Side Dish

Last Course
The food industry exposes many young people to the finer things in life. After all, where else can you get such an education in wine, food, business -- and fast cash? But there is a less savory side to the late hours and camaraderie of the restaurant business.

Why the soapbox, Harry? Well, I've been giving this a lot of thought lately, following the overdose deaths of two restaurant workers, both in their early 20s. The industry isn't to blame for their deaths, but the devil-may-care lifestyle it encourages is partly responsible. Restaurant work is like a party every night, but there are dangers if you take this attitude too far. Many companies offer drug education and counseling in their benefits package, but often that is not enough. We need to step up and look out for our own -- in memory of Skylar and Sean.

Women and Children First
Real American Restaurants, the blue-collar offshoot of the Real Restaurants octopus, was created to bring the people bright and exciting dining at a lower price. One of the initial investors was our own dearly beleaguered Eddie D., who was in on a Niners-themed diner.

Well, the fat lady is clearing her throat, and the other partners are looking to buy out DeBartolo's share before he sinks any deeper into his quagmire. Howzabout a burger place with a gambling and bribery theme? The interior could be done up like a riverboat casino. Now there's an idea that'd float.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight
After 30 years under the same ownership, the corner space at Sacramento and Divisadero is on the market. Two-and-a-half million bucks will get you two apartments, two garages, and a charming ground-floor lounge zoned for a bar -- hope the liquor license is included! The Lion Pub/Lounge, which is currently in the space, has been a quiet hang for upscale gays for many years, but has seen a lot of changes in recent months. It's a perfect spot for someone with deep pockets and simple ideas.

Clever Waiter Tricks
Jason Wolos, former South of Market server, has hit the big time with his second film festival screening. His debut short The High and the Mighty screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival three years back to great reviews, while his latest, Waiter Duty, will screen this Friday at the Castro as part of the Dockers Classically Independent Film Festival.

This Kafka-meets-Capra short explores an alternate reality in which people have to pay off their restaurant faux pas by working on the floor. Expect a rabid audience of hundreds of angry waiters hungry for revenge. And Harry does have a small cameo, so keep your eyes peeled.

Staring
Gwyneth Paltrow and her posse -- Oscar winners are never alone -- found their way to Tonic last week for a cocktail or three. No, she wasn't wearing that horrendous gown, and no, she didn't break into tears of joy. But she did seem to be having a good time.

And David Cassidy shimmied into Sushi Groove while he was in town. The former teen star is far from idle -- he's putting his underrated talents to (charitable) work for the Warchild USA Fund, founded by David Bowie and Pavarotti to help war orphans. Cassidy wrote a song and is leading the pack of artists he's recruited -- it's sort of a "We Are the World" kinda thang.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

 
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