Second Helpings

Double Trouble: The Valley's incredible growth has tempted lots of restaurant owners to try to boost their profits by opening second branches of their successful restaurants.

It's a risky proposition, as at least three proprietors have discovered in the past fewmonths. The operators of Indian Delhi Palace (original restaurant: 5050 East McDowell), T-Bone Steak House (original restaurant: 10037 South 19th Avenue) and Thai Lahna (original restaurant: 3738 East Indian School) all opened new fronts earlier this year.

Now, their new restaurants are history. I ate at the Indian Delhi Palace and T-Bone Steakhouse clones and found that the fare wasn't nearly as good as it was at the original locations. It's not hard to figure out why: The talent--gastronomical and managerial--gets spread too thin. I suspect, too, that instead of drawing new customers, the second restaurants simply cannibalized business from the old places.

It's hard enough to run even one restaurant well. Sometimes, addition turns out to be subtraction.

Nick at Night: One man who's not frightened by the second-restaurant jinx is Nick Ligidakis, proprietor of Nick's Cuisine of Southern Europe, at 3717 East Indian School.

He's just opened Nick's on Central, a downtown branch in the San Carlos Hotel, at 202 North Central.

The menus at the two places aren't identical, but they're darned close to it. One difference: The downtown Nick's is a bit pricier.

Still, I think Nick's on Central should thrive, for several reasons: First, there aren't too many places to eat lunch or dinner in that area. Second, the restaurant is good-looking. Third, from what I've sampled, the quality of the food hasn't diminished. If you find yourself downtown, it's worth a try.

New Pointe of View: Regulars at what used to be called Etienne's Different Pointe of View should steel themselves for some changes:

* Since the retirement of Etienne, the place has been called the Different Pointe of View.

* The posh restaurant is about to undergo interior-design surgery. The swanky art-deco, blue-tile-and-chrome interior is going to have a territorial makeover.

* A new chef is bringing in a new menu. He comes from the Phoenician's Southwestern-themed Windows on the Green, so it's not surprising that he plans to add a regional influence to the restaurant's traditional classic cuisine.

The restaurant will remain open while the changes take place. Different Pointe of View is at the Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs, 11111 North Seventh Street. Call 863-0912.

Restaurant Eggspansion: The waiting time at one of the Valley's best breakfast houses should be getting just a bit shorter.

That's because T.C. Eggington's, a Mesa landmark for a decade, just got 50 percent bigger. This is one of the few places in town that can induce me to get out of my pajamas before noon. Omelets are wonderful, and the French toast is hands-down the best around.

It's at 1660 South Alma School, just south of Superstition Freeway.--Howard Seftel

Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,

 
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