South Florida's restaurant scene is growing — fast. Each month, restaurants across Broward and Palm Beach counties open their doors, fueling the expansion of our culinary scene.
It's difficult to look into a crystal ball and come up with what restaurants will connect with the hearts and palates of our counties' denizens; these days, it takes a lot more than a famous chef, good cocktail, or over-built burger to appease our populace. Luckily, gastronomes and cuisinomanes have a lot to look forward to in 2016.
In the coming months, a number of local celebrity chefs, established restaurateurs, and even a few Miami imports are getting ready to unleash their creative genius on us in the form of food and drink. Yes, South Florida, 2016 is going to be quite delicious.
With that in mind, here are the top 12 South Florida dining concepts to look forward to in 2016:
1025 S. University Drive, Plantation. Visit sliderz.com.
They say size doesn't matter — and that's certainly the case for the Miami-based restaurant group known as Sliderz, a fast-casual mini-sandwich dining concept coming to Broward County in 2016. Founder Buzzy Sklar recently announced he'll be opening the second South Florida Sliderz location in Plantation. The new 2,500-square-foot restaurant is set to open in April and will introduce its own breed of mini-burgers — AKA sliders — as well as a number of made-to-order, American-style, tapas-sized sandwiches. The menu features a variety of options including beef, fish, pork, chicken, and vegetarian sliders, many topped with homemade sauces. Traditional options include some bite-sized hot dogs, or a blackened mahi, Buffalo chicken, and meatball parmigiana sandwich.
Courtesy of Tucker Duke's Lunchbox
11. Tucker Duke's Lunchbox
1658 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton.
We could all use a little more burger and beer in our lives, especially up in Palm Beach County. Luckily, Tucker Duke's Lunchbox is coming to the rescue: South Florida restaurant partners Jay Oakes and John Cortes recently announced plans to bring chef-founder Brian Cartenuto's craft-burger eatery to Palm Beach County with a new location set to open later this year at 1658 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton. The 3,200-square-foot space — formerly Italio — will be the second South Florida Tucker Duke's Lunchbox location following a west Deerfield Beach restaurant. Cartenuto, a two-time winner on the reality cook-off competition Cutthroat Kitchen, opened the original Tucker Duke's several years ago just outside his hometown of Niceville, Florida. In 2014, Cartenuto chose Deerfield Beach for the second location of his casual eatery, partnering with childhood friends Oakes and Cortes to expand his concept into South Florida. Now, the trio is looking forward to opening yet another in Boca Raton, giving Palm Beach County a taste of Cartenuto's Southern-style, blue-plate specials, sandwiches, and burgers. The menu will offer a few local twists, says Cortes, including several seafood entrées you won't find at the Deerfield location. Of course, we're looking forward to a few of the signature Tucker Duke's, a half-pound patty of Florida Seminole Pride beef arranged in a multilayered Jenga pile of fried onion rings, melted American cheese, mixed baby greens, and celery-salted tomato on a toasted, onion-encrusted bun.
250 State Road 7, Suite 100, Royal Palm Beach. Call 561-899-0111, or visit eatbolay.com.
Outback Steakhouse cofounder and Palm Beacher Tim Gannon thought maybe he'd take a break from the fast-casual restaurant business after he helped to open the locally based South Florida chain PDQ in 2014. But once a visionary, always a visionary. Gannon, alongside his son Chris, is now ready to unleash his latest enterprise, Bolay, what he says is modeled after the build-your-own restaurant model. The first Bolay is set to open in the next few months in Royal Palm Beach, and the duo will be pairing cutting-edge technology — along with a good dose of old-fashioned hospitality — to its design-your-own-salad-bowls. Choose from a number of nutrient-rich ingredients, with grains like black rice, gluten-free noodles, and quinoa; antioxidant-rich vegetables like kale, sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, and roasted butternut squash; and proteins including tuna, chicken, steak, pork, or tofu. From there, bowls can be customized with a specialty sauces, from soothing lemongrass to a spicy carrot-ginger. Thirsty? Pair your meal with a cold-pressed juice (or a local craft beer and wine on tap).
Courtesy of Lost Weekend WPB
9. Lost Weekend
526 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.
The first Lost Weekend opened in 1993 off Olive Road in downtown West Palm Beach. A divey sports bar with nothing but some pool tables, old school video games, and an awesome jukebox, Lost Weekend was the original hipster cool spot to be at the time. So cool, in fact, the place had a successful decade-long run before the concept was forced to close and change locations. The second Lost Weekend reopened in 2008, a smaller version located above Dr. Feelgoods (now the Pawn Shop), where it remained for another five years. Now, restaurateurs and founders Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich are bringing Lost Weekend back for a thirdtime, and expect it to be better than ever before. Frielich tells us the third incarnation will have all the necessary Lost Weekend accouterment including pool tables, old-school video and arcade games, and a jukebox that will keep it fresh (you'll find a curated selection of music, which will rotate monthly). But what makes this spot an anticipated restaurant? Tacos and beer. Lost Weekend will have an in-house taco truck housed in a converted milk truck that will feature a selection of street-food-style Mexican tacos priced at $2 each. Oh, and there will also be a brewpub. In addition to a selection of more than 100 craft brews (both on draft and by bottle), Lost Weekend will also have its own in-house brewing facility where local brewer Allan Bowron, best known for his award-winning coconut curry porter, will be making a rotating selection of seasonal brews available only on tap at the West Palm Beach bar.
Courtesy of Anderson Real Estate
8. Pompano Beach House
300 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach.
Pompano Beach is quietly becoming one of South Florida's new seaside vacation destinations thanks to a recent rash of new restaurant and brewery openings including the Foundry, 26 Degree Brewing, and Bangin' Banjo Brewing in the past several months. But the dining destination locations don't stop there: This year, expect the addition of two new custom-built oceanfront restaurants. Since 2009, more than $10 million has been invested to revitalize and modernize Pompano Beach Boulevard between Atlantic Boulevard and NE Fifth Street, including a revamp of the city's oceanfront stretch near the pier, a development project known as the Pompano Beach Fishing Village. Here you'll find Pompano Beach House, the latest concept from Ohio-based Anderson Real Estate, the same hospitality management group that owns and operates Brimstone in Pembroke Pines, Grille 401 in Fort Lauderdale, and Piñon Grill in Boca Raton. The restaurant, currently in the design stages, will be a two-story establishment with a rooftop patio, bar, and lounge space. During the day, expect a beach-friendly vibe with a relaxed, casual ambiance and a menu offering easy-to-order appetizers, flatbreads, burgers, and sandwiches. Beachgoers may even be able to walk up to a lower-level concession area, where they can order takeaway food and drink options. Come evening, the vibe will change, giving patrons a more upscale experience paired with a more traditional menu featuring steaks, seafood, sushi, and a raw bar.
7. Regional Kitchen & Public HouseNext Page
651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-366-1000, or visit EatRegional.com.
South Florida chef — and Top Chef season-nine finalist — Lindsay Autry is partnering with restaurateur Thierry Beaud to open the Regional Kitchen & Public House in downtown West Palm Beach's CityPlace. The New American restaurant, slated to open later this year, has been nearly a year in the making, says Autry, who is looking forward to her first venture into restaurant proprietorship. The North Carolina native is best-known in South Florida for her Southern-meets-Mediterranean cuisine, which she debuted when she began working with Michelle Bernstein in 2009. More recently, she worked as executive chef at the historic Sundy House in Delray Beach, a position she left in late 2013. "Ever since I left Sundy House, I've been looking for the right partner to create my own restaurant," says Autry. "The concept here will be American cuisine with a Southern influence, a very ingredient-focused menu that will rotate according to the seasons." According to Beaud, the Regional — located in the former Las Pampas Grille space — will feature dishes that reflect the restaurant's name with regionally sourced ingredients from farms that represent the Southeast. The 10,000-square-foot space will offer a 120-seat dining room and private rooms that can accommodate anywhere from ten to 100 people. The "public house" will come into focus with a spacious 80-seat bar and lounge that empties onto an adjoining indoor patio, adds Autry, and a small open-pantry kitchen that offers counter service.