Oleys ribs interior

I had a perfectly pleasant lunch recently at Oley’s Kitchen and Bar-b-que, on Rio Grande Avenue near the corner of Michigan Street. It isn’t anything special or fancy, just plain, good food.

The woman who greeted me seemed to be the only one working there at the time, but she was handling all the duties just fine. She graciously offered me the menu and something to drink, then returned a few moments later to take my order.

Oley’s specializes, according to its menu, in both Southern/soul and Caribbean cuisines, so of course I had to have some of each. From the former I got the barbecued ribs, from the latter, stew chicken, not to be confused with chicken stew.


Note: An earlier version of the story misspelled the name of the new chef. It is Rajesh Ramaih.

We know a little more about the fate of American Gymkhana, the very good fine dining Indian restaurant on Sand Lake Road that announced its imminent closing. As I told you then, the management of AmGym and the investment backers have split due to irreconcilable differences. The American Gymkhana concept -- as well as its name -- was developed by Rajesh Bhardwaj, a Manhattan restaurateur who was approached by the owners of Raga, the restaurant that occupied the space prior to AmGym, to try to turn the business around.

He did that, at least from a critical standpoint, but people close to the operation tell me that the partners were not happy with the business side of the operation and wanted Bhardwaj to implement changes that he found contrary to the concept. 

The chef that Bhardwaj brought in from the kitchens of his Michelin-starred Junoon restaurant in New York, Aarthi Sampath, has left American Gymkhana and is returning to New York (where, it is rumored, Bhardwaj may open an American Gymkhana). Now cooking at Sand Lake Road is Rajesh Ramaih, who recently moved from San Francisco. 

Although it was previously reported that American Gymkhana would cease to exist at the end of April, it now looks like it will continue to operate under that name until the middle of May. Then it will be known as Fusion 360. A spokesman at the future Fusion said that the menu would continue to have Indian dishes but would also feature "American" items with an Indian twist -- a steak, for instance, marinated in the same ingredients currently used for the lamb chops.

The restaurant is expected to stay open throughout the transition, though the person I spoke with said it may have to close for a few days just prior to the opening, which is projected for May 15.


Rincon Latino exterior

For many years I’ve had a little favorite Cuban cafe on Forsyth Road called Rincon Cubano. I’ve been recommending it to people for a long time, and I always hear back from those I’ve sent there how much they liked it, too.

So I was a little concerned when I was driving by recently and saw that the name had changed to Rincon Latino. I figured I’d better stop in and give it a try. My fears worsened when I walked inside and found the small dining area empty of any other guests, even though it was the height of the lunch hour (and the cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch). But I also noticed something else: the place was tidier than I remembered it. And the pleasant young woman who stepped up to take my order at the counter allayed any lingering worry when she assured me that even though the name had changed, “It’s still the same food.”

It might actually be better.


Wahlburger logo

In an agreement scheduled to be announced Thursday, Central Florida restaurateur Manny Garcia has signed a deal for the Florida franchise of Wahlburgers, a casual burger restaurant in the Boston area owned by brothers Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. That restaurant — along with the brothers, two-thirds of whom were somewhat famous beforehand — is also the subject of reality television show, called Wahlburgers, on A&E.

The company also will announce Thursday a similar agreement with John Cestare of Big Apple Burgers to franchise the concept in Manhattan and Coney Island.


Plates app

Have you ever gone out to dinner or lunch with a group of friends with everybody ordering different things, some plates to share, others, like that ridiculous salad whatshername always gets and keeps to herself (as if anyone else wanted any of it in the first place), some friends getting wines by the glass and others, like ol' Salad Sal, getting elaborate cocktails? And then at the end of the meal, someone, usually you-know-who, will suggest you split the check evenly? Of course you have. And then you spend the time after the check is delivered painstakingly trying to determine who ordered what, because there's no way your paying for that extra dressing and the top-shelf cocktail (she had three of them, of course). Then you cave and just split it evenly.

Well, next time it happens — and you know it will — whip out your smartphone and open the Plates app. It will help you figure out who ordered what, what was shared evenly and what each person owes, including his or her fair share of the tax and tip.

There is still some painstake involved in the process; it isn't all done with a quick flip of a switch, but the drag and drop process makes it somewhat easier. This article at Yahoo! shows the steps involved. And when you get down to who owes what make sure you also have your Square credit card swiper so when your tipsy friend says she doesn't have any cash you can say, "MasterCard or Visa?"