This year has been an eventful one for the South Florida dining scene. The Broward and Palm Beach County area saw more restaurant openings throughout the summer months of 2016 than any other year, which is incredible, to say the least.
From big-time barbecue with 4 Rivers Smokehouse and a Miami chef venturing north of the county line for the first time to a locally famous chef opening his own neighborhood spot in West Palm Beach, these five restaurants represent this year's hottest new places to dine in South Florida.
6. Andean-Inspired Cholo Soy Cocina Opens in West Palm Beach
In April, local celebrity chef and 2016 Chef vs. Chef winner Clay Carnes announced plans to open his first restaurant in West Palm Beach's antique district, what has quickly become the city's hottest new restaurant row following the openings of places like Grato, Kitchen, EmKo, and Table 26. On Thursday, September 29, Cholo Soy Cocina officially opened for business, serving both lunch and dinner. Here, Carnes' main focus is the taco, which, he says, is "the perfect vehicle for any ingredient or flavor combination."
5. New Flagship Bay Bays Chicken & Waffles Restaurant Opens in Boynton Beach
an opportunity available to people in the continental U.S Last month, Bay Bays Chicken & Waffles founder Israel Johnson opened his third restaurant in Boynton Beach, which he calls his flagship location. The custom-designed space will allow Johnson to show future franchisees, what their own Bay Bays could look like, an opportunity available to people in the continental U.S. And, of course, they serve some of the best fried chicken and waffles around.
4. Miami's Joshua Wahler Opens First Broward County Restaurant, Nisi, in Fort Lauderdale
Well-known Miami-based chef and Hell's Kitchen contestant Joshua Wahler, who spent time in some of the country's most lauded kitchens including New York City's Gramercy Tavern and Spice Market as well as Miami's Nobu, launched his first restaurant in Broward County this week. The concept resides in the former Thasos Greek Taverna space in Fort Lauderdale.
3. One Door East Offers Internationally Inspired Small Plates and Cocktails
At One Door East, chef-owner Giovanni Rocchio aims to recreate the authentic Spanish tapas experience without the restrictions of sticking to one particular style of cuisine. The chef wants guests to explore the globe alongside friends and strangers one tiny plate at a time, just he as did while visiting San Sebastian. "It was a nice change from the standard eight-ounce portion of meat or fish composed around a single side," he says. "It gave my mouth a chance to get excited about a lot of different flavors."
2. Top Hat Delicatessen Launches New Age Jewish Deli Trend in Fort Lauderdale
At the beginning of the year, an updated New York-style restaurant and deli specializing in the fusion of traditional and modern Jewish dishes opened in Fort Lauderdale's new Flagler Village neighborhood. "The older generation doesn't understand it, but my kids do," said co-owner Elliot Wolf. "Top Hat Deli is all about filling a void. The deli business is dying, but it was something I truly enjoyed growing up. I couldn't find what I wanted here, so I took a leap of faith and decided to do my own spin on the traditional Jewish deli." The trend is set to continue when restaurateur Burt Rapport's new-style deli, restaurant, and bar, Rappy's, makes its debut in Boca Raton this fall.
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1. Broward Barbecue Gets Better With Opening of 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Coral Springs
On September 8, Winter Park-based 4 Rivers Smokehouse opened its first South Florida location at the Walk of Coral Springs shopping center. Over the past seven years, the restaurant has been recognized as one of the “Top 10 Breakout Brands” by Nation's Restaurant News — and featured in Bon Appétit, Cowboys & Indians, Saveur, The Local Palate, and Food & Wine — for its cross-regional approach to barbecue. The restaurant is best-known for its signature 18-hour smoked Angus brisket, which is projected to sell close to 1.5 million pounds across 12 locations this year alone.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.