue that will sling "AmerItalian" cuisine (lasagna, ravioli, mostaccioli, manicotti, etc.), the kind of gooey Italian chow diners love to slurp and critics love to snoot.
In still more Sipango-related doings, Sipango managing partner Ron Corcoran says he chucked his interest in Savanna Grill, the Corte Madera, California, restaurant he and fellow Sipango partner Keith Jones netted from Seattle seafood chain McCormick & Schmick last February after rustling a half-million dollars from some 20 limited partners. Jones and Corcoran reopened the restaurant last spring after applying a sizable six-figure makeover to the 14-year-old restaurant. Though Savanna is on track to rake in some $2.5 million in annual sales, Corcoran says he couldn't justify plumping his frequent-flyer account with incessant forays to San Francisco, so he sold his share back to Jones for the price of his original investment.
It appears Barclays sous chef Chris Peters couldn't put a deal together to take over Barclays Modern British Cuisine before current chef-owner Nick Barclay serves the last meal at his namesake on December 22 -- not that that's a problem. Barclay says he's in heavy negotiations with at least 12 highly motivated suitors. "I'm duckin' and divin', bobbin' and weavin'," he says. "It's really quite a chess game, actually." Barclay must play chess with Evander Holyfield. Anyway, he insists everything will be sewn up before he bows out and treks back to England early next year to lay the groundwork for a boutique hotel. "Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to announce it to our last night's crowd, you see?" adds Barclay. "That would be the perfect opportunity to hand the torch over."
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