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Side Dish 

Wednesday, May 26 1999
"I don't think a straight guy can cut it behind the bar." That simple phrase, purportedly uttered by the owner of the Metro Bar, was the grounds of a labor dispute that was just settled before a commissioner of the Labor Board. The complainant, a bartender and cocktailer at the predominantly gay Market Street establishment, contended he was fired because he's het. The ex-employee pursued his case not for the money -- the settlement was a pittance -- but because he wanted to prove a point.

Generally, the litigious nature of the '90s hasn't had much impact on the restaurant industry, mostly because employees feel powerless against owners -- especially since most are employed on an "at will" basis. But sexual politics aside, this is a wake-up call to all of us: The restaurant industry is a loose and freewheeling endeavor, but that doesn't mean that the regular rules of engagement don't apply.

Tip of the Hat
It looked like a stakeout at One Market last week. The place was teeming with San Francisco's finest -- but our boys and girls in blue were serving bread, not warrants. Bradley and Jody Ogden were hosting the police force for its second annual Tip-a-Cop event. The cops helped out with the table service while soliciting "tips" for the Special Olympics. They raised $12,000 between Bradley's four restaurants. Harry's met the long arm of the law before, but never over such a tasty lunch. (I always tip, of course.)

Shakedown Street
It's been so dead on 11th Street lately that someone's even left a backhoe parked in the middle of the street and no one's as much as blinked. But that should change really soon: There's construction going on next door to V/SF, where Martel and Nabiel are opening a SOMA branch of their hugely popular Sushi Groove restaurant. Likewise, another pair of promoters-cum-foodies, the Solle brothers, are popping the top on Butter. Under the banner "Two turntables and a microwave," they'll be serving the four basic food groups -- butter, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine -- out of the back of an old silver car trailer. And the Eleven site is slated for construction of -- gasp -- lofts! There'll probably be a spot for biscotti and espresso on the ground floor of the new building. In the meantime the structure is an eyesore, covered with posters and graffiti.

Across the yellow lines at the DNA Lounge changes are under way. Word is a kid whose fistful of Netscape stock options just vested has gone into escrow with this workable, midsized venue. It's not the first time the Lounge has almost made the handoff -- let's hope it happens this time. And I can't forget to mention the Philly cheese steak joint that's slotted to go in next door to the Holy Cow. Just another meat market on the strip ....

Comings and Goings
Howard Cummins has left Le Colonial after having been brought in to stabilize the Cosmo Alley gem last year. He's still got his Bogey's out in Orinda -- but Harry hopes he can entice Cummins to stay in the city. Tim Dale is coming in to shake the place up. I know: Harry reported just two weeks ago that Dale was stepping away from the biz to run his yoga studio. Well, man cannot live on exercise alone.

Sean Hayes -- who starred in Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss and beams into Middle America through his role as Jack, Will's best friend on Will & Grace, was sighted socializing at Mecca. I gotta tell you, though -- if someone needs that much introduction, he's not a star yet.

The W had only been open for three days when Courteney Cox and David Arquette set up camp in the lobby bar. They looked a bit ziggy-zaggy after a temperature-raising night out at Mercury. Meanwhile, Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie slunk into the Slanted Door while the dark glamour duo were in town for their Creatures show.

Round 2
The celebrity death match continues between the dailies' food scribes. (Scoopies vs. Beaters?) I'm putting my money on the Food Beat by a head or two: There's always the character issue to consider.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

About The Author

Harry Coverte


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