Hash Over

Near-death star

FoodStar Restaurant Group's demise has been rumored for months, but just before it slipped into a coma, the firm that operates Mediterraneo, Toscana, and PoPoLos got a cash infusion from Chicago-based Clever Ideas Inc., a firm that drives the Diners' Club discount dining card program. The move was announced just after PoPoLos at The Quadrangle (formerly Mediterraneo at The Quadrangle) and PoPoLos at Preston Royal were shuttered. There's no word on specifics of the deal, except that President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Caolo Jr. has been replaced by Tim Hager, a retired consultant who was brought aboard by an investment banker involved in the restructuring. His immediate plans are to reopen PoPoLos at Preston Royal with the help of onetime PoPoLos operator Maury Jaffer, and revitalize Mediterraneo and Toscana. The Quadrangle space will remain closed. "We're going to invest more money to make them even better," Hager says. "But the David Holben menus at Toscana and Mediterraneo have been successful, and I have no intention of screwing them up." Hager was in talks with landlord Henry S. Miller Interests to get PoPoLos Preston Royal reopened by early this week. The firm locked FoodStar out of the spot for non-financial reasons, according to Hager. "That may sound strange, because landlords don't normally lock the doors on tenants for anything but financial reasons," he says. "But I feel confident that reason will prevail." Henry S. Miller Interests refused to comment. Hager adds that long-range plans call for expansion of all three restaurant concepts. Wasn't this the cause of the culinary catalepsy from the start?

Barclay bolts

Longtime Dallas chef Nick Barclay is calling it quits and will be closing Barclays Modern British Cuisine December 22. "I'm selling out and cashing in our chips, so to speak," he says. Barclay plans a move to England early next year to launch a hotel with his wife, Kelli, on the cliff tops along the country's west coast. He's currently in talks with his sous chef, Chris Peters, to take over the 3-year-old restaurant. If Peters doesn't come through, some eight or nine Dallas chefs are lined up behind him to get their mitts on the space. And chefs aren't the only ones lining up. Barclay says longtime customers are badgering him for hotel reservations. "I've got bookings for a hotel I haven't even got yet."

Mark Stuertz

E-mail Dish at [email protected].

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz