Legal Choke

The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this month that Phil and Janet Cobb's Salve! was choked off by lawsuits. (Apparently this admission was contained in a press release that a manager at the Cobbs' Mi Piaci refused to provide to the Observer stating it was crafted exclusively for DMN critic Dotty Griffith. Cobb did not return calls for comment.) It turns out the lawsuit was filed by Phil Cobb in a move to prevent Texas Capital Bank from foreclosing on two pieces of Cobb's real estate he used to secure a $375,000 letter of credit required by Salve!'s landlord, 2100 McKinney Land Development. That credit device expired April 29, and Cobb received word that the landlord would draw upon the funds if it wasn't replaced. Cobb was in the process of moving the letter of credit to Oaks Bank & Trust, which required just one of his two securing properties as collateral. According to court documents, Cobb intended to borrow against the released property to pump cash into Salve! to keep it from shutting down. Though he couldn't save the restaurant, Cobb was able to obtain a restraining order on July 1 (the day the restaurant closed) to prevent Texas Capital Bank from dumping his properties at a foreclosure sale the next day. Judge Carlos Lopez is expected to rule on the dispute July 29.

City Café owner Mardi Schma put a stop to the rumors circulating around Dallas that she has put her 17-plus-year-old Dallas restaurant on the block. Well, sort of. "The rumor is not totally true," she says before correcting herself. "I'm sorry. It is not true." But two sources inside the restaurant claim it is true. "There's been various people in here that she's been talking to," says one source. Among those supposedly scoping the place out are a once-prominent Dallas restaurant general manager and his "investment group," who have been hitting the restaurant frequently to observe operations...The Branding Iron, a full-service restaurant serving things such as chicken-fried steak, grilled salmon and pasta primavera, has opened at the Firewheel Golf Park in Garland, a municipal shootout. The hot dog/hamburger/fries departure is the work of Executive Chef Isaac Walker, who has had sous chef stints at the Dallas Westin Galleria and Doubletree hotels. In August, the Branding Iron will inaugurate Monday-night wine tastings and a five-course dinner to solicit customer input for menu selections. Hope there's no left hooks in there...Brava Latin Café, which opened with a whisper some two months ago in the Deep Ellum space that harbored Pepe's and Mito's for the last several years, has closed with a whimper. The short-lived Brava had a provocative menu focusing on Southern Mexican cuisine speckled with Mayan-inspired creations and fused Spanish and American Indian fare.

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