Palm Beach County’s dining industry may have taken a Category-5 battering, suffering pandemic-related closures and massive layoffs, but it continues to surprise us with signs of resilience.
The evidence is in a new crop of openings that have come not only during the COVID crisis but also as case numbers continue to rise. They include an “Americana” taco joint, a globally inspired wine bar, a couple of north county tapas spots, a busy Trinidadian takeout shop and many others.
Here’s a glimpse of restaurants that have opened within the past few months or will open in the next few weeks.
Andalucia Tapas Bar, Tequesta
Open since December, Andalucia is a Spanish tapas concept by the former manager and part owner of the now-closed Tapeo restaurant of downtown West Palm Beach. The tapas here are fairly mainstream: croquetas, Spanish tortilla (omelet), patatas brava, Spanish white anchovies in garlic oil, pan con tomate, cheeses, cured meats and such. Also offered: seafood and meat entrees, paellas, live Latin music and flamenco shows. (187 Tequesta Dr., Tequesta, 561-406-6509)
Duke’s Tacos and Margs, Jupiter
If you have any doubt that Abacoa’s newest taquería is big on creative, Americanized tacos, look no further than its name: Duke’s. That’s chef/owner David Schroeder’s way of framing the creative, cross-cultural street food concept opening Jan. 22 in the former AquaZure location on Main Street, Abacoa.
“I keep trying to make Americana street tacos happen,” says Schroeder, who owns the popular Brick and Barrel gastropub one street over.
The menu at Duke’s captures the concept in bites like Southern fried chicken tacos and Texas barbecue tacos, “some really fun stuff,” says Schroeder, who has tapped his restaurants’ culinary operations director Thomas Op’t Holt to be Duke’s executive chef. Do expect a few nods to more traditional fare. Not only will there be the required chips and queso, the chefs will be making their own nixtamalized tortillas onsite, plus serving ceviches and oysters. Expect a range of craft margaritas and a “100-plus” varieties of tequila and mezcal.
The taco bar will serve dinner for the first week, then will be open daily for lunch as well, says Schroeder. (1155 Main St. in Abacoa, Jupiter; grand opening is Friday, Jan. 22, from 4 p.m. to midnight, with complimentary margaritas served from 4 to 6 p.m. and live music from 6 to 9 p.m.)
Charlie and Joe’s at Love Street, Jupiter
A partnership between developer Charles Modica and NFL icon Joe Namath will soon bring a new dining complex to the Jupiter Inlet. The Charlie and Joe’s at Love Street project, which includes three restaurants and a seafood market, is expected to open as early as Feb. 12, a rep says. When it does, the three restaurants — Lucky Shuck oyster bar and taproom, a modern American grill named Beacon and the Topside rooftop tapas bar — will offer splendid views of the Jupiter Lighthouse and waterway. Here’s our food-and-drink guide to the Love Street complex. (1116 Love St., Jupiter)
Portofino Bistro Mediterraneo, Juno Beach
This Mediterranean spot slipped into the former Fresh Nation space at Juno Beach’s Plaza La Mer in December. The menu combines favorites from Italy and Spain, which means you can opt for tapas and bites like boquerones (Spanish white anchovies) and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) as well as calamari alla Romana (sauteed with capers, olives and garlic) and broccoli rabe with sweet Italian sausage. Plenty of big plates to try as well at lunch, dinner and brunch. (891 Donald Ross Rd., Juno Beach, 561-355-5936)
Kitchen North, Palm Beach Gardens
Chef Matthew Byrne and wife/partner Aliza Byrne have opened an outpost of their popular West Palm bistro, Kitchen, at the growing Alton plaza of northern Palm Beach Gardens. Expect comfort cuisine and classics with a refined twist, attentive service and the best coconut cake in town. (5250 Donald Ross Rd., Suite 100, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-328-8825)
Avocado Cantina, Palm Beach Gardens
Recently, chef Julien Gremaud introduced a Yucatan-inspired, tacos-and-such restaurant in his former Avocado Grill space in Palm Beach Gardens. Avocado Cantina’s menu includes classics like cochinita pibil (marinated, slow-roasted pork) and tacos de birria, but fans of Gremaud’s avocado dishes and ceviches will find them on the menu as well. Plant-loving diners may appreciate the fact that there’s a dedicated vegan menu here as well. (11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Dr., in the Downtown Palm Beach Gardens plaza, 561-766-2430)
Elisabetta’s, West Palm Beach
Welcome to the stunning second location of Elisabetta’s, Delray’s popular pizza and pasta restaurant. This newly debuted outpost, part of the Big Time Restaurant Group, adds some fun, Dolce Vita flavor to the downtown West Palm waterfront. (Think vintage gelato cart, full-size bocce court and retro decor.)
With more than half the restaurant’s seating sprawled throughout the (covered) outdoor terraces, the newer Elisabetta’s promises plenty of space for diners seeking socially distanced spots. Expect Italian classics made from scratch onsite.
“Our restaurant is really an homage to the traditional, with a solid core menu of dishes that are familiar and well loved. It’s not trying to be too far-flung from the rich heritage of Italian food,” says chef/partner Lisabet Summa, Big Time’s corporate culinary director who brought Elisabetta’s to life. (185 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-342-6699)
Nomad, West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach designer Sean Rush recently opened this global wine-and-art spot by his Antique Row showroom. The eclectically set space offers a simple menu that includes wines, charcuterie, crostini and other small bites, all to be enjoyed in a museum-like setting. (3700 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, 561-621-3700)
Tropical Smokehouse, West Palm Beach
Former Café Boulud executive chef Rick Mace will open a new barbecue restaurant with a Florida focus. Opening date for Tropical Smokehouse is Jan. 26. Mace partnered with former Boulud general manager Jason Lakow to open the casual restaurant in the South Dixie Highway space formerly occupied by Mazie’s, of which Lakow was a co-owner. They’ve added custom-built smokers for cooking local fish and meats.
The menu will reflect Florida’s history and also speaks to South Florida’s mix of cultures and flavors.
Says Mace: “The traditional way they’re cooking pork in South Florida came over from the islands, especially from Cuba. So we will play with citrus a bit more for the sauces, instead of sugar or vinegar. We’ll also tap into flavors like Jamaican jerk and other Caribbean flavors, and we’ll bring out some of the hot sauces.” (3815 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach)
Palm Beach Brisket and BBQ
Barbecue devotee Cleveland Stubbs brings a smoky new concept to the Village Commons in the first week of February. The centerpiece menu item at Palm Beach Brisket and BBQ? The slow-smoked brisket, as you might guess from the name. More specifically, the brisket is Prime-grade, non-GMO, halal brisket that comes from grass-fed cows raised without hormones or antibiotics.
The restaurant, an offshoot of Stubbs’ catering operation, offers a variety of smoked meats, St. Louis-style pork ribs, Southern fried chicken, plus waffle combos served with either brisket or fried chicken. Side dishes include Caribbean mac and cheese, island-style red beans and rice, Southern collard greens and other favorites. For dessert, there’s sweet potato pie, red velvet cake and coconut cake, among the various options. (801 Village Commons, Unit 307, West Palm Beach, 561-290-2245)
Fish Bowl, West Palm Beach
Chef Jeremy Bearman has set up a gourmet seafood trailer outside his temporarily closed restaurant High Dive. Called Fish Bowl, the new concept is located on the second floor of Rosemary Square and makes good use of High Dive’s spacious outdoor dining area and most of its wine list. Expect fresh, cool fish and seafood offerings, house-bottled cocktails, craft beers and house-made ice creams by pastry chef Cindy Bearman.
“We’re going to be doing some cool things, like ceviche and poke and papaya salad,” says Bearman, who describes the venture as “a cool little pop-up.” (550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 236 at Rosemary Square, West Palm Beach)
Pura Vida, West Palm Beach
This healthy-foods concept from Miami has opened a stylish, lounge-y location at Rosemary Square. Expect fresh juices, superfood smoothies, wraps, bowls, salads, plus all-day breakfast options. (460 S. Rosemary Ave., at Rosemary Square, West Palm Beach)
Grilled Cheese Gallery, West Palm Beach
Northwood’s favorite grilled-cheese spot has opened a location at the Palm Beach Outlets. The new location is serving all the popular bites, like The Duke, which is stuffed with lobster mac and cheese. Indoor and outdoor seating is available at this location, which sits across from the Nike store. (At the Palm Beach Outlets, 1751 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach)
Chunkay, Lake Worth Beach
This new Trinidadian takeout/delivery shop is owned and operated by chef Wendy Tilkaran and businesswoman Evita Thomas, a married couple devoted to bringing the flavors of their homeland to Palm Beach County. They serve a simple menu of classics and favorite street foods, like doubles, roti, soups, aromatic juices and punches and sweet fritters. (Menu and info at chunkay.net, 561-473-3710; Find them at the Lake Worth Beach Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 S. Ocean Blvd. at Old Bridge Park.)
Los Panchos Taco and Tequila Bar, Lake Worth Beach
This Mexican-inspired spot recently opened in the former Callaro’s Steak House space and there’s a celebrity chef in the kitchen. He’s JD Eubanks, a Billboard-charting metal singer who formerly ran the kitchen at New Orleans’ iconic Antoine’s restaurant. In addition to the expected tacos, fajitas, quesadillas and such, the menu does offer a couple of surprises, as in chapulines — Oaxacan grasshopper tacos with roasted poblano — and, less astonishing to some palates (though still a wonder), an Impossible meat taco. (717 Lake Ave., Lake Worth Beach, 561-660-7474)
Kickback Neighborhood Tavern, Wellington
The former Backstreets bar was reborn as Kickback Neighborhood Tavern just before Christmas. The recent makeover gave the place new fixtures and furnishings, including a spruced up bar and bathrooms. More pertinent to the menu offerings, there’s now an 8-tap, 29-degree beer system and a new menu of pub grub that includes burgers and other classics like tenderloin tips with béarnaise sauce. (12771 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington, 561-795-0100)
Pio Pio, Boynton Beach
Fans of Peruvian and Colombian foods will find representations of both at this new neighborhood spot called Pio Pio. Expect lots of favorites on the menu: empanadas, arepas, ceviches, a la brasa chicken, lomo saltado, bandeja paisa, chaufa and more. (510 E. Ocean Ave., Suite 105, Boynton Beach, 561-336-4457)
Ocean One Bar and Grille, suburban Delray Beach
This Las Vegas restaurant concept opened recently at the Delray Marketplace. Expect a large, varied menu of salads, starters, grilled meats and seafood and other entrees. (14851 Lyons Rd., Suite 122, suburban Delray Beach, 561-565-5501)
Chloe’s Bistro, Boca Raton
This continental spot recently opened in the lakeside Boardwalk at Boca plaza. Expect bistro classics like mussels, mushrooms on toast, composed salads and steaks. Plus pastas, panini, sauteed branzino, chicken Milanese, desserts, wines and coffees. Those seeking al fresco seating options will find some at Chloe’s waterfront dining area. (6885 SW 18th St., Boca Raton, 561-334-2088)
Meat Eatery and Taproom, Boca Raton
Chef George Patti’s burgers-and-beer joint, which originated in Islamorada, has had a Boca presence since 2014. But starting next week, that location has a brand-new home, and it’s certainly worth putting on your radar. Patti expects the new place to open by Jan. 20. Newbies to Meat Eatery must try the pimento cheese and bacon-stuffed Inside-Out Juicy Lucy burger with a side of duck fat fries. (2831 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, 561-419-2600)
Marisol and The Lounge at the Boca Beach Club, Boca Raton
The stylish Boca Raton Resort and Spa has partnered with celebrity lifestyle impresario Colin Cowie to bring two new dining/drinking concepts to its Boca Beach Club property. Marisol, a Mediterranean-fresh spot, serves a menu that goes from a full raw bar to Greek spreads, tagines, tapas and main plates at lunch and dinner. The Lounge, a relaxed space, serves everything from continental breakfast to evening tapas and sushi. Both spots are exclusively for resort guests. (900 S. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton, 855-657-2518)
Restaurants at Uptown Boca, West Boca Raton
This suburban lifestyle plaza has welcomed several casual dining spots. They include BurgerFi, Just Salad and Chick-fil-A. Expected to open later this month is Olive U Mediterranean Grill, an outpost of the fast-and-fresh eatery that originated in Palm Beach Gardens. (On Glades Road, just east of US 441 in West Boca Raton)
PALM BEACH ISLAND
Main Street by The Breakers
This café and gift shop opened at the new Via Flagler, a development that took over the former Testa’s restaurant space and adjacent properties. It offers coffee, freshly baked doughnuts and other pastries. (223 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, 561-659-8571)
Le Bar a Vin
This luxury wine bar, which opened in early December, pours more than 45 wines by the glass and boasts a 750-bottle wine wall in a space that formerly housed a bank. To punctuate the glamour, there’s a white baby grand piano poised on the spot once occupied by the bank’s safe. What’s to eat? Tapas like pricey Iberian ham and tuna tartare, charcuterie and cheese spreads, truffled flatbreads, salads, larger plates like Wagyu filet mignon and desserts. (380 S. County Road, Palm Beach, 561-629-1997)
Did we miss your new favorite neighborhood spot? Let us know by emailing Liz Balmaseda at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Openings: A guide to Palm Beach County’s newest restaurants