Happy 21st birthday, Tejas. Wow. In an era where a five-year restaurant run can be thought of as a successful, twenty-one years is simply amazing. For bargain-hunters (and who isn’t one these days?), Wayne and Mark are offering a special $21 celebration-dinner deal that you might want to check out. And BTW, I was thrilled to find out that kids eat free on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
On a sadder note, Confluence, Mark McGraw’s restaurant in Prescott, has closed for good. When I asked him in an e-mail exchange to clarify his note informing me of the closing, he said that he was closing for good "in Prescott," and his website indicates that he is looking for a new location in a larger pond. Confluence served some great food, and although I only ate there twice, I wished I could have gone more often. McGraw is a talented young chef and will land on his feet, but closings like this one always leave me feeling empty. I asked McGraw why they closed and he reminded me of my own aphorism: That restaurants simply close “because they don’t have customers.” He went on to say, "I'm not blaming gas prices, the economy, the weather, or Prescott. Everyday that we were open, the service and the food got a little better. That’s all that matters."
He’s right, and he’s a class act, but the most important part of the story is that he’s still planning on cooking somewhere soon. And while he wont blame anything or anyone, I think he was ahead of the curve opening a restaurant like his in a town with a limited audience for his product.
By the way, tonight is my Halloween Special on Travel Channel, and there is a new show called Bizarre Worlds with Andrew Zimmern that you can check out next Tuesday when it goes back to back with the Hawaii episode. Two world premieres next Tuesday (starting at 9 p.m. EST).
I get a lot of e-mail and posters on this site asking if they can go on a trip with me and the crew when we shoot the show . . . well, now you can. We are running an "Are You Bizarre Enough for TV?" casting call, in which viewers will submit a video to get a chance to be my sidekick on an upcoming Bizarre Foods episode to be shot next year. Three finalists will get a trip to Minneapolis to meet with me so I can decide who gets the nod. Entries can be submitted here.
Blake Richardson, the Herkimer Brew Pub guru, has just opened moto-i in the old Machu Picchu space. Will a sake brewery work here? Cool concept. Let’s see if he can pull it off.
Speaking of executing, not just opening, my buddy Geoff tipped me off to a deli opening in Golden Valley called Mort’s that will open around November 1st. Apparently, they are serving H&H Bagels, Carnegie Deli Pickles, Carnegie Deli-brand meats, and Bests’ kosher products as well. Their blog has more details. Several people I know are ecstatic, but I am simply cautiously optimistic since they are not embracing the true deli genre and seem to be doing deli-lite by their own admission on their blog. They are buying and serving quality stuff to be sure, but that only makes them good shoppers at this point, not good cooks. What a mitzvah it would be if they made a great matzoh ball soup and built a killer sandwich? Fingers crossed.