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Grand (Re)opening
Big Shirley's (1500 Esplanade Ave., 301-9704) is back in business following a brief hiatus; a grand reopening is underway, according to a sign out front. The restaurant's general vibe -- brick walls, loud R&B music, relaxed service -- remains intact, though the menu has been abbreviated to a single page. Fortunately, you can still get signature dishes such as New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp pummeled with rosemary, and crabcakes, as either appetizer or entree; barbecue ribs are only available at dinnertime. Big Shirley's is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch Saturday and Sunday.

Happy Anniversary
Ric Hopper, formerly a manager at Martin Wine Cellar, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of his retail store, Hopper's Wines & Spirits (Uptown Square, 170 Broadway St., 861-7500), with Saturday tastings, drawings for prizes and a 20 percent discount on select bottles throughout August. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Market Watch
You could schedule a trip to Hopper's Wines & Spirits around Tuesday's Green Plate specials at the Crescent City Farmers Market, held at Uptown Square every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mat & Naddie's (937 Leonidas St., 861-9600) is on Green Plate duty all month. For information on the market, call 861-5898, email at or visit

Through the Grapevine
Martin Wine Cellar will hold an Old World vs. New World wine tasting from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Metairie store (714 Elmeer Ave., 896-7300). The comparative tasting of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all paired with cheeses, costs $25. Reservations required.

Get Experienced
When nobody wants to cook but everybody wants an exclusive dining experience, groups of six to 12 may consider designing a Round Table dinner at Artesia (21516 La. Hwy. 36, Abita Springs, 985-892-1662). Chef Robert Vazquez works with the group's host to personalize the menu and complementary wines; the restaurant will also arrange for flowers, place cards and custom-printed menus. For four courses and three wine pairings, the cost begins at $70 per person, which includes service.

Pleading the Fifth
The fifth Reginelli's Pizzeria opened at 817 W. Esplanade, Suite F, in Kenner late last month. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.


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