One of the most important outside issues to local restaurateurs is where their patrons are going to park. The dozen or so dining rooms on Russian Hill, anchored by La Folie, have always relied heavily on the nearby Sherman School parking lot for their valet service -- until last week, that is. The school's new principal, Pat Forte, citing damaged property, oil spills, and endangerment of her students, has canceled this nighttime use of her grounds. (The parking company, which donates $500 monthly to the SFUSD, says it pressure-cleans the asphalt regularly and has painted and repaired the parking area.) The restaurants have been complaining loudly in supervisors' offices and school board meeting rooms.
Spoke with Devon Kessler over at the Palomar project, Kimpton's latest swanky art deco flophouse at Fourth and Market streets, which just opened. The hotel is managed by former Ritz Grand Domo Jorge Trevino, while September will see the opening of Fifth Floor, George Morrone's new restaurant on the ... fifth floor. If you can make it past the Old Navy painter pant displays, enjoy. Gee, I wonder if Magic has his own suite.
The hippest restaurant in the hippest nabe is putting on weight: Ti Couz has experienced a little spreading with its expansion down 16th toward Valencia. The new dining room allows owner Sylvie LeMer and her merry band of workers to offer raw bar selections and a hot seafood menu, but the biggest plus is increased outdoor seating: Now you can have a comfortable place to dine with a clear view of all the crackheads and poseurs.
Shake It Up
Finlandia Spirits hosted the finals of its infused cocktails contest last week at the W Hotel -- and the undisputed champion was Graham from Thanh Long out on Judah, who beat out Steve E. of Skylark for a trip to Hawaii. Remember, boys, it's all fun and games until somebody gets an olive pick in the eye.
Who cruised into Hyde Street's Sushi Groove after a particularly long squawk at Civic Center? None other than Melissa Etheridge. The rock star was very well-behaved, though her leopard-print cowgirl hat had a little too much sake.
Harry didn't even know that they served food there, but it seems that the Planet Hollywood Restaurant Group has declared bankruptcy. Say, maybe opening glitz and glam restaurants in Third World countries wasn't the most fiscally responsible move after all.
Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.