Restaurant News: Getting Hookah-ed, BBQ to Boca, Chipotle Tomatoes
• If Clematis Street weren't smokin' already, it will be by year's end with the debut of Off the Hookah, the second SoFla location for the Fort Lauderdale-based company. We're not talking subtle here. Look for waterfalls, belly dancers and "flair" bartenders to go along with a Middle Eastern-Mediterranean menu and roster of fruit-flavored herbs for smoking, all part of at $1.5 million redo of the old Gallerie space. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
• The restaurant-eating site at 1198 N. Dixie Hwy. in Boca Raton is getting another meal. This one is Park Avenue BBQ, which hopes to open next month in the space that ate Tom's Place, then Bucky's BBQ, then D. Wade's Place. The Boca eatery will be the 10th in SoFla and will feature all the usual barbecue suspects, as well as fried chicken and catfish and a handful of seafood and steak dishes.
• And for a classic "man bites dog" story (or perhaps more appropriately, "corporation doesn't screw workers"), the Chipotle restaurant chain has reached an agreement with East Coast Growers and Packers, one of the top tomato growers in Florida, to increase the wages of tomato pickers. The Coalition for Immokalee Workers has long been pressuring companies to up workers' pay; the agreement boosts the per pound rate by a penny. It doesn't seem like much but it amounts to a 64-percent increase per 32-pound bucket. Actually, it still isn't much, but when you don't have hardly anything, anything more is better than nothing.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.