Savor Sever

On Saturday evening, the last meal will be served at Savory. The closing wasn't caused by the usual suspect--a lack of dollars. Heck, co-owner Joe Hickey (with Jonathan Calabrese) says they turned a profit of $6,000 to close the year. No, they were felled by a legal maneuver. Savory subleased space evenings in the Legal Grounds coffee shop, and owner Cory Murphy, perhaps getting a sniff of that six grand, wants to try her hand at a dinner restaurant. Still, Savory may be exhumed. Hickey says he's been approached by a couple of property owners to reopen the restaurant somewhere in Lakewood. Murphy plans to have her restaurant (leaning Greek) open within the next 30 days. She even has a chef. His name? "I'm not telling," she says.

Yet the fascinating action is taking place behind Savory, in the old circa-1945 Lakewood post office. There, ex-pharmaceutical entrepreneur Kert Platner and his partner Chris Lawler are installing a winery called Times Ten Cellars. It's the genuine article, too, with a lounge, tasting area, fermentation and cellaring room, bottling line and vineyards on the roof. Just kidding. The venture will be fed by a vineyard in the Davis Mountains where the pair has planted Mourvédre, tempranillo, syrah, petite syrah, Grenache and cabernet sauvignon (for blending) in treacherous volcanic soils. Gad. Has a Texas vintner finally discovered grapes that won't get shredded in the brutal Texas climate and produce wine that struggles to hold its own in a Wish-Bone blend? While the vineyard ripens, Platner is pulling bulk cabernet, zinfandel, syrah and sauvignon blanc juice from California's Mendocino and Lake counties to have bottled when the winery opens in June. "This will produce world-class wine, the first world-class wine to come out of Texas," he insists. "I think we can do it."...Is LaFont's Prime Steak and Fine Cuisine on its belly? Depends on whom you ask. A source close to the restaurant says chef Jean LaFont, who garnered fame at the Pyramid Room, Old Warsaw and Les Saison, bailed out a couple of weeks ago, taking most of the kitchen and service staff with him. The source also said owner Al Amadeus will revert the space to a supper/night club format. "No. No. Not true," Amadeus insists. "We're still open. Everything is the same." Amadeus had converted the defunct Morton's The Steakhouse in Addison into Ciro's Restaurant and Club, which featured Mediterranean cuisine, Egyptian iconography and belly dancers. Then he lured LaFont into the kitchen, slapping his name on the shingle. But LaFont's fare has been scrubbed in favor of a prix fixe menu. On a recent visit, the bartender was waiting on the sole table in the dining room. Cue the finger cymbals.

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz