Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hello Debbie, Goodbye Tommy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 2:59 PM

By CHARLES FERRUZZA

Debbie_Gold_thumb.JPG

There’s been some significant movement in Kansas City’s restaurant scene this week.

After failing to keep her Overland Park restaurant 40 Sardines open as the sole chef-owner, Debbie Gold is bouncing back from her divorce from chef Michael Smith (who has remarried and now runs his own namesake restaurant at 1900 Main Street with his wife Nancy).

She’s returning to The American Restaurant in Crown Center, where Gold and Smith were co-executive chefs from 1994 to 2001; the pair won a prestigious James Beard Award in 1999. Gold resumes duties at The American on July 1, replacing another James Beard Award-winning chef, Celina Tio. According to a press release issued by Crown Center on June 10, Tio is leaving The American to open a restaurant on the East Coast.

The week’s other big news has been the death, at 58, of iconoclastic restaurateur Tom Macaluso. The lovable but volatile Macaluso died in his apartment on June 8. Loved or hated, Macaluso remained one of Kansas City’s larger-than-life restaurant industry personalities even after he closed his namesake restaurant in 2007. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, June 14 at 1 p.m. at Unity Temple, 707 W. 47th Street.

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