MIAMI--South Florida restaurateur Dennis Max, the owner of such Miami hot spots as Maxaluna and Max's South Beach, is now taking on that most American of institutions: the coffee shop.
Opening in August at the fashionable Mizner Park shopping area in Boca Raton is Max's Coffee Shop and Bakery, a Nineties-style spin on Denny's.
Designed by Morris Nathanson, the 5,500-square-foot, 200-seat coffee shop and bakery will feature wines, espresso and a cappuccino bar, while dishing up classic American fare.
"By offering real comfort foods and reviving them with warm breads taken straight from the oven, at a value, we're filling a void," said executive chef John Belleme. The menu includes a chicken pot pie with sage crust; black grouper fish 'n chips; grilled three-cheese sandwich, and an open-face meatloaf sandwich. Each is priced under $12.95.
Ron Uhrig, who was trained by Dan Leader of Bread Alone in New York, will be working with Leader during the opening to coordinate the bakery. Using only organic flours, the bakery will feature whole grain breads as well as baguettes, focaccias, pastries, scones and sticky buns.
To wash it all down, there will be egg creams, brown cows, malts and fruit frappes to go along with the coffees and fresh-squeezed juices. For those who can't get there, take-out will be available.

NEW YORK--For sumptuous and light Italian fare that is easy on the wallet, it's Savore, a Tuscan-style, Renaissance-inspired restaurant located in the heart of SoHo (200 Spring St.).
The airy and comfortable restaurant, owned by Paolo Alavian and Josef Anavian, was designed by Mike Doyle. It is a simple space, decorated with subdued yellow, red and green--the colors of Tuscany. The furniture is original Swedish Biedermeier, which was supplied by Josef from his store, Greene Street Antiques, just a few blocks away. Paolo's wife, Antonia Calvi, developed the menu after extensive research into the Renaissance era. The selection of food is inspired by Lorenza di Medici, who runs the famed Badia a Coltibuoni cooking school in Tuscany. Paolo suggests the antipasto Savore, a mixture of monkfish and artichokes; the tonno griglio (grilled tuna), and spaghetti with lobster sauce, all of which are quickly becoming favorites with the customers. For more daring taste buds, Savore's menu includes wild boar and pigeon with truffles.
"My dream was to open an Italian restaurant that was different and offered something that they didn't have in the city--Renaissance recipes catering to American tastes," says Paolo.SYNC OR SWIM
LOS ANGELES--As the official sponsor of the U.S. synchronized swimming team, Jantzen may be going to the Olympics. Team synchronized swimming, long thought to be more camp than sport, joined the ranks of official Olympic sports this year, and if the U.S. team makes it to the games, Jantzen will see its suits worn in Olympic competition. The U.S. team, which consists of 10 members and two alternates, has spent months spinning, floating and treading in preparation for the World Cup competition in August, a qualifying event for the Olympics. As the number one team in the world since 1991, they are expected to win the event.
If the team wins an Olympic medal, it could do for synchronized swimming what Dorothy Hammill did for skating--not to mention haircuts. Soon hundreds of little girls across the country may be diving into pools in unison, wearing Jantzen suits and tightly wound chignons.

NEW YORK--This summer, book publishers are serving up some hot books, perfect to bring on the beach.
There's The Hot Zone, penned by Richard Preston (Random House, $6.99 paperback). It's a nonfiction thriller about the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the suburbs of Washington and the government's secret efforts to stop it.
Another good read is Apocalypse Watch (Bantam, $24.99 hardcover), written by best-selling novelist Robert Ludlum. The novel tracks a neo-Nazi movement with designs on American and European officials. It takes the reader from a secluded military base in a remote Alpine valley to the back streets of Paris, from the highest offices of Washington and London to the casinos of Monaco. In The Witness (Warner Books, $21.95 hardcover), Sandra Brown offers an electrifying novel that focuses on a public defender, who moves to a small town in South Carolina, falls in love and marries the town's most eligible bachelor. Soon after, she realizes that her husband is part of a supremist group, and she finds herself in a chilling conspiracy of hate and bigotry.
In Where the Heart Is (Warner Books, $17.95 hardcover), Billie Letts pens an endearing, quirky tale about a young girl named Novalee Nation, who gets abandoned in a Wal-Mart in a small town in Oklahama by her boyfriend while on a cross-country trip to California. She's seven months pregnant and has $7.77 in her pocket. The book shows how she gets her life back together through the help of strangers.

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