Hooked Fish

Big Fish Little Fish Restaurant and Boathouse, the seafood shack on Henderson Avenue that managed to stay afloat since its 1998 launch before sinking last fall, will be raised in mid-April and reflagged Vickery Park. "It will not be a seafood restaurant, and it will not have the Big Fish Little Fish name," assures Sean Teele, who has taken over the space with Miles Zuniga, both consultants with no substantial restaurant or bar experience. Zuniga and Teele have tapped contractor and restaurateur Santiago Pena (Santiago's Taco Loco Express and Santiago's Cantina Dallas) to lightly retrofit the boathouse into "damn the torpedoes" form.

In case you haven't heard, America is fat: heart-swelling, vessel-popping, spare-Mack-tire fat. The landscape jiggles. The face of the land is a magnified orange peel of cellulite pits nestled in a network of stretch-mark ditches. How'd our national girth suffer such lard inflation? I blame speed food like Hardee's Monster Thickburger, a near three-quarters of a pound of double beef patties with bacon, cheese and mayonnaise ringing in at 1,418 calories. Lawyers seem to be blaming the Monster Thickburger and its ilk, too, now that they've spent all of their tobacco royalties. That's why the Texas Restaurant Association is throwing its weight behind Texas House Bill 107: an obesity litigation ban. "You have undoubtedly heard the constant drum roll of trial lawyers trying to blame restaurants for America's ballooning waistline," says a talking points sheet from the TRA. The bill would ban obesity lawsuits targeting Texas restaurants. "I just think it's absurd that you have to have a bill," adds Greater Dallas Restaurant Association Executive Director Tracey Evers. The TRA says 14 states already have enacted such lawsuit bans while an additional 20 are loaded with similar legislation. But here's the weird part: The Texas Trial Lawyers Association may belly up to the bill, too. Seems they fear an unseemly stain on their reputations if they are seen gorging at the bacon burger and mayo trough... Pandora Restaurant, the long-awaited "hip ambiance" spurt in Japanese trim, opened in the Purgatory nightclub complex on Main Street. Pandora boasts the city's largest robata grill plus a sushi bar and an elevated sake lounge... U.S. wine exports jumped some 28 percent in 2004, pulling $794 million. Juice volume also jumped 29 percent, marking some of the largest year-to-year value/volume increases ever, according to the Wine Institute. Top U.S. wine markets by value were the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany. Rounding the bottom of the top 25 were Finland, China, Norway, Australia and Bermuda. The feeble greenback gets the bulk of the credit for the surge, making U.S. wine a better "key price point" competitor.

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz

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