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Craig Koketsu Named Executive Chef of Manhattan Ocean Club; Former Executive Sous Chef of Lespinasse to Head New Kitchen.

Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Inc today announced that Craig Koketsu has been appointed Executive Chef at Manhattan Ocean Club. Chef Koketsu will oversee several exciting changes at the restaurant, including a complete renovation of the kitchen, expanded front bar area, new uniforms and a completely revamped menu. The changes are scheduled to be unveiled in January 2004.

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Chef Koketsu was most recently Executive Sous Chef at Lespinasse, where he worked for seven years and trained under both Gray Kunz and Christian Delouvrier. While there, he developed an innovative style, influenced by progressive Asian and rustic French cuisine, and his signature dish, Patagonia shrimp with grapefruit and elderflower, was widely renowned as a customer favorite. Before joining Lespinasse, he worked at the famed restaurant, Stars, under James Beard Award winner Jeremiah Tower.

"We are very excited to have an innovative young chef of Craig's high caliber at Manhattan Ocean Club," said Alan Stillman, Chairman and CEO of Smith and Wollensky Restaurant Group. "He has worked with some of the top talent in the industry, and his passion for cooking is second to none. Craig's vision for the restaurant's new menu and kitchen will significantly add to Manhattan Ocean Club's reputation as one of New York's top seafood restaurants."

Chef Koketsu's new menu will feature unique ingredients and inventive dishes including Halibut with taro root cake and green papaya. Kitchen renovations will include the installation of planchas, high temperature griddles, which will facilitate the creation of Chef Koketsu's diverse cuisine.

"I've been presented with the chance-of-a-lifetime to transform the kitchen of one of New York's finest restaurants," said Chef Koketsu. "I look forward to the challenge and hope to provide patrons with a first-rate dining experience reflective of my experience working with some of the world's top chefs."

Opened in 1984, Manhattan Ocean Club is located on 58th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. The midtown gem boasts fresh fish and fine wines and was renovated 15 months ago by restaurant design phenom, Adam Tihany. The handsome dining areas are decorated with more than 50 wall niches exhibiting signed Picasso ceramics. Jonathan Parker, the previous Executive Chef, has left to pursue other interests.

About Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group:

The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group develops, owns and operates high-end, high-volume restaurants in major cities across the United States. The original Smith & Wollensky, a traditional New York steakhouse, opened in 1977 and is currently the largest-grossing a la carte restaurant in the country. Since its inception, the company has grown to include 18 restaurants, including Smith & Wollensky in New York, Miami Beach, Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Columbus, Dallas, Houston (Jan. 2004) and Boston (June 2004). SWRG also operates seven other restaurants in New York and Chicago, including Cite, Maloney & Porcelli, Manhattan Ocean Club, Mrs. Park's Tavern, ONEc.p.s., Park Avenue Cafe and The Post House.

Except for historical information contained herein, the statements made in this press release regarding the Company's business, strategy and results of operations are forward-looking statements which are based on management's beliefs as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events made with information currently available to management. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the Company's control, including: economic conditions generally and in each of the markets in which we are located, the amount of sales contributed by new and existing restaurants, labor costs for our personnel, fluctuations in the cost of food products, changes in consumer preferences, the level of competition from existing or new competitors in the high-end segment of the restaurant industry, and our success in implementing our growth strategy. These factors could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. For a more detailed description of the factors that could cause such a difference, please see the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: David Shein of RFBinder Partners, +1-212-994-7514, Mobile - +1-917-613-8881,, for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Inc
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 12, 2003
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