Spreading Herd

What is it about steak that seems to turn this town into a one-note culinary tuba? It's cliché to say that every time you turn around there's another steakhouse. The mystery is where all these steak houses are getting their steaks. Steers are not bunnies, though some people consider themselves foxes. Gene Street, Dallas restaurant legend and chairman of Consolidated Restaurant Cos., has teamed up with Del Frisco's/III Forks founder Dale Wamstad to launch a new steakhouse called The Silver Fox. The upscale-ish joint will serve prime steaks, lobster, and pastas along with an extensive list of fine wines to wash it all down and to keep the per-person check average lofty. Yet this is a formula every drooling beef hawker tries to finesse. What makes Silver Fox different? Well, it seems Street and Wamstad are going to plug the restaurant into second-tier cities with cheaper real estate, team with local operators, and convert under-performing restaurants to the concept. Hence Grapevine. "We're going to put a lot of money into it," says Street. "The way we've looked at it out there, there's no competition in the steak business other than Kirby's [Southlake], which is doing really well." The Grapevine unit will emerge from a Good Eats restaurant at William D. Tate Avenue and Highway 114. The spot closed last Sunday and will open as The Silver Fox sometime in April. Street, whose Consolidated Restaurant bought into Wamstad's III Forks earlier in the year, says the restaurant will be small, dark, and clubby. "I think every operator in America would love to have a small 220-seat restaurant like Bob's Chop House, where when it's full it looks like it's action-packed," he says. "Not that we're copying Bob's." Initial Silver Fox target cities include Kansas City and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Pays to advertise: Whoa. The lengths some places will go to ply their hooch. Take Caribbean Red, the Latin fusion restaurant and bar in Addison. A couple of weeks ago an ad ran in the Dallas Observer announcing a few special happy-hour nights at Caribbean Red: Tuesday is fake-boob night; Wednesday is slut night, followed by drug-dealer Thursday. "That was an attention-getter," says owner Anthony Bermea. "I'll tell you what, we got all walks of life in here." Funny thing, though, the ad ran for only one week. It seems some of Bermea's more prominent party clients were a little put-off by the clever ad. "I kind of got kicked in the side a bit," he says. Let's hope they missed the silicone.


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