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Glow; Bacar; Bliss Bar

Wednesday, Dec 27 2000
Reinventing the Meal As if digging into the closet to recycle yesteryear's unused presents, this holiday season was gifted with rewrapped restaurants. Glow (498 Broadway) hopes to be more luminous than its ill-fated predecessor Moonshine, which barely lasted long enough for anyone to notice that it closed. Owner Robert Shaye, founder and chairman of New Line Cinema, is betting that, unlike the norm in the movie industry, the sequel to his initial restaurant bomb will be a box-office smash. Mark Zeitouni, San Francisco Chronicle "Rising Star" and veteran of both Black Cat and One Market, plays executive chef, while Gary Obligacion, from Silks and the Ritz, is best supporting general manager. Zeitouni's classic American fare "with a California twist" is well done, but Harry wonders whether it will take a multimillion-dollar promotional campaign to popularize the jinxed location -- especially considering that even restaurant pied piper Reed Hearon has been scratching his head about how to reinvigorate mangy neighbor the Black Cat. Word is Hearon's restaurant will close Jan. 8-19, 2001, during which time it will lose the wok station, add a rotisserie, ditch the booths for tables, and -- voilà! -- reopen with French brasserie ambience and a whole new PR spin. Harry bets it'll end up looking like New York's Balthazar or Pastis but will still be marketed as a new, ingenious concept.

After even breakfast-bar-fed dot-commers turned their noses up at Cafe Monk, the Limn furniture-backed space at 564 Fourth St. launched version 2.0. Owners Dan and Kazuyo Friedlander made interior changes, the most dramatic of which was a change in staff. New chef/partner Randy Windham, from Bernal's destination-darling Liberty Cafe, is turning out a menu that reflects the simple, home-style cooking of Italy and France. Eric Vreede, who opened Absinthe and Amphora Wine Merchants, is the new general manager/partner/wine wizard.

Do Not Open Until Christmas Two years later and $1 million over budget, Bacar restaurant announced its mid-December launch with an appropriately concise press release, which read: "Open." By then, investors high up in the Yahoo! ranks may have wondered whether their money would have been safer in the plummeting stock market, but a week after opening, the trilevel space at 448 Brannan is already a draw -- even for recent guests Julia Roberts and (former Lowell attendee) Benjamin Bratt.

Sex and the City When Jim Kopp, owner of the now-defunct Rumpus, and Sam Burkett, bartender/GM from Black Cat, opened Bliss Bar on 24th Street in Noe Valley, they didn't expect patrons to take the name so seriously. But while at an opening party most cocktailers settled into the maroon leather seats to enjoy what Harry considers the best-looking new bar in town, hostess Sam caught two partygoers with their pants down behind the back lounge's fuzzy curtain. Ah, the holidays.

About The Author

Harry Coverte

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