Let It Shine

Grand Lux Café, the upscale casual diner invented by Calabasas Hills, California-based The Cheesecake Factory Inc. , is being fitted into the Galleria in the north part of a pair of expansion wings flanking the Westin Hotel. The only other cities with Grand Lux are Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, which is somewhere near Hollywood. But that isn't the only restaurant to be shoehorned into the North Dallas shopping temple. At least two more restaurant deals--famous names from out-of-state operators--are "out for signature," or so says Galleria spokeswoman Angie Freed. This is all part of big mall nip-and-tuck. "It's massive," Freed says. "No surface on the inside will remain untouched." That includes handrails, floors and ceilings and the ice rink, which could mean it will get a hockey team power-forwarding in strappy Manolo Blahnik skates. What's certain is that the retrofit will bring Dallas the world's first Celine boutique dedicated solely to accessories and shoes. And there will be a new level-three "food cluster. "

Alexander Kybett, the chef who elbowed his way through some of Dallas' most power-tabled restaurants, including the late Star Canyon, the late Salvé! and Il Sole, is "Gettin' da' hell outta' Dodge, partner!" as he puts it in an e-mail. His stint as executive chef of Urban Tapas, the small-plates purveyor in The Village at Colleyville, a kind of tinker toy downtown, has come to an end. Kybett is currently panning for nosh gold in Phoenix. Urban Tapas owner Zach Hopkins says he has no immediate plans to replace Kybett, and he's taking over as kitchen manager and working the crew Kybett trained through a few menu changes. "I can cook," Hopkins says, "but I wouldn't call myself a chef by any means."... Peter Tarantino had hoped to be the first tenant to slip into the ground floor of the circa-1926 Davis Building on Main Street, which recently underwent a $36 million retrofitting with lofts and retail space. He had ambitions to craft a Spanish restaurant called Cava on the ground floor with his brother Patrick. But the consulting chef for Django says he had to shelve (temporarily, he insists) the project after the downtown buzz started wheezing, a fact underscored by the recent shuttering of Monica Greene's nascent Mexican restaurant Pegaso. Tarantino says he had a devil of a time parting money from potential investors. "We would go into certain establishments downtown on a Thursday night and there'd be four tables in there," he says of his venture capital-courting process. "And here I am trying to tell them downtown's happening."

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