Boatyard Opening October 17 in Fort Lauderdale

Boatyard — Fort Lauderdale's newest waterside dining concept — will officially open its doors on Saturday, October 17.

The opening   as been anxiously awaited by locals in the spot formerly known as Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill — an iconic waterfront restaurant in Fort Lauderdale for more than 25 years.The unveiling of the new establishment, simply called Boatyard, promises to deliver an experience that embraces the pulse of Fort Lauderdale’s yachting culture and a tradition reimagined, says Boatyard partner Tim Petrillo.

"With a prime location in the epicenter of the yachting capital of the world, we think Boatyard is poised to become South Florida's next big hotspot in the Fort Lauderdale culinary scene," said Petrillo, also co-founder and president of The Restaurant People.

The reinvented Boatyard recently underwent a complete redesign. The re-concept and renovations, which began in June, are a joint partnership between Petrillo's restaurant group The Restaurant People (the same group behind Tarpon Bend, YOLO and O Lounge, Vibe, Fork & Balls and S3) and Hudson Capital Group.

According to Petrillo, the restaurant will feature an upscale vibe with a decidedly sophisticated — yet laid-back — atmosphere. The yachty-chic retreat features a giant, 35-foot chandelier made of spiraling oars in all shapes, sizes, and colors, a custom-built piece that serve as a focal point to the space. The 275-seat restaurant features an indoor/outdoor bar and roaming lounge areas, offering a seamless transition from inside to out with breathtaking views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Inside, Miami's Big Time Design has delivered a custom décor design, a mixture of antique boathouse and mid-century chic. Warm wood tone finishes are accented with raw materials like rope and driftwood, combined with nautically-appropriate copper lighting pendants and bursts of marine blue hues to create an atmosphere reminiscent of Fort Lauderdale's longstanding history in the yachting community.

Outside, an 80-seat patio is surrounded by several large fire pits, as well as large banquettes set underneath a 35-foot Gumbo Limbo tree adorned with rustic lanterns. Nearby, boaters can access the restaurant via the water with the use of a 120-feet of dockage space for vessels up to 75 feet, a coveted amenity for loyal patrons who prefer to dock-and-dine, said Petrillo. Add to that a private event space for up to 200 people.

As for the food: Boatyard will feature an eclectic, seafood-centric menu delivered by The Restaurant People co-founder and executive chef Peter Boulukos and Boatyard executive chef Doug Reiss. The mantra here is "Eat Local, Be Coastal" — contemporary American cuisine featuring fresh seafood, a raw bar, and wood-fired premium meats and steaks.

Boulukos and Reiss will be sourcing locally-caught fish to feature on the Boatyard menu, a "Hook To Table" philosophy that will feature the names of the locally-based commercial fishermen who supply the restaurant its seafood, as well as the names of their boats and the waters where they fish. The expansive raw bar cart, a new feature for South Florida shellfish fans, will allow guests to select their seafood table-side. 

"Fort Lauderdale is considered the Yachting Capital of the world and we have built a restaurant and entertainment venue that will embrace and exemplify this culture," said Petrillo. "The concept is about recognizing that the sea is a part of our soul; it defines who we are in Fort Lauderdale. Boatyard is a nod to the culture and allure that the yachting community is built upon. This is a prime location and waterfront destination, and it is our goal to deliver a reinvented experience that will bring people back in droves and carry on a legacy."

Boatyard (1555 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale) officially opens Saturday, October 17. Hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight on Friday, and noon to midnight on Saturday, with bars remaining open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Dinner will be served seven days a week, lunch six days, and an a la carte menu will be offered for Sunday brunch. Call 954-525-7400, or visit boatyard.restaurant.

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.

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