So That's How Rumors Get Started
Houston's food underground was recently abuzz with fear: Rumor had it that the legendary Cafe Annie (1728 Post Oak Boulevard, 840-1111) had closed. About a month ago, the trademark blue awning mysteriously disappeared from the front of the Galleria-area restaurant, the much-praised domain of celebrity chef Robert del Grande. Premature word of Cafe Annie's demise spread like a virus, carried by cyberspace and fanned by wagging tongues.

But according to Cafe Annie's manager, Marianna Berryhill, the plot is more comic than tragic: "There was this really sweet guy who'd just moved to Houston from California, with all his belongings stored in a big rented moving truck. He saw the eatZi's sign from the freeway, and decided to stop for a bite to eat."

Being as unfamiliar with the Houston restaurant scene as he was inexperienced with large trucks, the driver intended to drive under Cafe Annie's awning to get to nearby eatZi's (1702 Post Oak Boulevard). "And that's when he creamed our awning," says Berryhill.

As soon as the wrecked awning was hauled away, the insurance wrangling began. "Between his personal insurance and the rental truck company's insurance and our insurance, it's really a mess," sighs Berryhill. "But while we're waiting, we've decided to redesign the awning, so the whole process could take as long as another month."

In the meantime, Cafe Annie has temporary signage and what Berryhill calls a "really silly" banner to reassure its devoted fans that business within goes on as usual. "It hasn't hurt our business any, but a number of friends have mentioned the rumor to me," she says. "When it rains, we have to get extra valets with umbrellas to walk people to the door, but that's about the extent of it."

Mi Luna Rises Again
The story of Mi Luna's temporary closing, however, was based in fact. On October 31, shoppers in the Rice Village were startled to see the fire engines called for a three-alarm blaze that began in Peterson's Pharmacy. The flames were extinguished around 8 a.m., but firefighters hung around to check out the estimated $100,000 in damage to several stores.

While Mi Luna (2441 University Boulevard, 520-5025) didn't actually burn, bricks from the neighboring walls crashed through the ceiling of its kitchen, according to general manager Wafi Dinari. The overhead damage has since been repaired, and as of November 12, Mi Luna was again dishing out tapas and other Mediterranean-inspired favorites.

-- Margaret L. Briggs


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