One hitch is that, although the deal is in escrow, the lender is requiring seismic work on the 88- year-old brick building.Breed, who will have the engineers' report this week, says it could kill the deal if the cost is too high.During the next 20 years, her pioneering research broke the code of Wolfli's art and confirmed him as arguably one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

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In 1931, Ernie's was a Depression-era family-style Italian restaurant, owned by the Gottis' father, Ambrogio Gotti, and his partner Ernie Carlesso.

The Gotti boys began working at Ernie's more than 50 years ago as busboys, later buying the restaurant in 1947 and transforming it into a citadel of French cuisine.

Chef Elka Gilmore has landed the job of executive chef at the about-to-be-reopened 396-room Omni Berkshire Place Hotel in Manhattan.

As folks may recall, Gilmore hit San Francisco with a splash when she opened Elka restaurant in the Miyako Hotel in 1992.

Elka Spoerri, an art historian and curator who unlocked the riches of the art of Adolf Wolfli, died May 17 at her home in Bern, Switzerland. Wolfli," was a legend in the world of outsider art.

Spoerri, who sometimes jokingly referred to herself as "Mrs."I guess I always had the fantasy of (going to New York and) playing with the big boys." The Omni Berkshire Place, on East 52nd Street at Madison Avenue, will reopen mid-October after a face-lift costing more than million.The rooms have been redone, suites added, and an atrium- bar-restaurant area created.Since last year, the team of GM Richard Mosconi -- he also owns La Brasserie Francaise in the Embarcadero -- and chef Yves Garnier, who opened the Ritz Carlton Dining Room restaurant in 1991, guided Le Club.-- Change also may be on the horizon at one of the most venerable and elegant restaurants in town -- Ernie's, the Jackson Square creation of brothers Victor and Roland Gotti.Devil Mountain, which began in the 1980s as a brew pub in Walnut Creek, was bought by Feinberg in 1992 and moved to Benicia, producing brews such as Railroad Ale, Diablo Golden and Devil's Brew Porter.