It didn't take long for it to succumb to the McKinney Avenue virus. Or was it those debilitating stout trots? Whatever it was, O'Dowd's Little Dublin appears to be on ice. Last week a simple sign on the door said as much, but it's hard to pin down what happened to the Irish pub so lavishly laid out with an interior crafted in Dublin including tile, woodwork and fixtures clipped from old Irish churches and schools. Opened early last year, O'Dowd's was the second (the first opened in Kansas City) in a pub string that was supposed to sprout spots near DFW International Airport, St. Louis and Tulsa. But those plans appear to have been nipped. The O'Dowd's project was reportedly launched by a group of Kansas City investors that included 315-pound Kansas City Chiefs center Tim Grunhard, who retired from the NFL this April, but the manager of the Kansas City version didn't know exactly who his employer was. And the onetime operator of the restaurants, Hanrahan Investments, played dumb, too. "We were on the acquisition team that opened it," explained Vicki Robertson of Hanrahan. "We haven't been associated with O'Dowd's for like a year." So who has been buying all of those kegs and potatoes?
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Lisa Balliet, onetime AquaKnox executive chef and culinary resuscitator of the Cock & Bull Wine Bar and Restaurant, has left the Lakewood pub. Balliet couldn't be reached for comment, but Cock & Bull owner Noel Graham says Balliet left to spend more time with her family...Shannon Wynne's 8.0 in Fort Worth has just introduced a new menu with things such as potato-plantain tilapia and a "killer pork chop," whose homicidal methodology remains undisclosed. (Here's hoping it isn't trichinosis.) But the menu, introduced by Brent Loving, who once worked under Kevin Rathbun at Stephan Pyles' Baby Routh and had a stint at Eatzi's in Oak Lawn, is more than just window dressing. Loving has been working with wandering chef Marc Haines (last seen at the defunct Fish) to beef up the food to give the restaurant portion of this bar/restaurant more oomph. Wynne, says Loving, is eager to open another 8.0 in Dallas...Gad, sometimes California pinot noir tastes more like sour cherry bubblegum than a musty frolic through a well-bred compost heap. But not the 1998 Charles Krug Napa Valley Pinot Noir. It has more wet manured dirt sensibilities and sultry little cherry rushes than some pinots with a heavy French accent. And all of this complex silkiness rings in at just $17 retail. Look for it before its vinified BO is just a memory.