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Around the South Bay

New theme restaurant is seeking a name with bite.

March 02, 1995

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: What does it take to open a restaurant these days?

Look around, and you'll see submarine themes (Dive! in Century City), rock music (Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles and Newport Beach) and entertainment memorabilia (Planet Hollywood in Santa Ana).

You'll notice that none of these eateries is in the South Bay.

But Mike Lacey's new Hermosa Beach eatery is ready to serve theme-hungry eaters. His restaurant has Jason's hockey mask and Freddy Krueger's hockey glove, a la "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street," along with lightning displays and flying silverware.

The eatery had been named the Lab, reflecting its resemblance to a mad scientist's laboratory.

"It's along the lines of a Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe, but with horror films," said Lacey, who also owns the adjoining Comedy & Magic Club. "It had been tough times (at the comedy club) for a while, so I built this crazy restaurant."

Lacey hopes that the restaurant will attract new business to the comedy club. Entertainment industry friends Jon Baker (a movie special effects wizard) and Mike Devine (a theme park designer) helped him design the place.

But the cross-promotion has hit a snag: There's a hip new Costa Mesa shopping center called the Lab, and they got the name first. That's prevented Lacey from advertising the eatery, and he's on the prowl for a new name.

And he's just got the city's OK to add on. A swamp is being built, so diners can eat in the company of mean-looking trees and a fire pit.

*

LOST DOG II: So far, court proceedings aimed at finding a missing 2-year-old black chow mix have cost taxpayers about $24,000. After a 10-day trial, the jury deadlocked--and so far, no dog.

But that has not deterred prosecutors in the dognaping case against former Lawndale official Edie Warwick from seeking a retrial. And now, a judge has agreed that the case shall go on.

After a mistrial was declared Feb. 17, Judge James R. Brandlin gave Warwick until Feb. 23 to return the missing and presumed hidden dog named Lady or Cassie, depending upon whom you talk to. Warwick denied any knowledge of the dog's whereabouts.

The deadline came. Still no dog.

That morning, Brandlin gave Deputy Dist. Atty. Ted Lamb and Warwick attorney Michael Rotsten one last chance to negotiate the safe "reappearance" of the dog before they embark on yet another costly trial.

But 20 minutes with the judge in chambers yielded only two certainties: There will be another trial March 23, and Rotsten, an animal specialist attorney, will not be around for it. Warwick will be represented by a public defender.

All of this is little consolation to Lawndale residents Joseph and Vicki French, who say the dog--missing six months--is really theirs.

"I'm a taxpayer too. This is just ridiculous," Vicki French said.

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