PoPoLos is getting mouth-to-mouth. And once it's breathing, it will get a desperately needed facelift and tummy tuck and will reopen in mid-December. At least that's what old/new owner Maury Jaffer plans. Jaffer just purchased the Preston-Royal restaurant after selling it to the now desperately troubled FoodStar Restaurant Group some 19 months ago. "We're going to redo the restaurant inside and out," Jaffer says. "It's been really run-down." To help build it up, Jaffer brought in some old/new blood. He has hired onetime PoPoLos chef Los Akins and has given him a stake in the thing. He also hired onetime PoPoLos chef Abraham Castillo -- who had stints at City Café and the defunct Centrum bungle known as Jungle Red -- to help Akins. But Jaffer says he's flirting with a name change. "I'm really caught betwixt and between," he admits. "The tragedy of it is that the previous owners [FoodStar] took the name and tried to save their restaurant down in the Quadrangle. And of course they lost that."
Rumors have been gurgling for weeks. Phil Romano and Patrick Colombo, the pair of Dallas restaurant veterans who launched Nick & Sam's, naming it after their toddler sons to whom they intended to leave it someday, split after a caustic fracas. Colombo denies the fracas part, but says there's definitely a rift. "Philip and I are discussing some things right now, and we may decide to separate," he says. Colombo cites the pressures of his executive position with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts along with an urge to pursue other Dallas restaurant concepts as reasons for the pondered split. He insists there's no bad blood between him and Romano. "I wouldn't want anything negative to happen to Nick and Sam's. My son's name is still on it." Imagine the imbroglio if his toddler gets hold of a lawyer.
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After just a few months navigating the subtle vicissitudes of "global water cuisine," AquaKnox executive chef Jason Gorman is jumping ship. The former Grape chef will mingle with the "M Crowd," taking command of the kitchen at The Mercury as of November 15. "As much as I like working with Stephan [Pyles] and Michael [Cox], things have changed since I've been here," says Gorman, who admits he got bogged down in the administrative demands of the job. "I'd rather just be in the kitchen cooking."
— Mark Stuertz
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