Today, this 17,000-square-foot space located on the outskirts of CityPlace and just a few blocks south of the city's downtown Clematis Street is known as Eat Scene, a multi-use marketplace created by local real estate developer Tony Solo. The complex will serve as a launchpad to showcase art, artisanal foods, boutique wine, and local craft beer.
A $2 million investment, Solo says Eat Scene is a project he's been working on for close to a decade. The developer added the concept is a dream come true, a multi-use space that fuses art, food, and drink.
"It's always been an interest, a passion of mine," says Solo, who adds it was a lucky coincidence that his building — which he purchased several years ago at the height of the recession — will be just steps from the planned All Aboard Florida train station. "I never had the time to do it. Now that I've taken a step back from building and developing, I can finally focus all my energy on Eat Scene."
A portion of the Eat Scene complex dubbed Wine Scene opened several weeks ago, a wine bar created inside an art gallery space, and located next door to the Nicole Henry Fine Art gallery. The bar uses an automated Enomatic wine preservation system, allowing Solo to feature 16 boutique label wines that would otherwise be hard to serve by the glass. In the future, Solo plans to add up to six such machines that will allow him to share 48 bottles at any given time. Currently, Wine Scene offers a total of 45 wines by the glass, many of which are available for sampling during Wine Scene's complimentary weekly ladies' night tasting events.
Next door is an open-air, outdoor courtyard known as Beer Scene, a 4,000-square-foot outdoor graffiti courtyard that will open Saturday, April 18. Solo custom-curated the area's 200-foot-long walls with work by several artists from the West Palm Beach and Wynwood area of Miami. The space will serve as a venue to host beer parties the second and fourth Saturday of every month, each featuring local and Florida-based microbreweries and live music.
The final phase of Solo's project, Eat Scene, is still in the works. Expected to launch in November, Eat Scene will serve as an artisan marketplace, a series of micro-eateries offering everything from fresh produce to meat and seafood, spices, tea, chocolate, bakery items — all under one roof. According to Eat Scene director of operations, Jeremiah Bennett, vendors will represent different cultures, including Latin, Italian, Asian, and French. Eat Scene is expected to open later this year in the adjacent vacant warehouse space next door to Wine and Beer Scene.
At Eat Scene, merchants will lease ten-by-ten-foot spaces (some larger) to represent their business. The building will offer a commissary kitchen and refrigeration for food vendors, says Solo, and a portion of each merchant's monthly fees will help toward the venue's marketing. Overall, the complex is reminiscent of nearby EmKo, a concept fusing art and artisanal food that opened its in-house restaurant, Jereve, last month off Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.
"This whole idea — combining gourmet food with art in and outdoor, courtyard-type setting — is definitely new to South Florida. I'm excited for this project and what it will be able to do for West Palm Beach's dining scene," says Solo. "The focus here is all artisan, from fresh food produced by hand to boutique wines and local beers."
Beer Scene is located at 501 Fern St., West Palm Beach. The graffiti beer garden is scheduled to host its grand opening on Saturday, April 18, from noon to 5 p.m. Entry to the grand-opening event is $20 for advance ticket sales that include a beer-tasting pass ($25 for VIP plus food) or $25 at the door ($30 VIP). Call 561-275-1181, or visit wine-scenepb.com.
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.