To say the South Florida nightclub and restaurant scene would be a much more bland and boring place without Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich would be a huge understatement. While Mayo was opening his long-established West Palm Beach nightclub and live music venue, Respectable Street, in the mid-80s, future business partner and friend, Frielich, was just relocating to the area from his home state of New Jersey to begin a career in the biz.
Nearly 20 years later -- and 10 places together -- Mayo and Frielich are co-owners of some of the area's hippest bars, hottest restaurant concepts and popular clubs -- with more in the works. Today, that list includes Longboards, Lost Weekend, Feelgood's Rock Bar, and Howley's in West Palm Beach; Dada, Tryst, and Delux in Delray Beach; Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton; Dubliner in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale; The Vagabond in Miami; and Lost Weekend and Kill Your Idol in Miami Beach.
While both men have their roles, there's the understanding that Mayo is the creative visionary, while Frielich is the day-to-day guy that helps hold it all together. And with all that street cred, you'd be surprised to learn they're not your average restaurateurs. Get to know them, and you'll see they're two of the most down-to-earth people you'll ever meet -- a rarity in any industry these days. And that's why we've made them number three on our Tastemaker list.
Thanks guys! Without you, South Florida would surely be missing many of its favorite gastropubs and watering holes.
The most influential person in my career has been...
Rodney Mayo: Not a person but all the dishwashers that are the heroes in this industry and get virtually no recognition and little pay and do their jobs with the least amount of drama.
Scott Frielich: I would have to say Ian Schrager. You still hear about Studio 54 more than 30 years after it was closed, and then building one of the greatest hotel empires in the world. I remember first walking into the Delano Hotel and thinking how ahead of its time it was. He is always one step ahead of the competition.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...
RM: Boring, but a nice piece of fruit.
SF: A pizza from Grimaldi's and a Cannoli from Cannoli kitchen always seems to satisfy.
What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?
RM: Ethnic restaurants, especially an authentic Chinese restaurant, and more healthy vegetarian restaurant options.
SF: I would love to see more New Orleans-style Cajun restaurants. There is nothing better then a great jambalaya, a bowl of gumbo and some Black Voodoo to wash it all down. Somebody open one, and I will be there every week.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
RM: Over-decorated, stacked plates of food.
SF: Foie Gras, just not my thing.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?
RM: The Atmosphere: located in the Bahamas, 30 feet underwater, in the middle of a coral reef. And we serve hot dogs. Kidding. Seafood, of course.
SF: I would have to open my daughter's dream concept. It would be called "Get Some." It's a restaurant with lots of gummy bears and sour candies, crabby paddies and a 7-11 Slurpee machine in the middle. I hope she's not mad for sharing her idea. And I think I will need the unlimited funds to keep this one open!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
RM: Teamed-up with the Kardashians as partners. Which, I'm sure, would bring us to the next level.
SF: I would love start my own tequila company. I plan on taking a few weekends off this summer and touring some distilleries in Mexico. I have the name and business plan ready, if anyone wants to invest! I also would love to shift into the hotel side of the industry. I drive by the Gulfstream Hotel in Lake Worth all the time and [think to myself] I could have such passion redeveloping and operating a landmark hotel like that.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
RM: My mom and dad, and all my friends who are no longer on this earth.
SF: Thom York, Carmelo Anthony, Kate Moss, my wife, Howard Stern and Emeril Lagasse. Emeril would be cooking, though.
New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous 2013 Tastemakers are listed below.
22. Vaughan Lazar of Kapow!
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