Powers earns an Oscar's
By mid-February, Phil Duhon expects to have Oscar's East (574-7447) open in the space that he formerly ran as Porky's, at 5910 Omaha Blvd. Duhon says he's re-branding the outfit to match his successful business at 333 S. Tejon St. (oscarstejonstreet.com), which has been open seven years now.
"The problem on Powers [Boulevard] is that it's extremely difficult to market — even Cowboys shut down after a few months," he says, referring to the eastern incarnation of Sam and Kathy Guadagnoli's popular nightclub.
Expect the menu and much of the staff to be imported from his newly spiffed-up downtown location.
Briar Mart (1843 Briargate Blvd., 528-6869) owner Shawn Sharifi is taking his Mediterranean market to the masses after purchasing the former Mission Inn Restaurant at 6799 N. Academy Blvd.
"The opportunity came to buy my own building, and it's a great second location," says the 14-year owner. "Fifty thousand cars go by."
Sharifi estimates the remodeled location will open in 2011. He plans to continue offering a grocery along with dining options like gyros and chicken or beef kabobs.
Down and out
A spate of recent closures makes it sadly clear: It's hard out there for a shrimp.
Big Rock Steak & Seafood (208 E. U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park) went down several months ago, as did Ephraim's BBQ (2600 Platte Place), off Platte Avenue. The Falcon Nawlins BarBQ & Seafood locale (7685 McLaughlin Road) closed about a month ago, as did Sassafras & Blues (3869 Astrozon Blvd.).
À la carte
• The Ritz Grill (15 S. Tejon St., ritzgrill.com) recently tapped chef Pete Moreno from MacKenzie's Chop House (a fellow Concept Restaurant) to design a new dinner menu. According to general manager Ben Jackson, Moreno will change the nighttime menu every couple months to take advantage of seasonal ingredients. The current menu features dishes like Graham-cracker-encrusted calamari and pastrami-spiced rare Ahi.
• Café Banzai (230 Pueblo Ave., 227-7357) recently added items to its menu, such as Japanese curries (unique from Indian and Thai curries) and ramen noodles (not your college grub — the real stuff). Also, owner Kwi Kim's wife has begun making traditional kimchi (pickled cabbage), available for take-home in $4, 16-ounce jars.
• Stop by the official grand opening celebration for Savory Spice Shop (110 N. Tejon St., savoryspiceshop.com) between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, and enjoy food samples, special sales and giveaways.