Born-again Baja

Baja California Grill, the Addison Tex-Mex mayhem opened last year by businessman Ken Franklin (former owner of Jaxx Café), bit the desert sands last December. But this past March, Franklin unloaded the hapless grill to a pair of new owners who have ambitiously set out to nudge it into upscale-casual territory. How are they doing this? "We have the coldest beer on tap," says new owner Brian Butkus. "Our beer is served at 25 to 26 degrees on tap. Each of our tapper heads cost $5,000." Butkus explains that these tappers, also installed at Jaxx Café, are known as Cobra Head tappers. The menu itself was converted into an eclectic mix of fly-over-country cuisine (tavern-style fried chicken and Chicago-style Italian beef) and Tex-Mex (beef fajitas, tacos and quesadillas made with prime rib to accompany margaritas made with Key lime juice). Butkus, who partnered with former Chaparral Club bar manager Luke Ptak to purchase Baja, also installed a stage for hosting live music five nights a week, high-definition televisions and music pumped through a surround-sound system.

Lime Bar, that watering hole that looks as if it were decorated by an army of tree frogs, is suspending its food service, excepting its Friday night buffet. "We wanted to kinda do some work on the menu and work on the quality of the food," says Lime Bar manager John Thomas. "It had gone down hill a little bit." The original menu, heavy on pizza, salads, quesadillas and burgers, was crafted by Marc Haines, a chef who has cooked at virtually every Dallas dining venue except the sushi bar at Tom Thumb. Lime Bar was launched in the Cedar Springs space that was once home to Angels in the Park and includes lime-green leatherette booths with lime-green tables, lime-green padded chairs and a hardwood floor stained lime green. Thomas says a new menu may be introduced in a few months...Donica Jimenez, a founder of Café Madrid, the tapas bar she opened in 1990, has just opened an ice cream parlor in Snider Plaza called Three Scoops. Jimenez, whose ex-husband Ildefonso Jimenez operates the tapas bar ¡Hola! on McKinney Avenue, says she named the parlor for her three children, Christanna, Santiago and Arabella. The parlor's 24 flavors range from Bailey's Irish Cream to bubble gum. Three Scoops also serves panini sandwiches with Spanish cheeses and serrano ham, but no fried smelt or marinated-octopus frozen yogurt.

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz