Pizzacraft is set to open in downtown Fort Lauderdale in late October 2015.
It's the latest concept from JEY Hospitality, the people who brought you ROK:BRGR, Himmarshee Public House, and Tacocraft Tacqueria and Tequila Bar.
The new establishment will be located just steps from the city's courthouse, Broward Center For Performing Arts, and a new outdoor amphitheater slated to open next year in nearby Esplanade Park, in the space formerly occupied by TAPS Fort Lauderdale, which closed in June.
"This is a concept that was actually created before Himmarshee Public House and Tacocraft, but we have been waiting for the right time and the right location," says JEY co-founder Marc Falsetto. "We're really pushing the envelope and changing the way people eat pizza. I've always wanted to do a pizza shop that embodied the JEY philosophy of a chef driven menu, with organic and locally-sourced artisan ingredients."
Pizzacraft, located just one block west of its sister establishments Tacocraft and ROK:BRGR, will be a 2,500-square-foot restaurant serving wood-fired pizza, homemade pasta, and seasonally-rotating salads. The pizza — a Neo-Neapolitan-style — will take center stage, a blend of old-school pizza-making techniques and new-school flavors. The menu will include a list of red and white pies created by JEY Hospitality Group's executive team and the restaurant's executive chef Bret Hauser, a Miami-based chef who competed on the 14th season of Hell’s Kitchen. Expect to see plenty of chef-driven ingredients, like ghost pepper salumi, truffled pecorino cheese, infused olive oil, house made ricotta and burrata cheeses, and a custom-calibrated dough.
For the nightlife aspect, Falsetto says the restaurant will open into an adjoining space next door, transforming into a wine and cocktail bar serving a large selection of whiskeys, as well as boutique wines and absinthe. When complete, both spaces will also offer the village's largest outdoor patio.
"To me it's mind blowing that a city like Fort Lauderdale doesn't have a true cocktail bar," said Falsetto. "This won't be your daddy's sports bar, or another beer bar. This will be a cocktail club and wine bar that will offer an alternative to the concept options we have here [in Himmarshee Village] now. JEY is hitting all the elements."
The news for another another concept comes six months after the group's latest restaurant opening with Tacocraft, which opened in January next door to ROK:BRGR on Southwest Second Street.
Today, fellow JEY co-founder Chuck Hazlett says the group's restaurants have helped to bring new life to the city's historic downtown area, delivering successful concepts, including ROK:BRGR and Tacocraft, which they hope to expand across Florida, and eventually nationwide.
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"JEY was originally formed to help create a more vibrant downtown area in Fort Lauderdale. We saw potential," says Hazlett, who spent much of his career working as a financial consultant for several multinational money management firms, including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. "Our vision has always been to make Himmarshee Village a vibrant downtown area, and to grow the JEY brands across South Florida."
"Our focus is to create more foodie destinations in this section of Fort Lauderdale, what we consider to be the urban core of the city's downtown," said Falsetto. "A place to dine, dance, and just enjoy yourself."
Pizzacraft is scheduled to open in October and will be located at at 330 Himmarshee Pl., Fort Lauderdale. Visit jeygroup.com.
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.