Second Helpings

Food Mag: Did anybody run across a new, free restaurant monthly called localflavor? Volume I, Number 1 came out in October and aimed at the disposable-income, frequent-diner crowd in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

If you did, you got your hands on a good-looking magazine. Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco was featured on the cover, and the subject of a well-written interview. You saw articles by former Valley food critics Elin Jeffords and Donald Downes on what's happening on the local restaurant scene. You saw articles on beer, wine, farming and a recipe for quince compote. And you saw lots and lots of restaurant ads.

Well, you probably won't be seeing Volume I, Number 2.
localflavor was the brain child of Janece and Christopher Kolon, New Mexican entrepreneurs with restaurant and journalist backgrounds who've been putting out a New Mexico version of the magazine for about three years.

They thought the timing was propitious, given the Valley's explosive restaurant growth, to put out a similar promotional publication here, and their instincts were probably right. Unfortunately for them, soon after the first issue hit the racks, their financial backers dropped out.

By pulling the plug after only one issue, they've created a credibility problem should they ever find new angels and try to restart the operation. Still, the idea is fundamentally sound.

The articles were pure puffery, of course--the chefs are all marvelous, the food is always wonderful. But that's the kind of press advertisers like, and will pay big bucks for. If the Kolons can't swing it, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone else take this idea and run with it.

Restaurant Update: A few months ago, Jim Hansen, the proprietor of Le Gourmand, one of the few upscale west Valley restaurants, sold the place to a competitor, the operator of nearby Le Rhone.

Now Hansen is establishing a Paradise Valley base, in the old Taste of Italy at 4669 East Cactus.

The new operation is called Suzanne's Bistro, named for his wife, the chef. The menu is continental--look for lamb stew, duck with porcini mushrooms and rack of lamb, as well as homemade breads and desserts. Most entrees hover around the $15 range. Call 996-4414.

A second branch of Z'Tejas Grill is coming to the same area. The new place should be open for business in a couple of weeks, at the intersection of Tatum and Shea.

Aiming for a higher profile, an expanding Cafe Patou is moving out of its tiny storefront at Papago Plaza, headed to the big time at 7000 East Shea in the Scottsdale Promenade. The shopping center already boasts such powerhouse tenants as Sushi on Shea, Chez Georges, Maria's When in Naples and the Arizona Bread Company. Cafe Patou will take over the spot that once housed a short-lived branch of Pischke's Paradise.

One of its great charms, however, will disappear in the move: no more BYOB. Let's hope the food retains all its charms.

--Howard Seftel

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

 
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