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Boogie's Diner Packs Its Jeans

April 11, 1993|KATHIE JENKINS

"Eat Heavy, Dress Cool" was its motto, but nobody bought it. Now the 18-month-old Boogie's Diner in the Westside Pavilion has closed. "It just wasn't doing any business," says Boogie's spokesperson Terri Ashe from its headquarters in Maryland.

Boogie's was a '50s diner and a clothing boutique all rolled into one. (When you think about it, is trying to sell mashed potatoes and hot fudge sundaes to people who have just tried squeezing into Spandex pants the smartest idea in the world?) The diner-cum-clothing-boutique was supposed to be a fun place to eat and shop and watch other people do the same, but it never worked. Some said it was an '80s concept in a frugal '90s decade. Others said it was virtually impossible to eat the food and still look good in the tight $100 jeans displayed on the clothing racks.

On the other hand, there are Boogie's in Washington, New York, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Aspen. Ashe says the other stores are doing just fine. "It's just the L.A. store," she says. We just couldn't get it up."

Wonder what that says about L.A.?

HIGH-FLYING CHEF: It was five years ago that four chefs arrived from France to open Fennel in Santa Monica. The concept: They each would fly in on a regular basis and rotate the cooking duties. Fennel has since moved to La Cienega and changed--it's now combined with Pazzia, an Italian restaurant. And the original four chefs don't come to cook much anymore. But to celebrate Fennel's fifth anniversary, one of the original four, Michel Rostang, will be cooking for two nights beginning next Sunday. (His Paris restaurant has two stars from Michelin and 19/20 from Gault-Millau.) The tab for the five-course special anniversary menu is $75 per person.

ANOTHER GOODBY: Jay Bulmash has sold his 4-year-old Long Beach deli. The reason? He says it's exorbitant workers' compensation insurance rates. "Last year alone we had over $100,000 worth of claims against us," says former manager Gretchen Wilson, who is staying on to help the new owners run their operation. "Then our insurance company canceled us." Wilson says that another carrier was found, but the premium was 3 1/2 times the old rate.

Meanwhile, the new owners will continue to operate Jay's Deli until the remodeling is completed. "We are taking the best of what the old restaurant has to offer, operating it under Jay's for the next 60 days, and then, bam!--Barbareno's," says co-owner Lisa Iannini, a former marketer for Bob's Big Boy.

She describes Barbareno's as a cross between a Cheesecake Factory and a Houston's: "Large portions at affordable prices."

STOCKPOT: Giancarlo Zaretti, who owns the Northern Italian Caffe Zaretti in Northridge, has bought the former Vesuvio restaurant in Tarzana. After extensive remodeling, he plans on opening Il Salotto (the Living Room). Zaretti says his brother, Pietro, will come from Rome to run the restaurant. To celebrate the end of the tax season, Studio City's St. Moritz is offering a special T.G.I.O. (Thank God It's Over) four-course tax-relief menu priced at $35 for two on Friday. Unlike the IRS, however, St. Moritz does accept major credit cards. . . . In Newport Beach, Villa Nova's new owners plan to spend $200,000 on a major make-over job for the Northern Italian restaurant. The landmark restaurant, which opened 60 years ago on Sunset Strip and relocated to its current location in 1967, has valet parking for customers who arrive by both automobile and boat.

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