Down but not out
Despite the hasty reopening plans proffered by Tim Hager, who was fingered to keep FoodStar Restaurant Group from withering into oblivion, PoPoLos restaurant remains locked up. And it probably won't reopen anytime soon, at least under the FoodStar moniker. Former PoPoLos owner Maury Jaffer of Jaffer Investments is apparently close to plucking the restaurant from the FoodStar fold. "I can't discuss, nor would I want to discuss, all of the terms and conditions of how Mr. Jaffer is going to reopen PoPoLos," says Hager, "but he is." Jaffer is a bit more circumspect. "I haven't made up my mind 100 percent yet," he cautions. But he adds that if everything goes his way, he'll sink serious sums to purchase, renovate, and reopen the spot by December 1. What about Toscana and Mediterraneo, FoodStar's other holdings? Despite persistent rumors that they're flirting with brain death (Toscana dropped lunch service last week), Hager says the company is poised to announce new plans for the restaurants in a few days, a move perhaps designed to ride out momentum. Last week, USA Today named Toscana one of 10 great places in America to nibble Italian fare.
Former Mansion maître d' Wayne Broadwell is one mirthful dining steward. "We're just diggin' life over here," he blurts. Broadwell is currently serving as quasi-manager of Mi Piaci while he immerses himself in Salve!, Phil and Janet Cobb's new Italian restaurant on McKinney Avenue and Pearl, where he'll be manager and maître d' when it opens early next year. But wait a minute -- what happened to the Villa on Maple, Broadwell's temple of dining opulence slated to emerge from the Lloyd Paxton antiques gallery before year's end? "It's dead," says Broadwell. But wait just another minute. Didn't Broadwell boast that he'd purchased the Lloyd Paxton property for more than $2.5 million and was financially lubricated to birth an upscale grill called Lucille's, a bistro-bar called the Tack Room, and a speakeasy called the Electric Room, all in Mockingbird Station, by the end of '99? Seems this was just premature swaggering. Broadwell contends the projects were strangled by the $1 million price tag tied to Villa parking provisions. Not so, says David Nichols of David Griffin & Co. Realtors., who was involved in the Lloyd Paxton transaction. Nichols says Broadwell simply couldn't firm up his financing and let the contract on the property wither (Lloyd Paxton is still for sale) while he failed to follow through on an agreement to lease parking space from Scottish Rite Hospital. No matter, Broadwell is born again. Salve! is his salvation.
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— Mark Stuertz