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Dining Out with Pete Tittl

The downtown space that until recently housed a cooking studio called Sustenance 101 has already landed a new tenant, according to landlord Tim Smale.

The 1810 Eye St. property, which underwent extensive renovations about a year ago, will soon be home to a casual dining area called Crash Lounge.

Unlike a bar or traditional restaurant, Smale said, the new business will feature the kind of high-end furniture and laid-back atmosphere where business people would be comfortable inviting a client for a meal and drinks. It will be open from about noon to 9 p.m., he said.

Smale declined to identify the lounge's owners, saying only that they have a history in the downtown area. He added, "It will be interesting to see how this plays out."

Meanwhile, Seamus Finn-Chandler, owner of Sustenance, said he is considering a lease offer at a larger, "more festive" location downtown. He declined to say where.

Finn-Chandler was unable to secure a lease extension on the Eye Street building, which he said came as "a surprise."

"We are reopening," he said. "We just took a little hiatus."

-- John Cox, Californian staff writer

Hot news

Firestone Grill , a popular San Luis Obispo barbecue restaurant, posted on its Facebook page recently a cryptic note: "Bakersfield you have quite the surprise coming mid 2014! Happy New Year to all!"

General Manager David Billingsley did not return calls and emails seeking more details, but the Facebook page did include one remark from the restaurant: "California Ave is a really nice street in Bakersfield *Cough* *Cough*". The restaurant also credited Tony Franco , which it called "The Prince of Bakersfield," as "the person everyone should thank for this surprise coming mid-2014 to the wonderful city of Bakersfield. He has been so influential and passionate about bestowing his city with this gift and without his guidance and direction this would have never been possible. Tony Franco has changed dining forever in the land of raised trucks and puka shell necklaces!"

The company also operates Main Street Grill in Cambria and Dog House Grill in Fresno near Save Mart Center. They're famous for their tri-tip sandwiches and hamburgers. I have dined at all three, and believe me -- those folks know how to bring out the best in any beef.

-- Pete Tittl, contributing columnist

New and different

Burger King has added two new Rodeo sandwiches to its "King Deals" menu, the Rodeo Crispy Chicken and the Rodeo Burger with pepper jack cheese, jalapeno rings and a spicy sauce. Wendy's has unveiled a similar product on its value menu ... Subway is offering any regular foot-long for $5 this month, and has added jalapeno cheddar bread to its list of flavors ... Cataldo's Pizza is moving into what had been the southwest Sea Breeze Fish & Chips restaurant on New Stine Road ... Kebab House is now open in what formerly had been a Little Caesar's Pizza location on New Stine Road ... Jack in the Box has added a healthy breakfast sandwich option, an egg white and turkey breakfast sandwich that weighs in at 250 calories. All breakfast sandwiches on the menu can now be made with egg whites at no additional cost ... Ruben's Mexican Restaurant will be opening in what had been a longtime pizza parlor in the shopping center at the corner of Rosedale Highway and Calloway ...

-- Tittl