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RESTAURANT NEWS

See the New Spielberg, Then Eat His Subs

June 27, 1993|KATHIE JENKINS

You wonder how Hollywood has time to make movies these days, when so many of its box-office biggies are busy opening restaurants.

Heavy-hitters Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone are involved in the Planet Hollywood chain; Schwarzenegger also calls the shots at Schatzi on Main, the schnitzel place he opened in Santa Monica last year. Ex-"MASH" star Wayne Rogers owns Columbia Bar & Grill in Hollywood.

Liza Minnelli and Dudley Moore are investors in 72 Market Street in Venice; James Caan owns a pizza parlor in Beverly Hills, where Carroll O'Connor has his place; Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy and Connie Stevens own a piece of Georgia on Melrose; Robert De Niro, who owns Tribeca in New York, is opening a second New York restaurant with L.A. chef Nobu Matsuhisa; Michael Caine has five restaurants in England, and Kevin Costner, who owns a giant gambling and dining complex in Deadwood, S.D., is coughing up megabucks for Twin Palms, Michael Roberts' giant Pasadena project. Now even more are getting into the act.

In December, director Steven Spielberg, who just opened the record-breaking dinosaur horror movie "Jurassic Park," will open a restaurant called Dive in the Century City Shopping Center.

Spielberg has leased the former Cabo Cabo Cabo space across from the AMC multiplex where people are just eating up his latest offering. And because Dive will be tall, and because Spielberg never does anything on the cheap, he has also leased the former Paradiso, located directly above. (It must be in the genes: His mother runs a kosher dairy restaurant, the Milky Way, a mile east on Pico Boulevard.)

Shopping center spokeswoman Senida Manuel says both spaces will be completely gutted. Outside, facing Santa Monica Boulevard, the space will be constructed to resemble a giant submarine. Inside, there will be a deli with submarine sandwiches and live-fish tanks. But no dinosaur.

There's more. Film producer Victor Drai--"The Woman in Red," "The Man With One Red Shoe," and ex-husband of model Kelly ("Don't hate me because I'm beautiful") LeBrock--has leased L'Ermitage, the legendary La Cienega restaurant founded by the late Jean Bertranou. He has modestly decided to change the name to Victor's.

Drai, who is French, has brought in his old pal and countryman Claude Segal to run the kitchen.

"I have known Victor since I was at Ma Maison," Segal says. "When he found out I was gone from Picnic, he called me."

Segal, who has a resume longer than most wine lists (Picnic, MaBe, Rancho Valencia, Four Oaks, Bistango, Ma Maison), says he plans to finally stay put. "I'm exhausted from opening so many restaurants in this town," he says. "I need to think about my future."

And the food? "I'm not definite yet," Segal says. "But it will not be a French bistro. I want something much lighter. French bistro food can be kind of heavy."

BIG BURRITO: "The health department wasn't happy about what we were doing," says Pete Wroblicky, a partner in Freebirds World Burrito in Santa Barbara. "They were upset we were assembling it outdoors and with 300 people."

"It" was the world's largest burrito, which Wroblicky made in less than four hours with a little help from his friends in an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records--and at the same time feed 600 homeless people.

When they were done with their creation, it weighed 1,126 pounds. But there was a hitch: By the time they'd finished making the monster, the health department refused to let them serve it and demanded that the burrito be thrown out.

"Sure, we threw it out," Wroblicky says, "but first we cut it into 600 pieces and then tossed it into brand-new sterilized trash cans. That way everyone could help themselves."*

* FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Laurie Ochoa's regular restaurant feature has the week off and will return next week.

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