Capshaw goes Loco: Another eatery joins the dynasty


The word is still out on Station, but Dish knows for certain that Barbara Shifflett's other restaurant, Mono Loco, is now in the possession of Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw. Shifflett sold the popular Cuban-flavored bistro on Water Street (next door to the soon-to-open eatery in the old Metro location) in order to work fewer late-night hours and devote more time to her new catering company, Hot Stuff.

"I was looking for less overhead and more freedom," Shifflett told Dish.

Good-byes are never easy, though.

"I want to thank my employees and customers for eight years of happiness," she called me back to add, "without great employees, you're nothing."

As for Capshaw, his group officially takes over on February 1. Few major changes are planned at present.

"We think Mono Loco is such a great restaurant, and we really want to preserve its unique flavor," says Michael Keaveny, director of operations for all of Capshaw's restaurants which include Blue Light, Mas, and Starr Hill.

Keaveny also stressed that the new management will work with the existing staff to preserve the basic look and taste of the menu. Plans are to close for a few weeks in early February in order to assess the equipment, tweak things a bit, and give the place a thorough cleaning.

Dish will keep you posted on any new monkey business on Water Street.


Eat Thai, Help Tsunami Victims

Pikke Inthisen, the owner of Downtown Thai at 111 Water Street (formerly Thai Thip), was compelled to act as soon as she saw the images of Tsunami victims on television. A native of Bangkok, Pikke didn't actually know any of the thousands of Thais (children, in particular) affected by the natural disaster, but she nonetheless wanted to do what she could to help. For the entire month of January, 20 percent of Downtown Thai's sales will go towards Tsunami Relief.

"I wanted to give 50 percent at first," Pikke shared, "but then my son reminded me that I needed to keep enough to pay our employees!" She estimates that her family-run restaurant will collect between $20-30,000 from meals and a separate donations box. Thousands more could be earned on Sunday, January 23, when Downtown Thai will host an all-day Tsunami Relief Fundraising Event.

From noon until 8 pm, the restaurant will come alive with music and dance (performers will include Corey Harris and Thai singer/dancer Pikke herself) and a bountiful buffet featuring pad thai, chicken barbecue, and curries.

She says all donations will go directly to the Archbishop Lawrence Khai Saen-pho-non's Tsunami aid project in Thailand. Pikke hopes to travel to Thailand with a group of locals in early February on a relief mission, so those interested in helping out now know where to go.


Big Mouth mystery

For a restaurant that boasts a wide-open mouth as its logo, Big Mouth Pizza sure is hush-hush these days. The glass door has been locked since late December without a word of explanation. The phone rings and rings without an answer. Signs still list opening hours that never come. Menus and flatware sit patiently on the dust-coated tables, and computers and game machines flash on and off in the otherwise dark dining room. Kind of creepy.

Opened by Frank Cramblitt in December, 2003, this petite little space brought thick-crusted pies to the renovated brick building at 909 West Main Street, next door to Asian Express. The dough recipe was a Cramblitt family secret, shared only with Albemarle Baking Company, the bakery that par-baked all of the pizza dough for Big Mouth (per Cramblitt's specifications).

Bakery owner Gerry Newman confirms that Big Mouth paid up and stopped orders in late December. Though he's not sure who's in charge at the restaurant now, Newman suspects that Cramblitt is no longer a part of the picture. Karry Yan-Cao, the ever-present owner of Asian Express, seconds this assumption: she told Dish she hasn't seen Cramblitt around since late November, and cell phone messages we left were not immediately returned. Let's hope next week brings fresh clues to help Dish solve this Big Mouth mystery.

The Coran


The Downtown Thai restaurant is raising tsunami relief funds during January.