Hash Over

Raw feelings
Scott Melton thinks he got a raw deal. "It was kind of chicken shit," he says. Melton, who recently opened Sushi Nights on Main Street in Deep Ellum, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April for Sushi Deep Ellum Inc., the general partnership he formed to operate Deep Sushi on Elm nearby and hold the restaurant's liquor license and lease. Last June, Deep Sushi's limited partners, a group of 10 or so anesthesiologists and other human meat menders, gave Melton the boot. Not only that, they stiffed him, he says. "They left me holding the bag for $57,000 worth of unpaid taxes. So I filed bankruptcy." According to Melton, when his partners slipped him the pink, they stuck him with a considerable liability, including utilities and vendor bills in addition to taxes--charges Melton disputes. Why'd they boot him in the first place? "That's a good question. I have no idea," says Melton, who maintains he still has a limited partner interest in Deep Sushi. He adds: "It's an adversarial interest I'd say at this point." How adversarial? "We're attempting to put some demands together right now," he sniffs, hinting at upcoming legal action. Kind of puts a little twist on the "sue" in "sushi."

Cobb breaks big ground
Is Phil Cobb nuts? While other mid- to upscale restaurateurs are nervously watching their sales flatten, the Mi Piaci owner is gambling on a $3 million, 9,000-square-foot upscale Italian eatery to be built from the ground up. On McKinney yet. "They're digging a 7-foot hole right now," he says. After securing financing with Texas Capital Bank and a lease pact with the Trammell Crow Co., Cobb, his wife Janet, and Mi Piacci partner David Stubblefield are building an as yet unnamed, free-standing restaurant on McKinney and Pearl, right smack in front of Trammell Crow's new 2100 McKinney Ave. high-rise office development. "We're going big...It's a bold corner," stresses Cobb. "I don't think it would be appropriate to do a timid 3,000-square-foot mom-and-pop thing." And timid it ain't. A modest departure from Mi Piaci, the restaurant will feature take-out at lunch with wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches, a large bar, and an open air courtyard in the center of the structure. Watch for an early November opening. Maybe Cobb's crazy, but history is packed with loony contrarians who end up with bags of booty.

--Mark Stuertz

E-mail Dish at markstz@flash.net.


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