News Bites


Three new restaurants will rise from the ashes of former eating establishments in Woodland Hills in September.

The Bonobo Brothers Beach House, on the site of the old Red Onion, 6424 Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills, quietly opened Aug. 17 but plans a grand opening in mid-September. The Beach House, which is affiliated with country-Western dance club Denim & Diamonds, will offer a full bar with a moderately priced menu that emphasizes salads, pasta, burgers and seafood. A deejay will play recorded music in the evenings.

Yankee Doodles, 21870 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills, will open in late September where Reuben’s Summer House used to be. This will be the San Fernando Valley branch of the popular Santa Monica sports bar/video club of the same name. The menu will be Californian-Italian featuring pasta and pizza, said Yankee Doodles spokesman Raul Da Costa.

Owner Jeff Williams will open The Star Cafe in mid-September where, until the Northridge earthquake, Shakey’s did the pizza thing for many years: 22333 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. Williams said the cafe will also be a pizza and pasta operation offering essentially the same menu as his Glendale restaurant Noodles. Williams also owns the Star Cafe in Montrose plus Jax, Clancy’s Crab Broiler and Hondo’s in Glendale.



Country Star Hollywood at Universal CityWalk is a new family restaurant offering 14,000 square feet of Southern food, high technology and country music. The cafe, the first of a forthcoming nationwide chain, has a three-story, multicolor, computer-driven jukebox facade on the outside, and 96 large-screen monitors and three video walls on the inside.

Country music stars Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Wynonna attended the gala opening Aug. 21 and will serve as its celebrity representatives, making periodic appearances and endorsements. The eatery will house country music memorabilia, collectibles and art and will occasionally showcase new records and performers.

Country Star hopes to get its share of the more than 8 million people who visit Universal Studios Hollywood each year.


A second Country Star restaurant is scheduled to break ground in Las Vegas in December, and future restaurants are planned for London, Tokyo, New York and other major cities.


For those of us who don’t want to go to a favorite restaurant but want the restaurant to come to us, Gourmet Courier is here.

In some areas of the Valley, Gourmet Courier will deliver food from more than 18 restaurants for the menu price plus a $5 delivery charge. Choices include Marie Callender’s, Smoke House, Market City Caffe, California Pizza Kitchen and El Torito. There is a $15 minimum order per restaurant, and payment may be made by cash, check or credit card.


Screenwriter Mark Esslinger started Gourmet Courier in Beverly Hills about five years ago. Actors Glen Steele and Brett Harman worked for Esslinger there, and started the Valley branch in Studio City last August.

“I was the worst waiter in town,” Steele said. “So, I decided to go into management.”

Steele, 32, said he and Harman also operate branches in Encino, Pasadena, and Glendale/Burbank. For a Gourmet Courier menu catalogue, call (818) 766-7888, then press 3.