by Susan Ellis
Last night, Food News writer Pam Denney and I went to the soft opening of Stella Marris, Steve Cooper's restaurant that had been the subject of protests by Cordovans who were concerned about Cooper's background in adult entertainment.
To say the place — which is two-story and seats 330 — is ornate doesn't quite describe it...
Even the bathroom boasts top-of-the-line hand-dryers by Dyson.
The name of the restaurant means "star of the sea." Here's one: a lobster surrounded by shrimp.
One of the restaurant's signature dishes is the crawfish mac 'n' cheese. Pam thought it was delicious.
Eight-hundred folks were invited for the opening. Among them: Amy and Lee Filderman and Sammy Rosenberg.
Here's a familiar face: chef Derk Meitzler, formerly of Cafe 61.
Cooper sat down to chat with us in one of the restaurant's private rooms. He admitted it's been a long and difficult road to get Stella Marris open but was nothing but optimistic about the spot and the surrounding area.
The kitchen has two lobster tanks and a staff of about 20. We went in to look around and ran into Orlando Fason who had both a big smile and a big knife.
Don and Rita DeWeese, owners of Gibson Donuts, danced to the music provided by Hudson & Saleeby. Don said, "My wife loves to dance, and you've got to keep your wife happy."
Stella Marris opens to the public this weekend. It's located at 7955 Fischer Steel Road.