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Starting from Scratch

Our local chefs aren't exactly a deck of cards, but they tend to get shuffled anyway. For instance, there's Michael Schwartz, former Miami chef-proprietor of Nemo, Big Pink, and Shoji Sushi (all on South Beach), who has shipped up to Boca Raton to take the helm at Zemi. As for Zemi's former chef-proprietor, John Belleme, he also headed northward, teaming up with restaurant impresario Karl Alterman to revamp the eatery at the historic GulfStream Hotel in Lake Worth. Alterman has tried to make this location work for many months now. "When we came here last February, we thought we could make subtle changes on the fly, but we just weren't hitting the mark," he says. "As we established roots in the Lake Worth community, we updated our thinking. So we decided to close our doors and start fresh." Hence, the two-week-old Digs (1 Lake Ave., Lake Worth, 561-540-6000), a globally influenced, contemporary Florida restaurant that replaces the Lake Avenue Grille, which closed in September. Open for three meals per day, Digs offers items ranging from "shrimp song lettuce packages featuring crispy Gulf shrimp with chili-citrus vinaigrette and petite Asian salad" to "house-made five cheese ravioli with fresh tomato pan sauce and basil," along with more comfort-based dishes such as St. Louis barbecued ribs, burgers with farmhouse cheddar, and center-cut filet mignon with sautéed spinach. "We didn't want to be just a special-occasion restaurant; we wanted to be an everyday restaurant," Alterman claims. And with the versatile Belleme, whose regional work I've admired for years, manning the stove, he has every reason to think that Digs will hit its mark.

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