Is Stringfellow's, the glitzy 7-month-old Beverly Hills restaurant/nightclub about to change its image? The restaurant has built a solid reputation for good food, but last week in a "mutual decision," Stringfellow's and chef Margaret Fischlein parted company. "I want to take Stringfellow's in another direction," says general manager Roger Howe. "The environment doesn't lend itself to a dining atmosphere."
The environment Howe refers to is a landscape of mirrors, chrome, pink neon, white pianos, disco music, and firm bodies packed into black leather. "The food will be simpler, less costly," Howe adds. "Richard Oswald (formerly of Noa Noa), who has been with us since opening will be picking up Margaret's reins, and will do his own thing." What about Fischlein's signature dishes? "They will be removed from the menu."
Fischlein says there are no hard feelings. "It was a mutual decision . . . artistic differences." She's planning to take an extended vacation while contemplating her future. "I've had a couple of offers but don't want to consider anything until I've had about 10 or 12."
Peter Stringfellow, the Rod Stewart lookalike, also operates a Stringfellow's in Miami. And in May he filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code on his New York Stringfellow's.
WHAT, NO BLUE CHIP STAMPS? Michael Frank and Robert Bell (Chez Melange, Chez Allez, Fino, etc), have just instituted a Frequent Diners Club. Members receive one point for each dollar spent at their restaurants or takeout shops. Eat hearty: It takes 5,000 points to earn a $500 Nordstrom shopping spree; 10,000 points for a Santa Barbara getaway; and 35,000 points for an Epson desktop computer with laser printer.
NO HORSING AROUND. The Los Angeles International Culinary Institute will begin professional classes on Sept. 10. Under the direction of Raimund Hofmeister, the 18-month course for would-be chefs costs $13,500.
The institute originally planned to locate in Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade. Then the recession hit and construction loans proved too expensive. "It was major construction vs. minor construction," says a spokesman, explaining why the institute is now located in Burbank at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. A feature of the curriculum is hands-on training. "The center already has banquet and restaurant facilities. Besides it is a much nicer environment, more than 800 horses are still boarded there." For information or an enrollment application, contact the institute at (818) 840-1313.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED. John Sedlar and Steve Garcia, owners of St. Estephe, originally planned to open Bikini in Santa Monica on July 13. They now say they are hoping for a mid-August opening. "It's just the normal slow down--permits and health department approvals and that sort of stuff," says Sedlar.