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HEARD ON THE BEAT / RESTAURANTS

A Celebrity-Themed Eatery? No Way, Celebrities Vow

April 16, 1999|GREG HERNANDEZ | Greg Hernandez covers the restaurant industry for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5989 and at greg.hernandez@latimes.com

Oscar-winner Kevin Costner may be entering the Orange County restaurant world as a partner in the Clubhouse, but he and his famous partners, Robert Wagner, Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couples, stress that their venture will not resemble struggling celebrity-driven chains like "Planet Hollywood."

"I'm not that interested in celebrity-themed restaurants," Costner said after appearing at a groundbreaking ceremony for the eatery this week along with Couples, Wagner and Clubhouse Chairman Keith Rudman. "I needed to be satisfied that it would have a gourmet feel. I'm not interested in eating at a place just once. I want to come back again and again."

Wagner, star of the long-running "Hart to Hart" television series added: "This is not an actor's theme restaurant. It's different from that concept. The whole idea is good food and creating an environment where the costumers feel that they have a place here."

Costner said that when the eatery opens at South Coast Plaza this summer, it will offer to the general public the environment of a private club that perhaps they could not otherwise afford, emphasizing a luxurious, relaxing environment and quality food.

He isn't the first Costner to venture into the local restaurant scene. The actor's ex-wife, Cindy Costner, is the majority owner of Twin Palms restaurant in Newport Beach. Earlier, the Costners teamed with Michael Roberts to open the first Twin Palms in Pasadena.

The Clubhouse is scheduled to open this summer. It is the second in a planned chain. The first restaurant opened in 1997 in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook.

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