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After 30 Years, Harry's Bar Bids Farewell

September 05, 2002|JESSICA STRAND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Goodbye to Harry's: Harry's Bar & American Grill, the Century City restaurant based on the famous Harry's Bar in Florence, Italy, shut its doors Aug. 12. The message on the restaurant's answering machine now says, "We're sorry to say that after 30 years at the ABC Entertainment Center, Harry's Bar has now closed." Reason: The ABC Entertainment Center is scheduled to close later this year to make way for an office complex. Harry's was best known for its annual Ernest Hemingway parody contest. The person who wrote what the judges declared the best "one really good page of really bad Hemingway" would win a trip to Italy and dinner at the original Harry's Bar & American Grill in Florence.

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A Few Additions to Joe's: In the last couple of weeks, Joe Miller has added two seasoned chefs to the kitchen at Joe's: Blake Schumpert as executive sous-chef and Mark Willard as executive pastry chef. Schumpert was most recently the chef de partie-rotisseur at Citronelle in Washington, D.C. Before that he opened the MGM Hotel restaurant in Las Vegas and worked as sous-chef at Blue Hill Restaurant and Zoe in New York. Willard has been the executive pastry chef at All Seasons Bistro in Calistoga, Calif., consulting chef at the Taj Hotel group in India and pastry cook at Hotel du Rhone in Switzerland.

"I need new ideas and new people to help me," Miller says. "The restaurant is changing and evolving ... we want to keep things fresh and new."

Miller has also added more options to his prix-fixe menu. There are now a vegetarian menu, a tomato menu (seasonal) and a seven-course menu, all under $50. "I've always been price-conscious when it comes to food," Miller says. "I want to give people a good deal. No customer wants to feel cheated--no, they want to feel full and satisfied."

Joe's, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 399-5811.

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The Food Studio: Developer Albert Sweet has renovated countless industrial spaces in Hollywood and converted them into studio space under the umbrella of Occidental Studios. Now, with so many food shows on TV, Sweet is putting the finishing touches on a studio devoted completely to food production.

"There's no place on the West Coast except for Wolfgang Puck's studio that's just for food," he says. The 4,200-square-foot space has a fully equipped kitchen with a large Wolf range and all the refrigerator space anyone could need, along with dressing rooms, ample parking space and, yes, Sweet's own prop studio a mere block away.

His hope is that Southern California chefs will not have to fly back East to do their television appearances. Instead, they can drive 15 or 20 minutes to the heart of Hollywood.

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