Tom Fleming will open his new restaurant in the Hotel Palomar, which, for the moment, doesn't look anywhere as nice (or as small) as this drawing.

Dueling Boutiques

Chef Tom Fleming (Lombardi Mare, Lobster Ranch, Pappas Bros., etc.) is in fit kitchen-whip trim. He's ready to launch Central 214, the new regional American restaurant set for a September opening in Kimpton Hotel's boutique lodge Hotel Palomar on Mockingbird Lane and North Central Expressway. Apparently, this is a burgeoning fit of Kimpton area-code fetishism, as the hotel management company also operates 312 Chicago wedged near its Hotel Allegro in the city's loop. Fresh from his two-and-a-half year duty tour at the Old Hickory in the Gaylord Texan--where former Ciudad founding chef Joanne Bondy is the Old Hickory's new executive chef after taking a post as the Gaylord's executive conference center chef--Fleming will indulge in an exhibition kitchen and a huge gas-fired rotisserie tucked in what he calls a "real sexy Paul Draper design." His side as sous chef is Carl Strelecki, a former principal in chef Tim Byres' ever-rumored-to-be-closing Standard.

Meanwhile, down the street the 52-room boutique Hotel Lumen throbs in the remains of the old rundown Ramada Limited at Hillcrest Road near Mockingbird Lane with its restaurant Social headed by former Crescent Court chef Jon Schwarzenberger. (Mockingbird is fast becoming the ultimate Dallas thoroughfare chokepoint.) The project, originally headed by Trece founder Robert Colombo and dubbed the Hillcrest Hotel (planned with the speakeasy Tattler's), is owned by Headington Oil Co. LP, a small Dallas-based oil and natural gas drilling firm. Headington is also an investor in the seemingly moribund $40 million (it was supposed to open earlier this year but has been pushed to 2007) Joule Urban Resort downtown on Main Street. --Mark Stuertz

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