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A new Warehouse District spot endures a false start.


You needn't be a fan of Hell's Kitchen to realize that restaurants can be hotbeds of ego, intrigue, and backbiting. The most recent episode seems to be unfolding at Jac's, the new French-inflected spot on West Sixth in the Warehouse District.

Though the whole truth remains elusive, this much is certain: Less than a week after the restaurant's June 27 opening, both its executive chef, Jason Simon, and GM, Fred Lima, were out on the street. Lima says he was fired without reason. Simon, who claims a master's degree in culinary arts and experience at several top New Orleans restaurants, says he quit in a show of solidarity.

"Jason didn't know his audience," counters Robert Hughes, Jac's director of operations. "His menu wasn't right, his price points were too high, and his food was just too sophisticated for the younger group who comes to the Warehouse District." It's unclear why all of this wasn't obvious to management earlier -- say, at Simon's job interview.

A new executive chef has been hired to replace Simon, Hughes says, and a new "upscale Mediterranean bistro" menu -- sans the fancy French stuff -- will be premiering shortly.

Lima, meanwhile, gives Jac's six months to live. "And that will be on stubbornness alone."

Organic recital . . . Chef Brian Doyle (World's Fare Culinary Services) will conduct a free cooking demo and offer samples of organic goodies from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, at the Willoughby Arabica (4148 Erie Street). On the menu: quinoa tabbouleh, Moroccan couscous, Tuscan club sandwiches, and dark chocolate frozen mousse.

The ingredients come from Danny's Organic Marketplace, a 1,200-square-foot business launched in 2004 by former sales exec Danny Judy. The store is tiny but tightly stocked, with products ranging from organic meats and veggies to all-natural cotton sheets. Shoppers are welcome Monday through Saturday at 37111 Euclid Avenue (800-863-6022). For leisurely browsing, check out the informative website at www.dannysorganic.com.

Pig out . . . Pulled-pork fans will want to hightail it to Caesar's Bar-B-Que (22019 Emery Road in Warrensville Heights, 216-475-0100). Incredibly lush, moist, and tender, Caesar's version gets our vote for the best in town.

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