“Eureka is a dead issue,” says Mickey Kanolzer. “We are definitely not going back in there.” Wolfgang Puck’s childhood friend, who managed the restaurant/brewery until it closed, says the the deal with Samuel Adams Boston Lager to run the brewery did not materialize. The 25,000-square-foot property is now for lease.
When the West Los Angeles establishment suddenly closed its doors during the riots a year ago, Puck assured The Times the restaurant would reopen. The restaurant did fine, he said; the only problem was the brewery, which accounted for 75% of the operation. “I’m not going to sell my house just to make beer,” said Puck, who owned 10% of the business. So the partners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Eureka, which was approximately $1 million in debt. In the meantime Puck began negotiating to divorce the beer-making facility from the restaurant portion.
“It’s all in the trustee’s hands now,” says Kanolzer, who is now in charge of operations for Puck’s pizza company. “It just hurts so bad, but it was one of those things beyond my control. I’ve been going downhill ever since: I was making beer, now I’m making pizzas. Next thing will be hamburgers and hot dogs, and then what?”
TAPS FOR TAPAS: The former 14-year-old La Scala Malibu became the Spanish restaurant, Moncho’s de Barcelona . . . for about a minute. Now if you call the restaurant to make a reservation, the voice at the other end of the line says, “Dante’s-Guido’s Malibu.” “We are using Dante to tell the public that the restaurant is no longer Spanish, and is associated with our first restaurant, Dante Wilshire,” says maitre d’ Pasquale Franqueza. “But since there is a Dante Palisades, which we are no longer associated with, we are eventually going to call the restaurant Guido Malibu. We have another restaurant by that name.” Got that?
ZENZERO HOUR: Former Chinois chef Kazuto Matsusaka finally plans to open Zenzero, his California-Japanese restaurant (to be located on the site of the former Fennel in Santa Monica), over Memorial Day weekend. “The dinner menu is done, the lunch is almost completed,” says chef Tony D’Onofrio (who worked at Citrus and with Matsusaka at Chinois). “Things are finally coming together.”
CAFE GONE: Fans of the tiny, Franco-Japanese Cafe Blanc--which was closed by the Los Angeles Department of Health Services last year for operating without a public health permit--have been wondering what happened to its chef-owner. A source says that chef was so dejected that he and his wife have gone back to Japan. The chef had a resale license, says the source, which he thought was the health permit. “He didn’t speak English, that’s why he never came out of the kitchen.”
THE EMPORIO’S NEW CLONES: “We find the kind of customer that likes to come shop at Emporio Armani also likes to have food,” Gabriella Forte, vice president of Giorgio Armani International, once told The Times. And Armani doesn’t want its customers to be out looking for restaurants when they could be shopping. That’s why the clothing boutique now features restaurants in many of its stores. The next will open in about 10 days, above the Emporio Armani Boutique (which opened last week in Beverly Hills). The Emporio Armani Express, which will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, will have a regional Italian menu featuring salads, antipastos, and lots of pastas and risottos. The house drink will be Champagne and fresh tangerine. Of course, the designer coffee beans will be roasted exclusively for Armani.
BISTRO BLUES: “Our third anniversary is coming up,” says Dale’s Bistro owner, Dale Payne, “and we will celebrate by closing the doors.” Payne, who has lost the lease on his La Cienega restaurant, says he is scouting for a new location. His last day of business will be May 29. “When I opened I was a little ahead of my time,” he says of his unpretentious little bistro. “Now La Cienega has become bistro row.”
MORE CHEFS MOVES: Dominique Besson, who was to have cooked at the as-yet-unopened Le Petit Bistro, has already departed. “The owners wanted a Ferrari,” a source quoted Besson as saying, “but they were only willing to pay for a Chevy.” . . . Andre Guerrero, who started cooking at his family’s Cafe Le Monde in Glendale and went on to cook at Bernard’s at the Biltmore, Alice’s Restaurant in Malibu and most recently Brio in Tarzana, is now back in Glendale remodeling the former Shaker Mountain Inn. In a couple of weeks, the two-story restaurant will become Duet. Guerrero’s menu will include plenty of seafood and pasta dishes, with European and Asian accents.