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Should I Stay or Should I Go?; A French Toast; Steep Climb; Chain, Chain, Chain

Wednesday, May 17 2000
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
There was a collective groan of dismay when opening manager and lady-about-town Kimberly Bakker announced that she was leaving Le Colonial for pursuits in the Big Apple. Now it seems she may stay. What can we do to convince you, Kimberly? The slick and stylish Le Colonial on Cosmo Alley has also just announced its new force in the French Colonial kitchen will be chef Tom Fox, who worked at Fog City Diner early in his career and with Tim Dale at his Eddie Jack's.

A French Toast
The Deeb family, who own and operate Vinticello on Nob Hill, the Vincino Restaurants in Alamo and Sausalito, and La Piazza in Orinda, are taking over the vacancy in the Gramercy Towers. This is the same space that housed Vanessi's for a time, and most recently the well-reviewed and short-lived Gramercy Grill. Mike Deeb and his children Michael and Christine have renamed the spot Le Bistrot -- and expect a Bastille Day opening.

Steep Climb
Was it irony or just bad timing that afflicted Steve Simmons and Steve Grant, the new owners of the Savannah Grill in Corte Madera? The day their deal went into escrow, a scathing review of the place under its former ownership appeared in the Chronicle. Simmons (Lark Creek Inn, One Market, Bubba's San Anselmo) and Grant (LuLu, Thirsty Bear, mc2) had to decide whether to scrap the name and concept altogether and start with a clean slate, or honor the history of the spot and revitalize it through hard work and faith. The latter option won out, and the Savannah Grill will remain the Savannah Grill. The Pat Kuleto-designed restaurant has seen some changes since it opened in the '80s, but none that sound as yummy as the fried green tomatoes and macaroni and cheese on Simmons' revamped menu.

Chain, Chain, Chain
There are rumblings of changes in our local chain restaurant scene. Jamba Juice has launched its Jamba Go Go in reaction to a demand for its presence at corporate and catered events; the Jamba Joes will bring their smoothie tent or cart to your next function. Now your company picnic can be fueled by juice, your wedding guests can have a nonalcoholic alternative, and your kid's soccer team can be the most popular in the league. ... Meanwhile Marina favorite World Wrapps is also bowing to changing times and habits. The San Francisco-based "burrito" retailer is changing its look, its name, and its focus. The company will be reborn as Fresh Latitudes World Cafe, while the wraps menu will expand to include a variety of side dishes and the bento box-style meals that have proven popular in its catering division. CEO Dave Barrows hopes the broader choices will allow growth from the current 21 stores to a possible 500 (!).

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Harry Coverte

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