Celebrity-driven DSE teams up with rocker Santana for upscale eateries

Celebrity-driven DSE teams up with rocker Santana for upscale eateries

WALNUT CREEK CALIF. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Named for Santana’s Grammy Award-winning single of 2000, Maria Maria was designed in partnership with the famed guitarist as a growth vehicle for Dudum Sports & Entertainment Corp. as DSE joins a California boom in upscale Mexican restaurants. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Officials of the Walnut Creek-based company also see Maria Maria’s debut here this month as an opportunity to test ideas for the development of a second Santana-inspired chain flagship to be called Santana’s, which would open on the Las Vegas Strip by early 2009. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Celebrated Mexico City-born chef Roberto Santibañez, former culinary director for the New York-based Rosa Mexicano [3] restaurants, is helping develop the menus for Maria Maria and Santana’s, which will aim to present authentic regional Mexican cuisine in contemporary and music-filled atmospheres. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Maria Maria is among a growing number of higher-end Mexican concepts designed to tap into California’s increasing appetite for gourmet Latin flavors. The category includes the two-location fine-dining concept Las Campanas Mexican Cuisine & Cantina in Riverside County, the upcoming Mucho Ultima Mexicana in Manhattan Beach and the premium-tequila-focused Amaranta Cocina Mexicana in the Los Angeles suburb of Canoga Park. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

While preparing for the Oct. 22 debut of Maria Maria and its first branch opening in a few months in Arizona, DSE also is growing its existing brands. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

A second location of Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chop-house opened in Austin, Texas, earlier this month and is the company’s first restaurant outside of California. The original Joe DiMaggio’s is in San Francisco, and DSE is looking for a third location for that brand to open in 2009 in New York City. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

DSE also is planning more locations of its two-unit Bing Crosby’s concept, which currently operates in Walnut Creek and Rancho Mirage, Calif. A San Diego branch is planned for next year, and the company is in negotiations for more Bing Crosby’s in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Boca Raton, Fla. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

McCovey’s, DSE’s first concept, which showcases San Francisco Giants baseball great Willie McCovey in a Walnut Creek location, may get a second incarnation in 2009 in Palo Alto, Calif. DSE also operates the restaurant Center Court, which spotlights basketball star Chris Webber, in Sacramento, Calif. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Earlier this year, DSE bought three restaurants formerly known as The Cantina with plans for makeovers into the Maria Maria format. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

A new Maria Maria prototype in Tempe, Ariz., is expected to open in early 2008. The Cantina locations didn’t allow for all aspects of the architectural design DSE has in mind for Maria Maria, so the company decided to build that new facility to establish standards for future growth, explained Jeff Dudum, DSE’s president and chief executive. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Where most Mexican restaurants focus on the basic format of “beans, rice, guacamole and cheese,” Maria Maria will aim for more “center-of-the-plate finesse,” said Mark Wooldridge, DSE’s chief operating officer. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Chef Santibañez, who Wooldridge described as the “Paul Prudhomme of Mexico, though not the same size,” is known for his work over the past six years at the Rosa Mexicano chain, which has seven East Coast locations. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

With Maria Maria and Santana’s, Santibañez said, “we’re going to do Mexican cuisine from all the different regions.… It will be not only traditional, but also creative.” —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Dishes might include shredded duck tacos with roasted-tomato-habanero cream sauce, for example, or ancho chiles stuffed with roasted zucchini, red onions, tomatoes and mushrooms with a roasted-tomatillo sauce. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Santana, himself, is serving as “cultural consultant” on the project, Dudum said. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Both of the concepts will offer live music, but entertainment will be a much larger component at Santana’s, which would likely offer a broader, more upscale menu. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Maria Maria will have an average ticket of about $17 per person, which is similar to that of McCovey’s and slightly higher than the $15 to $16 per-person ticket at Center Court. Among DSE concepts, Bing Crosby’s has the highest per-person ticket, at $43 to $47, followed by Joe DiMaggio’s, at about $39, Wooldridge said. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

The new project also marks a change in strategy, Dudum said. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

Before disclosing its plans with Santana, DSE had about nine celebrities interested in developing restaurant concepts, but Dudum said all have been put on hold. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

“We’re really confident about working with the celebrities we have today,” Dudum said. “But we’ve found that sometimes working with celebrities can be extremely difficult. Negotiations can take a lot of time.” —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”

DSE has grown with the help of majority partner and investor Tom Gonzales, who also was co-founder of the once-booming dot-com start-up Commerce One, and later was a Las Vegas real-estate developer. —A restaurant company known for brands licensed from the estates of such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Joe DiMaggio is poised to launch new concepts based on rock legend Carlos Santana and his hit song, “Maria Maria.”