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The Race to Open Speedo’s

Noted San Francisco chef/restaurateur Jeremiah Tower, proprietor of that city’s popular Stars, has announced plans to open a second establishment nearby, with a new set of investors, to be called Speedo’s, the name referring to the new site’s former tenant, the Speedo Carburetor Shop. Tower hopes Speedo’s will attract a younger clientele than Stars, and, with that goal in mind, he will make it considerably less expensive, with main courses mostly in the $10 to $12 range. The food, he says, will be “slightly tropical"--including dishes from the Caribbean and Central America. Speedo’s will open in October or November.

CHAMPAGNE DREAMS: Speaking of Tower, have you ever wondered why hard-working, well-known chefs like him seem to volunteer their time so freely to cook for charity events? Tower, who will participate in the forthcoming American Food & Wine Festival, benefiting L.A.-area chapters of Meals on Wheels, on Sept. 17 at Universal Studios, gave an interesting answer in a souvenir booklet commemorating the New York version of the event. Anne Rosenzweig of Manhattan’s Arcadia and “21" Club, spoke of chefs’ “responsibility to help (older) people.” Dallas/Minneapolis chef/restaurateur Stephan Pyles opined that “it is only appropriate that we (chefs) direct our charitable energies to provide meals to those less fortunate people within our communities,” and our own Wolfgang Puck spoke of the pleasures of “providing thousands of meals for the needy.”

Tower’s statement: “I support Meals on Wheels because one day in my retirement, I would like to think a trained cook was bringing me a good hot lunch to go along with my champagne.” What a bon vivant.

WHAT’S COOKIN’: And speaking, too, of Rosenzweig, she will visit L.A. shortly, to teach a pair of cooking classes at the Epicurean Cooking School in West Hollywood, Sept. 15 and 16. Call (213) 659-5990 for enrollment information. . . . Everybody knows by now that Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day, but how many know what date is ? Tamayo in East Los Angeles does: It’s Sept. 16--and, in honor of the occasion, the restaurant will offer a group of special precio fijo dinners, from $14.95 to $18.95, from Sept. 16 through 18. Mariachi music will entertain diners. . . . The Fifth Annual South Bay Waitress Races, to be held Sept. 17 and 18 from noon to 6 p.m. in the Redondo Beach Marina, will benefit the Redondo Beach Pier Restoration Fund and Cheers for Children. (And meanwhile, the Rocky Point West Restaurant in the Redondo Marina asks local diners to remember it is one of the few restaurants in the area that was unaffected by the January storms and the April fire and is open for business as usual.) . . . And radio personality/author Paul Wallach has announced that he will lead a tour of the great restaurants of Britain and France, Sept. 30 through Oct. 13. For details: (213) 749-1084.

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ABOUT FACES: If you were reading Laurie Ochoa’s article about Joachim Splichal in the “Faces” column (Calendar, Aug. 27), you might be wondering about Splichal’s future projects. Lacking space, the following was edited: “After almost a year of searching and negotiating for a new restaurant, Splichal found the perfect location on Melrose, where the venerable Le St. Germain is now. Patina (‘It’s a finish that, with age gets better and better,’ he says) is the name; the place should open sometime early next year. And the food? Splichal will reveal only that it will follow the current trend toward accessible dining. ‘Let’s just say, we won’t have the same average check ($70 dollars) that we did at Max.’ ”

NOTES FROM ALL OVER: Beverly Hills’ own Rangoon Racquet Club will open its first spinoff restaurant next year--in Tokyo. The Racquet Club will be established in the city’s Roppongi district, already home to Tokyo’s versions of Spago, Tony Roma’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. . . . The Wendy’s chain has signed a franchise agreement with Aytemiz Petrol Industry and Commerce, Inc. (yikes!), to open eight Wendy’s units in Turkey.


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