The restaurant industry is a tough business. In South Florida, where the summer slump after tourist season can often be a kiss of death for many establishments, this is especially true.
The summer might be slow, but it can also provide an opportunity for a new place to establish itself, perfect its menu, and work the kinks out of its service before the busy season puts the pressure on. Those who live here year-round, September is a final chance to hit the hot new spots before it's a two-hour wait for a table.
Luckily for us, a few new establishments made a grand entrance over the summer in anticipation of the return of
So, here they are: the best new restaurants in South Florida to open since the snowbirds left us. So get out there and get yours, before the tourists return.
2390 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Call 954-566-5950, or visit thirteenwilton.com.
Just minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale, in the heart of Wilton Manors, new restaurant Thirteen opened its doors this summer. The eatery stands as the latest addition for concept creators Nancy Goldwin and Carol Moran — also owners of the city's tapas restaurant 13 | Even and before that, the Island City's popular New Moon bar. Two years after opening their small-plates concept, Goldwin and Moran say they created Thirteen with "the goal of adding another delicious choice for casual dining and drinks in Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale." The New American menu is executed by chef Greg Robinson and sous chef Ray Wright, served in a charming stand-alone building off Wilton Drive. Popular dishes include a duo of pan-seared scallops in a brown butter caper sauce, onion-crusted grouper, and vegetarian no-pasta lasagna made with roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, kale, and collard greens stacked high and topped with arugula and freshly shredded Parmesan. A covered outdoor patio makes it the perfect escape for Sunday
2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. Call 561-227-3511, or visit emkopb.com.
There's something artistic cooking up in West Palm Beach, where you'll find EmKo, the new creative artists' enclave just south of the city's downtown district. Here, they're melding food, drink, and art unlike any establishment north of the Miami-Dade line. Over the past few years, Palm Beach County denizens have watched, patiently, for the EmKo compound to open its doors. The historic 1920s building — once home to Ragtops Antique Motorcar Museum — was shaping up to be a novel space. Three years ago, the property's owner and self-taught artist, Leo Koel, had a vision: He wanted to create a space that would serve as a platform for local artists. The resulting creation he called EmKo: a three-story, 6,000-square-foot, multidisciplinary art space that would serve to promote and nurture South Florida's visual, performing, and culinary-minded creatives. In March, EmKo unveiled its most provocative concept, Jereve — French for "I dream." More than just a restaurant, it's known to EmKo-ites as a culinary studio, open for lunch and dinner. For the restaurant, an elegant dining room has been carved into the center of the EmKo building, a dimly lit space that sits beneath a yawning wood-beamed ceiling. Beyond the dining room, a shallow hallway leads to the outdoor patio at back. Here, you'll also find
9. Adena Grill & Bar
900 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach. Call 954-464-2333, or visit adenagrill.com.
When it comes to beef, there are certainly a lot of options out there. Die-hard Wagyu fans tout the intensely marbled meat as softer, with more heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and a lower cholesterol profile than commodity beef. Still others will pay the extra price for fancy cuts of Kobe, $200 steaks shipped from Japan, the real deal rarely making it onto American menus. At newly opened Adena Grill in Hallandale Beach, however, it's all about grass-fed, organic meat raised and processed at billionaire owner Frank Stronach's Adena Farms. Far ahead of the health-crazed, organic, and GMO-free frenzy, Stronach — founder of auto parts giant Magna International and owner of Gulfstream Park — wanted to raise cattle without the conventional cocktail of hormones, processed grain feed, and antibiotics. In 2010, the Austrian-Canadian billionaire began purchasing land in Northern Florida, today an estimated $200 million investment spanning four counties and more than 85,000 acres. The ranch is home to chickens, pigs, and 8,000 Brangus cattle, which are raised in pastures for 24 months, versus the conventional 16. The goal is to grow that number to 30,000 within the next year. If realized, Adena could become one of the top three beef-producing farms in Florida, following the Seminole Tribe and Deseret Ranches. That means you can order the "million dollar burger" — not because that's how much it costs but because that's the amount of money behind the operation that produces it.
401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-656-3663, or visit suviche.com.
Peruvian fare is nothing new to South Florida. But the type of Peruvian-Japanese fusion coming from Miami's SuViche is something altogether different — and we couldn't be more excited. The newest location recently opened in Fort Lauderdale, off Las Olas Boulevard at SE Fourth Avenue. Here, SuViche offers a variety of beautifully crafted and explosively flavorful sushi rolls, ceviches, and sautéed Peruvian specialties where freshness with flavor is the main focus. The restaurant's Las Olas menu includes the Jalapeño roll for sushi lovers; a Peruvian specialty
7. Riverside Market South
3218 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-524-8986.
If you love beer, and a good selection of beer at that, you'll want to check out Fort Lauderdale's newest beer bar and restaurant, Riverside Market South. Located just north of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, it stands as the second (and sister) establishment to the original Riverside Market, located several miles away in Sailboat Bend. Just like the first location, Riverside Market South is shaping up to be yet another one of Broward's best hidden gems, complete with nautical-boatyard-meets-hip-beer-den charm. Where the original Riverside has no wait to be seated or formal sit-down service, Riverside South is much the same, a family-friendly place that remains largely self-serve, although staff is on hand to take orders and whisk away plates. The bar offers a wall of 28 drafts but also 300 bottles in coolers. It's a selection that changes from week to week. And what of the food? If elaborate menus immobilize you, this is the place to find refuge. Lunch and dinner are served with a few Riverside proper stalwarts, including the return of owner and Riverside founder Julian Siegel's famous smoked fish dip, a traditional menu staple born from his annual Keys fishing trip. No dessert here, of course — just those served by the bottle, a high-alcohol-by-volume brew perhaps as intoxicating as a rich slice of chocolate cake. The Siegels are still betting you're the sort to prefer a Wells Banana Bread beer over the real thing anyway.
6. Izziban Sushi & BBQ
7225 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill. Call 954-368-6767, or visit facebook.com/izziban3.
There's Korean barbecue. And then there's all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue. And that's exactly what you'll find at the 2-month-old Izziban Sushi & BBQ in Lauderhill, where endless platters of uncooked meat, seafood, and vegetables are doled out for eager patrons ready to try their hand at the tables' built-in electric grills. The restaurant hails from Orlando, where two similar locations have met great success. Here, the all-in-one price makes it easy for barbecue newbies to try a little bit of everything, while picky eaters can find pretty much anything to sate their appetite on the bible-like menu of à la carte soups, salads, appetizers, maki rolls, and main plates. Thirsty? A full liquor bar serves specialty cocktails, more varieties of sake than you can count, a dozen or so imported Asian brews (and a good array of local ones too), and wines by the glass or bottle.
5. Swell Pizza
309 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-292-2020, or visit swellpizza.com.
Most South Floridians who love pizza know about Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana. If you've been out of the area for the past few months, however, you might not know it longer exists. Instead, owner Dak Kerprich changed gears, rebranding the restaurant as Caribbean-themed Jerk O to make way for a dedicated pizza shop, Swell Pizza, in Delray Beach. Now open in the Pineapple Grove district of Delray, the new takeout and delivery Swell Pizza offers a taste of Kerprich's self-described new-and-improved brand of pizza Americano — or pizza made using all-natural, 100-percent organic ingredients sourced locally (or within the United States). Known across South Florida for his organic, farm-to-fork pies, now Kerprich wants to revolutionize the way you eat his pizza — not in a restaurant but at home. To do so, he's made them portable thanks to a new dough, a bigger facility with a wood-burning oven, and a staff dedicated to making some of the healthiest pizza available in South Florida. Unlike at Oceano, where the pies — and overall menu — changed daily, Swell Pizza offers three takes: a basic (with mozzarella, tomato sauce, Provolone, pecorino, basil), a red (with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, olive oil, and an optional addition of pecorino cheese), and a white (with mozzarella, provolone, a soft fromage rouge, shallots, and pecorino with a side of chili oil). Each pie can be made customizable with add-ons like a domestically sourced mortadella, spicy capicola, serrano ham, garlic, onion, and Swell's own homemade mozzarella. And don't forget to grab one of Kerprich's wife's homemade oatmeal cream pies on the way out.
4. The Woods Jupiter
129 Soundings Ave., Jupiter. Call 561-320-9627, or visit woodsjupiter.com.
Tiger Woods' new restaurant and sports bar, the Woods Jupiter, opened in August — and it very well might be the classiest-looking sports bar ever. As San Francisco-based critic Josh Sens noted on Golf.com: It's like a nightclub mated with a country club. Indeed, the sprawling restaurant, located in Jupiter's new ten-acre waterfront Harbourside Place, sits amid a
3. Tap 42
5150 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton. Call 561-235-5819, or visit tap42.com.
Palm Beach County was waiting with baited breath for the grand opening of Tap 42 in Boca Raton, the Fort Lauderdale-originated gastropub offering up to 42 craft-beer taps, a craft-style cocktail program, signature architectural design, and a chef-driven menu.
2. Louie Bossi's
1032 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-356-6699, or visit louiebossi.com.
There's no denying that Louie Bossi's in Fort Lauderdale is a mighty operation. Now that season is almost upon us, the scene — which over the summer was fueled by intense energy — will likely rage hotter and bigger than ever. On a recent weekday evening, every inch of the main dining room was jammed like the Dolphin Expressway at rush hour. Except here, people seem perfectly agreeable with being elbow to elbow. But that's what happens when you build an Italian restaurant such as this in South Florida. Of course, large concepts are nothing new for the aptly named Big Time Restaurant Group, also known for Big City Tavern (the group's first Las Olas establishment, best-known for its house-cured meats and American-style grazing menu) as well as City Oyster and City Cellar. All the hype at Louie Bossi's, however, is over chef-owner Louie Bossi himself, a man whose handcrafted creations are listed on a menu of biblical proportions, with everything from homemade pasta and wood-grilled, dry-aged steaks to Neopolitan-style pizza and house-cured meats. Both cofounder Lisabet Summa and Bossi traveled extensively, learning the art of
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1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Call 954-327-7625, or visit seminolehardrockhollywood.com.
Forget that it's in a casino. Forget that you're not on vacation. Run — don't walk — to Kuro, the new Japanese-style restaurant inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. You'll need to hear the server's lengthy introduction only once to understand just how exciting this dining experience can be. According to executive chef Alex Becker, it's a roller coaster for your senses. That energy is the impetus behind the resort's latest dining concept. The goal: to create an upmarket establishment unlike any other in Broward County — or South Florida, for that matter. Kuro — Japanese for "black" — has become the resort's new 9,500-square-foot showpiece, a custom-designed theater-style dining room presenting a clear view of the restaurant's impressive open kitchen. Here, the kaiseki-style dining ensures no two dining experiences will be alike, each tailored to a patron's specific likes and preferences. From start to finish, a meal at Kuro plays out like a well-orchestrated performance, from chilled plates, salads, and tempura to a robata grill, entrée-sized dishes, and sushi. One of the area's best cocktail programs exists here, as well, a dozen or so drinks made according to the five taste profiles of umami, bitter, sweet, spicy, and sour. In an attempt to make dessert more fun, pastry chef Ross Evans has created a short list of fantastical creations — the type of stuff Willy Wonka's dreams are made of, if he were to dream in Japanese. There's the kakigori ice, looking like it came straight out of Candy Land, a rainbow-hued mountain of shaved ice drenched in passionfruit syrup and dotted with glistening gummy cubes that taste like fruit and ginger. And a perfect way to end the meal.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.