Jeff Sinelli perfects the art of sandwich-making, Cecilia Edwards is making Dallas better, Jay McGraw gets real, and more.

Bread Winner

you’ve lived here more than one day, you know our success stories when
it comes to chain restaurants: Steak & Ale, Romano’s Macaroni
Grill, and Tony Roma’s, just to name a few. Most food critics don’t pay
attention to the “c-word”—it’s  the same Chili’s whether it’s on
Greenville Avenue or in Greenville, Texas—but we’re happy to make an exception for Jeff Sinelli,
who is well on his way to joining the local chain gang. The 35-year-old
struck gold by overhauling Genghis Cahn’s Mongolian Feast into Genghis
Grill, and now he’s back with Which Wich, a restaurant dedicated to the
fine art (it is!) of making good sandwiches. Here the customer is
always right, with made-to-order creations that rely on high-quality
meats, cheeses, and condiments. Even better, unlike other sandwich
shops, Which Wich doesn’t herd customers like sheep to view the
assembly-line production.

We’re not the only ones to notice: in
September, Chain Leader magazine gave Sinelli its first-ever Protégé
Award, a considerable achievement because
the other two categories were won by Rick Federico, CEO of P.F. Chang’s
(Chain Leadership), and Norman Brinker, one of Sinelli’s mentors
(Legend Award). Sinelli has already sold five franchises of Which Wich
in Florida and has plans to open between 30 and 50 in the Dallas area.
Brown-bagging never had it so good. —Nancy Nichols


ANGEL AMONG US: Cecilia Edwards has a long history with nonprofit groups.

Good Works
Meet the leader of a local foundation who is making Dallas better.
by Brian D. Sweany

Cecilia Edwards discusses the Foundation for Community Empowerment
during a recent lunch, her passion becomes clear the longer her shrimp
fritter sits on her fork. She could eat—her food is halfway from the
plate to her mouth—but she is talking so passionately about reading
initiatives and housing programs and job development that the minutes
fly by between bites. But it’s a good thing that Edwards would rather
talk business than eat. She makes Dallas a better place.

As the
executive vice president of FCE, which was founded in 1995 by Trammell
Crow Chairman Emeritus Don Williams, Edwards provides assistance—from
detailed census data to grants to technical support—to a host of
community groups. According to Edwards, FCE is a catalyst for helping
people on the front lines.

For example, FCE recently convened
the Dallas Kid’s Coalition to try and ensure that every student in the
DISD came to kindergarten ready to learn. FCE’s job was to determine
how low-income kids could benefit from the program. “We found 19,000
kids who fit the profile,” Edwards says. “We just completed our first
year, and we are now serving 11,000 of those children.” But she is
quick to share the credit. “But I mean the broader ‘we.’ We’re not the
service provider. We’re just helping the people who are doing the

Last March FCE worked with a handful of other groups to launch the web site www.dallasindicators.org, and in July it created www.analyzedallas.org.
Both sites provide critical data about the city and make it easier for
community activists to gather information. In the first six weeks of
operation, Analyze Dallas had 9,000 visitors. Many have used the
information to write grants to spearhead more community programs, and
those results thrill Edwards. “People send us notes that say, ‘I thank
God for you. I thank God for FCE,’” Edwards says. “And you think, ‘Oh,
my goodness. I’m doing something that’s more important than just me.’
It keeps you focused and wanting to do more.”


Kisses and Makeup
Why did I attend the Romance Writers of America convention? It’s quite a story.
by Victor McGlothin

the Romance Writers of America recently descended upon Dallas for a
four-day national conference, my initial thought was “So what?!” The
novels I’ve written, listed under
general fiction, are spun with formulas that tolerate women falling in
love, but because I’m a guy, something typically gets blown up by
chapter five. Still, my target audience consists mostly of women, so
with some reluctance I went to the Adam’s Mark Hotel. With a little bit
of prodding from my editor (okay, a lot), I decided to see what romance
in full bloom looked like up close. But not too close.

vibrant chatter of excited women filled the lobby, and I was
immediately blinded by outfits showcasing every hue of the color
spectrum. A collage of designer fragrances mixed with scents I assumed
had been purchased on considerably smaller budgets. The resulting fog
was powerful enough to knock out a small farm animal. But I steadied
myself and dismissed my preconceived notions. I knew that more than 75
percent of romance readers are white females, so I worried that an
African-American with a 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound frame just might stand
out. As I pretended to fit in, I was pleasantly surprised when two
women approached me for an autograph. Humbled and appreciative, I
scribbled my signature onto their programs, pleased to meet new fans.
Unfortunately, things got a little weird when the ladies realized I
wasn’t Emmitt Smith. 

With my ego severely bruised, I
retreated to lick my wounds, when I found myself in the Romance
Writer’s Den, the meeting place for published authors, industry moguls,
agents, and aspiring storytellers. I inched closer to a mountain of
books on display. Some of the titles had me blushing like a preacher
who’d stumbled into a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot. Wild and Willing
and One Naughty Night caught my attention, and I held them for longer
than I’d care to admit. The themes were obvious: heroic heartthrobs,
wayward women, misunderstood mistresses, and housewives with a lot to
hide. Despite the overwhelming presence of steam, it dawned on me that
the novels reflected the passions of everyday people while providing
tantalizing escapism—kind of like the books I write. But as far as I’m
concerned, romantic tales still leave much to be desired if nothing
gets blown up. Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion.



2 to 1
Follow his father’s next book
with one aimed toward the lucrative youth market

3 to 1
Host the next incarnation of Hollywood Squares

5 to 1
Offer marital advice to
Nick and Jessica

8 to 1
Use his SMU law degree as a measure of intellectual credibility

15 to 1
Actually pass the bar exam

25 to 1
Write a tell-all about Dr. Phil
in a desperate attempt to return
to the spotlight

5,000 to 1
Cure cancer

Fade into obscurity, crippled by
unresolved issues with Daddy

{ 15 MINUTES }
Reality Check
Having ridden his father’s coattails to middling celebrity status, Jay McGraw is now climbing the ladder to fame and fortune all by himself. This fall he’s hosting a reality show on FOX called Renovate My Family.
The premise is simple: McGraw will improve a family’s troubled
interpersonal relationships while his crew builds them a bigger house
and buys them a better wardrobe. McGraw, of course, is well-suited to
make the leap to television host. He has written best-selling self-help
books (based on the fact that he’s Dr. Phil’s son) that are geared
toward teens (based on the fact that he’s younger than Dr. Phil). But
what will he do after the show gets canceled, which D’s oddsmakers
suggest? Here are the best bets:




Everyone and his dog knows about Lee Harvey’s on Commerce Street, but did you know about the Lee Harvey Oswald
bar in Berlin? Yes, the popular disco and lounge is located in the same
city in which President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous “Ich bin
ein Berliner” speech. In fact, it’s not far from “Karl Marx Allee.”

mug shots, enlarged and illuminated, stare out from the front window. A
replica Mannlicher-Carcano rifle is mounted over the bar. Three
television monitors run a loop of
archival footage from those grisly days in November 1963. Drink
specials trail along the bottom of the screens, adding to the surreal

It feels counterintuitive to describe the place as
“tastefully done,” but it is—in an unsettling way. Proprietor Kristian
Wolff concedes he and partner Andi Zeidler had provocation in mind when
they opened the bar last year, but they did not intend to glorify JFK’s
assassin. “A bar is there for a drink and to enjoy oneself,” Zeidler
says. “It’s not really a forum for politics.” —Peter Voskamp


Jody Dean v. Chuck Norris

happens when Jody Dean takes on Chuck Norris? In a fistfight, our money
is on Chuck. He is, after all, a six-time world karate champion. If
you’re talking about hair, Jody gets the nod. He is, after all, a news
anchor. But in the category of Best Godly Autobiography, the two are
duking it out. Take a look:

Finding God in the Evening News: A Broadcast Journalist Looks Beyond the Headlines (Revell, $12.99)
Chuck: Against All Odds: My Story (Broadman & Holman, $24.99)
Advantage: Chuck. We love Phil Collins.

Jesus Walks Among Us
Jody: After
seeing Kevin Spacey take time to visit with two children after an
in-studio interview, Jody makes an obvious connection: “I’ve tried to
imagine what it must have been like the day all those people started
crowding around Jesus with their children.”
Chuck: Even
though he can deter challengers simply with an angry look in his eyes,
he has never used martial arts to hurt anyone. “I think Jesus exhibited
a similar power under control. Although Jesus was never a martial
artist that I know of (that scene when he chased the money changers out
of the temple comes pretty close!), Jesus exuded a confidence that came
from inner strength.”
Advantage: Jody. Who wouldn’t think that?

In a Nutshell
Jody: “I might be very
eloquent, a terrific writer, convince you to trust me, say the things
you like to hear, say all the right things, and even have a huge
audience, but if I don’t have love, I’m nothing more than a cheap,
annoying noisemaker.”
Chuck: “When Lo Wei, a Chinese director, asked me to play a role in a low-budget karate movie called Yellow-faced Tiger that he was making in San Francisco, I said, ‘Sure, why not?’”
Advantage: Jody. We know his salary. He ain’t cheap.

Photos: Sinelli: Dan Sellers; Edwards:
Joshua Martin; McGraw Family: David Woo; Jay McGraw: Laura Farr; Oswald
Bar: Courtesy of Peter Voskamp