Restaurant Reviews

Hash Over

Old San Francisco
Old San Francisco Steak House, the San Antonio based restaurant chain featuring the "girl in the red velvet swing" where a young woman boards a bar swing every 45 minutes and kicks a pair of cow bells attached to the ceiling, has been snapped up. Almost. A $10 million-plus deal initiated by Restaurant Teams International Inc. has been delayed until mid-December. With $13.2 million in annual sales, the privately held, mid-priced Old San Francisco restaurant with an "1890s Barbary Coast-theme" operates units in Addison, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. It also licenses restaurants in Las Vegas and Atlanta, and another is scheduled to open next year in Oklahoma City. Old San Francisco's suitor, a publicly traded restaurant holding company, operates one Fresh n Lite Grill and Cafe and four Street Talk Cafes, and plans to open a fifth in Addison before the end of the year in the old Doolittle's location.

Hash Seasonings
Word is, the utilities were cut off last week at La Tasca Espanola, the Spanish tapas bar and restaurant at Lomo Alto and Lemmon that shut down a few weeks ago. Owners Sergio and Monica Olivares could not be reached for comment...Flowers & Fedele, a Dallas ad agency billing itself as an expert in "underdog advertising," just published Fedele's Guide to Civilized Dining. Partner Anthony Fedele says he developed the guide--which lists his favorite restaurants in nine categories--because he once subjected his mother to a meal at a trendy Dallas restaurant that generated suction so powerful, he feared his father would kill him. Fedele adds that he has eaten at every one of the listed spots and personally guarantees no meals will suck. So call (214) 219-2333, get the free guide, and take him up on it.

List Watch
Are wine prices threatened by banana snits? The Clinton Administration is poised to slap a 100 percent tariff on European wine imports if the European Union doesn't peel import restrictions on bananas from Latin America sold by U.S. companies. A final list of tariff-targeted products will be announced December 15, with tariffs effective February 1...Which wine goes best with a nuked burrito and a side of Goobers? 7-Eleven knows. Working with Beringer Estates, Kendall Jackson, E & J Gallo, and the Robert Mondavi Winery, the convenience store chain has just introduced in-store displays stocked with $6-$15 premium varietal bottlings along with wine and food pairing info. What's next, Sangiovese Slurpees?

--Mark Stuertz

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz