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Shacking Up
"We're gonna wake up Harahan," says Jimmy Collings, the owner of Rivershack Tavern (3449 River Road, Jefferson, 834-4938) who, with wife Samantha, is nearly set to debut a new bar and restaurant in the old Pontchartrain Bank building (1855 Dock St.). Shimmy Shack's menu will be upscale of Rivershack's, which is already more inventive than most bar menus. Shimmy Shack plans to offer full-meal entrees and a line of Cuban-style "flat" sandwiches, as well as burgers and po-boys. Known at Rivershack for turning other people's junk into a barroom of treasures, Collings has already found 800 (at least)-year-old cypress wood for Shimmy Shack's bar top, which he plans to stain with 150-year-old Grand Marnier. The video poker machines are in the old bank vault, which is wallpapered with photographs of real safe deposit boxes. And there's one "really cool decoration" that won't be revealed until an official unveiling. One can only imagine. "You've got to make fun of yourself and the business you're in because otherwise it'll eat you alive," Collings says. Shimmy Shack will open in October.

Best of the Rest
"Keep it local." That's the logo Kevin Roberts, a former brand manager in the electronics industry, is trying to get across with his 39-page, self-published New Orleans Neighborhood Restaurant Guide: A Guide for the Rest of Us ($5.95). Recognizing that many of the restaurants included do benefit from significant tourist business (Pascal's Manale and Jacques-Imo's, for example), Roberts is most concerned with marketing 40 of New Orleans' unique neighborhood restaurants to the metro area's locals. "You don't need all those cruise ships if you'd just market yourself to Metairie," he says. The impassioned author once held a birthday dinner at Franky & Johnny's and was horrified to learn that nine of his 13 guests -- all of whom live in the area -- had never been to the Uptown landmark. Another time, one of Roberts' friends living in the suburbs admitted he had never taken his children to Angelo Brocato for ice cream. "Most kids in America think you have to go to a shopping mall to eat dinner," he says. "I want to help these restaurants get exposure to the next generation." Look for Roberts' guide at Barnes & Noble's Metairie location, Borders, Beaucoup Books, Octavia Books, Maple Street Book Shop, Perlis on Magazine Street, CD Warehouse on Magazine Street and at many neighborhood restaurants mentioned in the book.

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