Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Bruggemeier back in action




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Omigosh, look who's back in the kitchen. And in the front of the house. And behind the bar. And, well, just about everywhere.

        It's former Cincinnatian Carl Bruggemeier, late of Ciao Baby, late of the Phoenix, late of the Diner. The actual tally is 50 restaurants. “This one right here is the 50th I've been involved with,” he said.

        Right here is in Fishers, Ind., a tony suburb north of Indianapolis. And this one is Peterson's (named after partner Joe Peterson and no relation to Cincinnati's Petersen's, though the logo Bruggemeier designed is similar).

        The upscale steak and seafood joint opened Saturday with one of those trademark Bruggemeier parties. Meaning waaaay lavish.

        Guests, including Cincinnatians Paul Kitzmiller, who designed the slate, marble and dark wood interior, and wine broker Kevin Chaney, milled 'n' munched on beef and pork tenderloin, baby lamb chops, veal, lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon, caviar and goodness only knows what else piled on tables presided over by costumed characters: A mermaid sprawled across the seafood table; Cleopatra stood atop the dessert table; a peacock waved her plume atop the meat table.

        Overheard in any number of buffet lines? A little of everything:

        • “Carl has been here night and day. Maybe now he'll come home at night.” That would be new wife (not sure what number) Debi, former director of in-flight services at Comair, all done up in black sequins. “I guess he's always this way when he opens a new one.”

        • “Do you believe this is a former Frisch's? Do you believe what Paul did with it?” asked Bruggemeier. Reminded that the downtown Ciao Baby was also an ex-Frisch's, he added, “Think it's a trend? I do miss Ciao; it was a good thing for a time,” but he now guesses things just moved too fast.

        • “In an upscale neighborhood like this, it's the little touches that are going to sell,” said guest Dyanne Kornman of Indy. “Like those white tulips he has everywhere. Or the heat lamps in the garden. And did you see the front? He's got 40 private humidors and 36 wine closets there, and most are spoken for. Rich people like that stuff.”

        They also like a good party. It was supposed to end at 10 p.m., but most of the crowd was still there at 11:30 when Psst! finally waddled away from the dessert table.

        COW NEWS: And this from Amberley Village's renegade bovine: Carmelita is alive, well and still free-ranging it.

        Referring here to the cow that escaped last year from a farm in Amberley. Since then, it has been roaming French Park as well as the neighbors yards.

        Police, citizen and animal experts' efforts to capture Carmelita all have failed.

        Main problem has been the wooded terrain, but there's also the darkness. Seems she has become nocturnal, though there have been daytime sightings.

        Such as the one where neighbor Kern Anderson got one with a throw-away camera Diane Levine gave him.

        Another photo expedition went out last week: Evelyn Kirschner, a staffer at Victoria Retirement Community, and colleagues led a photo expedition of 18 residents.

        “An activity assistant, Eileen Migon, did a cardboard cow cutout to use as a lure. There was also talk of dressing someone in a cow suit, but we decided to pass.”

        Carmelita didn't show.

        Maybe she would have showed Thursday had President Clinton not canceled his trip to Stan Chesley's Amberley home. Maybe dressed in a blue dress and pert little beret?

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

KNIPPENBERG ARCHIVE