Those profligate Masters of the Universe have crashed and burned, maxed-out credit cards have been shredded or stowed away, so many expense account allowances vaporized: What's a restaurateur to do in this climate? Create your own economic stimulus program — or risk failure. Some fortunate souls may still be lining up for $300 tasting dinners at Per Se or $500 sushi extravaganzas at Masa in New York, but for most Americans, trading down (or out) is the new norm, and until they start seeing ...

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