|Leawood's Zest has new ownership|
Duerr apparently wasn't the only Zest staffer to be laid off after the change in ownership; several employees were reportedly let go.
Joe DiGiovanni -- best-known for his intimate Brookside wine bistro, Joe D's Winebar Cafe (which he sold in 2005 -- it's now the site of chef Celina Tio's Julian Restaurant) -- and co-owner Mike Schreiber have sold Zest to the owners of Brookside's Avenues Bistro. The venue will continue to be operated as Zest, but chef Duerr won't be there. Duerr had known that some kind of change was coming: "I had been aware for several months that business was down, and Mike Schreiber was telling me that he was negotiating with different restaurateurs."
Yesterday Schreiber officially gave Duerr her walking papers, telling her that Joe Birch, the chef-owner of Avenues Bistro, and his partners were taking over the restaurant.
"It's disappointing," Duerr says. "This is the second time in a year that I've gone through this and it's emotionally draining. You put a lot of work and mental energy in creating a new menu for a restaurant. You know, I really do need a vacation!"
Duerr would like to be employed again soon, hopefully closer to midtown where she lives with husband Leon Bahlmann, the executive chef for Cafe Trio on the Country Club Plaza.