The Grove in Delray Beach: Small Staff, Big Ideas
Delray Beach is known as the food capital of South Florida. Not only does the small beachside city host one of the region's best farmer's markets, but it's also home to some of the best restaurants in the area. It almost comes as no surprise that the gourmand-centered town would attract one restaurant with two Culinary Institute of America-trained chefs. The Grove fits them, plus a partner with an impressive front-of-house resume, all in one small, 26-seat package.
Twenty-eight year-old chef/partner Michael Haycook, along with 27-year-old resident chef Meghan O'Neal and a couple of dishwashers, takes care of the entire kitchen. Even more surprising: those two chefs prepare everything in-house from scratch. Breads, ice cream, pasta, marshmallows, you name it.
Partner Paul Strike, 41, from Miami's Area 31, manages the front-of-house with just a couple of servers. With a small space and even smaller staff, the restaurant pays close attention to detail.
The young group is attempting to pair a modern, casual atmosphere with elevated fare. "At the end of the day, the company makes the meal," says Haycook, "And we just do everything we can to not mess it up."
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