Betting on Bottles
The horses won't be galloping at the Fair Grounds Race Course (1751 Gentilly Blvd., 948-1285; www.fairgroundsracecourse.com) until the official start of the local racing season next month. But the historic racetrack will open its doors to visitors this Thursday, Oct. 23, for a special wine-tasting event called "All-American All-Stars," held in partnership with Dorignac's Food Center (710 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 834-8216; www.dorignacs.com). The tasting will feature 20 wines by domestic producers, along with an assortment of cheeses. The tasting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the fourth-floor Fair Grounds Clubhouse. The Fair Grounds plans to hold similar events each month. Tickets cost $25 each and are available in advance at Dorignac's.
Gumbo Shop Sold
Local restaurateur Hicham Khodr bought the Gumbo Shop (630 St. Peter St., 525-1486; www.gumboshop.com) restaurant and its Uptown catering operation last week from chef Richard Stewart and William Roberts. Khodr says he plans no major changes at the 60-year-old restaurant, but hopes to open additional Gumbo Shop locations in other markets. The purchase and expansion plans follow a pattern Khodr set after Katrina when he bought Camellia Grill and reopened the landmark Riverbend diner, whose post-storm future was then in doubt. A second Camellia Grill is set to open in Baton Rouge as part of a large, mixed-use development called Perkins Rowe, currently under construction. Khodr and his business partners in 3 of a Kind Restaurant Group own the local Byblos chain of Middle Eastern restaurants, which they recently expanded with a new restaurant called Zaya in the Atlanta area.