200 mph T-bone

By the time you read this, a deal most likely will have been struck to drop a Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House into the former Star Canyon space in the Centrum Building, which has been vacant since Carlson Restaurants yanked its plug in mid-2003. Del Frisco's co-founder and vice president, Dee Lincoln, says the space will be gutted and then expanded by moving one wall into the Centrum courtyard, boosting square footage from 7,000 to some 8,800 when it opens this fall. But that's not the only thing that's moving. Del Frisco's parent, Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon, announced a multiyear deal with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) to sponsor one of its mostly left-turning commuter vehicles. The No. 40 car, to be driven by rookie David Stremme, will debut in Lone Star garb at the 2006 Daytona 500. Lone Star will feature its steak concepts (Sullivan's, Texas Land & Cattle, Del Frisco's) in 17 of the season's 36 Nextel Cup races, sharing primary sponsorship with Coors Light. Though she disputes it's a worrisome omen, the No. 40 car went up in flames last Sunday during the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

This is curious: Thomas Gilliland, co-founder of Fonda San Miguel in Austin, dispersed a thinly veiled "cease and desist" letter to Texas media and various culinary luminaries (Stephan Pyles and Rick Bayless, among others) lamenting the pending opening of Ron Guest's Café San Miguel, named after the Mexican city. "My strong feeling is that there will be confusion between Fonda SAN MIGUEL in Austin and Casa [sic] SAN MIGUEL in Dallas," Gilliland writes. "I would like you to consider renaming your new restaurant to avoid this confusion." Guest, who hasn't seen the letter because it was mailed to Café La Duni instead of Café San Miguel, was befuddled. "How do you copyright San Miguel?" he asks. Though Guest's partner Jesús Carmona has since left the restaurant, he's hired a chef: Café Pacific alumnus Fernando Marrufo...Last week, The Dallas Morning News reported that chef Marc Haines (North-South, Sipango) had joined Keith Black's (Blue, Lime) Che, the massive nightclub and restaurant set to open on Technology Boulevard. Not so, Haines says. He says he merely assembled a menu and hired the kitchen staff, a part of his job as a representative for Sysco Foodservices. Haines says the report, apparently based on a Che press release trumpeting his arrival, raised the ire of his Sysco bosses. "It was not a fun day," he says... Hamburger Mary's, the small San Francisco-based burger chain that slipped a franchised unit onto Lemmon Avenue in early 2004 in the former 36 Degrees location, has closed.

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz

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