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FOODIE RUSTICA: AUGUST 2008

No Wilhelm. No Adventure.

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(Aug. 19, 2008)—With the new Wilhelm's Chophouse having just opened right down the street in Irvine, it's no wonder the Culinary Adventures bankruptcy presented a major shocker in Orange County. I mean really, I hadn't even gotten a chance to try the place and now it's becoming rotating real estate for the next hot spot.

The bankruptcy made Nation's Restaurant News headlines today, days after Wilhelm announced he was leaving a company of which he was a co-founder more than 10 years ago. While the Chophouse didn't survive, the French 75 locations in Laguna Beach and at Fashion Island in Newport have been spared, as have Sorrento Grille in Laguna Beach and the Savannah locations in Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa and Laguna Niguel. I'm not sure what's going on with the Oasis Grill and Sky Lounge at John Wayne Airport, which Wilhelm designed and opened two years ago and, which by the way closes way too early for the hungry and thirsty flying a red-eye.

Good grief. With a duck confit that can't go wrong and a dimly lit French bistro vibe that makes anyone look and feel gorgeous, we can be grateful French 75 is still kicking. I guess the 11-year old company had debt up the wazzoo—happens to the best of us—with the largest creditor listed as Kingsley & Kingsley, an Encino-based law firm specializing in wage-and-hour and personal injury cases, to whom Culinary Adventures owed $212,250 for an unspecified legal settlement. Hmm.

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