Developer Revs Up Red Line Grill Plans
The latest to adopt the restaurant-as-total-entertainment experience is real estate developer Paul Alanis. He’s hoping to use car racing to create a restaurant empire in the same way the Hard Rock Cafe used rock ‘n’ roll.
“Racing has attracted a lot of celebrities--Tom Cruise, Paul Newman. There’s even a Celebrity Grand Prix held before the main Grand Prix,” says Alanis. “My concept is to create a kind of excitement and enthusiasm and sex appeal that marks grand prix racing--but I want to be Middle America, too.”
The first of Alanis’ racing restaurants, called the Red Line Grill (for the red line on a tachometer), should open this spring at HarborPlace, a downtown Long Beach condominium development on the Long Beach Grand Prix course.
Alanis plans to have an actual Formula 1 racing car crash through the glass on the outside of the building. Inside, the walls will be adorned with racing memorabilia. And the bar, made of glass, will hold a replica of the streets of Long Beach with six slot cars racing at various times during the day. “We will have the Long Beach Grand Prix every night, four or five times,” Alanis says, “But I don’t want to get too cutesy so there aren’t going to be, like, ’56 Chevys that you sit in, stuff like that. I think that’s too trendy and becomes so dated.”
Also on view: scenes from old races. “We will have a lot of TV monitors all over,” Alanis says. “There’s a whole library of tapes of crashes, but we won’t use any where people are hurt or killed or anything like that.”
On the menu will be moderately priced salads, chicken dishes . . . and dipsticks. “They will be the longest French fries you’ve ever seen,” Alanis says. “And we will provide oil cans to dip them in--10W40 barbecue sauce, all-weather blue cheese.”
Future Red Line Grills are scheduled for Indianapolis, Monte Carlo and Deltona and, of course, there are plans to do merchandising. “We want to take this international very quickly,” Alanis says.
THE NAME GAME: Coming up with just the right name for a restaurant can be difficult. Take Bob Morris and Silvio DeMori, who have yet to name the 7,000-square-foot restaurant they’re opening next spring in Encino’s Courtyard Shops. At next Sunday’s Taste of Encino, the restaurant will be identified as a “New Bob Morris/Silvio DeMori Italian Restaurant.” Morris and DeMori have decided on a chef for their project--Saverio Posarelli, whom DeMori met in Florence. Posarelli has been cooking at Morris’ Gladstone’s 4 Fish in Pacific Palisades for the past year. For the Taste of Encino event, he will cook several of his dishes, including inzimino di calamari, a squid stew.
DRESS REHEARSALS: “It’s as though you’re coming to our homes,” says Gustaf Anders co-owner Bill Gustaf Magnuson. “We serve the foods we feel our guest will enjoy most.” Magnuson is talking about a series of fixed-price, fixed-menu dinners where chef Ulf Anders Strandberg either tests new recipes or prepares his favorite dishes. The meals are held in the private dining room at Gustaf Anders in the South Coast Plaza shopping center. Strandberg’s dinners, limited to 10 guests, include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a four-course dinner and appropriate wines for $85 per person. Response from the tryout dinners has been so good, there’s now a waiting list. “One couple came twice in one month,” Magnuson says. The next dinners are scheduled for September 17 and 18. For reservations call (714) 668-1737.
ON THE TABLE: Backstage of Beverly Hills promises to “make eating out fun again.” The place is a deli by day (sandwiches, knockwurst, burgers and salads) and supper club by night (shrimp cocktail, steak tartare, escargots, grilled lamb chops, eaten to the sounds of live music from such singers as Mimi Hines and Julie Budd). . . . Piero’s restaurant, the 27-year-old Burbank landmark, now has a European-style sidewalk cafe with its own menu. . . . Bob Spivak, who is building Daily Grills in Encino, Studio City and Pasadena, now tells The Times he plans to take his “all-American” concept out of state. . . . Chef-owner Michael Fekr of Studio City’s Il Mito is celebrating--it’s his restaurant’s first anniversary. In honor of the occasion, Fekr is introducing a new, lighter menu, many dishes cooked with a variety of new oils. . . . Gardens Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills is now offering a $42, three-course prix fixe dinner in addition to its regular dinner menu. . . . The Whole, a coffee shop that opened three weeks ago at 5959 W. Third St. in Los Angeles, wants to be a back-to-the-'50s coffeehouse. The prices, at least, seem out of the ‘50s: coffee sells for 25 cents. Open from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. (until 4 a.m. on weekends) for coffee and sandwiches, The Whole encourages neighborhood musicians to drop by and practice. Board games are provided too--anyone in the mood for Parchisi? . . . Admiral Risty Restaurant in Rancho Palos Verdes is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a “share your favorite memory” contest. The hitch? Your favorite memory must include The Admiral Risty. Grand prize is a seven-day Princess cruise for two to Mexico. Entry forms are available at the restaurant, the deadline is November 20.
MOVIN’ ON: When Hans Rockenwagner decided to move his restaurant to a new space in the Edgemar complex on Santa Monica’s Main Street (see First Impressions), he wasn’t quite sure what to do with the old place. At first, Rockenwagner thought he might keep the old space in Venice and open a different kind of restaurant. Rockenwagner now tells The Times that he is in the process of selling the vacant restaurant to Joe Miller, formerly a chef at Brentwood Bar and Grill, Cafe Katsu and I Cugini. “It was just too much for me. I can’t handle three restaurants right now,” says Rockenwagner, who also owns Fama with his wife, Mary, in Santa Monica.
DOGGIE BAGS: Feeling guilty about going out to eat every night while poor Fido is forced to stay home? You should know that Consolidated Pet Foods will deliver freshly baked gourmet meat loaves (chicken, lamb and brown rice, beef) right to your door. Consolidated has developed both regular and special diets for your dog. For free delivery, call (213) 870-3466.