October 1, 2012 | 10:21am
The Restaurant People, the company known for some of downtown Fort Lauderdale's busiest establishments--Tarpon Bend, Yolo, Vibe-- are expanding their empire. Their next plan? A restaurant and bar at the base of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
. S3--short for sun, surf, sand or steak, seafood, sushi-- is slated to open at the end of this year.
Playing off the beachside location, S3 is going for island ambience with a classy air. The space is supposed to mimic the feel of high-end resorts in Thailand with bamboo and teak Indonesian furniture and simple, but elegant design. According to the Restaurant Group's Tim Petrillo, "As of right now, the beach is either high-end or really casual. There's really no in-between. We're trying to fill that gap."
S3 will feature a lounge area off of the hotel lobby, an indoor/outdoor main bar in the north rotunda of the building, and an outdoor seating area with couches overlooking the beach. Ocean views are the main focus in terms of the space's overall design. The entire establishment is staged with levels like stairs, ensuring every table has a view of the water. "It's not a confined space. It feels very open," says Petrillo.
In keeping with the atmosphere, the menu will feature cuisines from coastal communities across the world, from Peru to Greece. A wood-burning grill will be one of the kitchen's features, meaning you can expect to see some rotisserie selections and spit-roasted meats. Large plates will be available, but the restaurant will focus on a small plates concept. "We see the trend has moved toward small plates," Petrillo says. "And it makes sense. It's great to go out and have the opportunity to taste different things. But we also wanted to offer larger dishes for people who don't feel comfortable sharing -- people out on dates or for business. The menu is very approachable; more expensive than Tarpon, but less than YOLO."
The concept has been in the works for a while now -- the group began looking at the space in 2008. If you weren't around, that was when Fort Lauderdale Beach was really going high-end. Petrillo says the group wanted to take their time to see how the beach would evolve.
"We want this to be a place where people feel comfortable coming off the beach, throwing on a cover up, and relaxing while looking over the ocean. Of course, we want tourists and guests from the hotel. But we're going to focus on the locals and guests we have now," Petrillo says..