Steak drives men to ramble. Specifics? Monte Morris. Before Tristan Simon and his merry band of Consolidated Restaurant operators lured him to run Cool River Café in Las Colinas, Morris was burrowed in a steak house up in Denver. Then Simon broke from Cool River to launch Cuba Libre, bringing Morris along with him, installing him as director of operations for Simon's Consilient Restaurants. But the post afforded him the opportunity to rub elbows with Bob Sambol, founder of Bob's Steak & Chop House and a partner in Consilient's nightclub Sense. Result: Now Sambol is doing the luring. "I'm going back home to do another steak house," Morris avers. Sambol has charged Morris with the fourth Bob's (Dallas, Plano and San Francisco being the others) slated for Denver this November. "As we develop both companies, [we] may see us working together hand in hand on projects in the future," says Morris of the Bob's/Consilient hobnob. "I think it might be more of a team thing rather than a bitter breakup."
Frankie Carabetta is expanding his empire beyond his current spoils: Manhattan Bar & Lounge and Knox Street Pub. His newest dew conquest: South Bar, an upscale lounge with plenty of fancy-feet floor space. South Bar will open this week in the Brewery directly under the newly reconstituted Starck Club (Call 214-468-8008 to hear The Starck Club's "Bringin' it to ya" voicemail). Carabetta is once again trying his hand at pies, too. He founded Rocco's pizza on McKinney Avenue. Now he's doing Vinny's Brick Oven Pizza in Knox Park Village. It's takeout and delivery only, so don't sit around hoping for table service and mozzarella tailings. "When I say takeout and delivery only, we do have about eight or 10 bar stools in there where you can sit down and have a few slices and wait for your pizza," Carabetta says.
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In memoriam: The Dallas restaurant community was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Timothy Penn, 39, early last month. Penn, a talented Dallas chef who honed his much-lauded craft in the kitchens of Mi Piaci, Il Sole, Bay Leaf and Jeroboam, was most recently working as a personal chef for former Eagles drummer Don Henley. He died in a guest house in Henley's compound in Malibu, California, of a gunshot wound, apparently self-inflicted, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "He's one of the most creative chefs that you could ever find, just an incredible talent for mixing flavors," said Il Sole founder and Mi Piaci owner Brian Black. "I'd put him up against anybody."