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First Look: Delray's New Hidden Gem 3rd & 3rd Does the Harlem Shake

There's a new restaurant in downtown Delray Beach, but unless you hear about it through the grapevine, or are curious enough to venture beyond the boundaries of Pineapple Grove and down the backstreets north of Atlantic Ave., you may never have known it existed.

With no exterior sign, the recently-opened establishment -- named for it's location at the corner of NE Third Street and Third Avenue -- is not easy to find, unless you know where you're headed. But that's just the way owner and executive chef John Paul Kline likes it. Since he opened in late February, his spot has attracted a number of local residents. And once you know the location of the bright teal stucco exterior, it's not hard to miss.

"Think of it like an underground spot, a neighborhood hangout," Kline told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview.

A longtime chef, Kline's culinary career began in his home state of New Jersey, where he worked in banquet sales, on the line, and in front of house for various establishments across New England, including Providence, Rhode Island and Nantucket Island. Despite a taste for travel and nomadic past, Kline eventually settled down in South Florida, where he currently runs a successful catering company he began in 2005 known as John Paul Custom Cuisine.

Just over a year ago, Kline decided to follow his dreams, and purchased the stucco building at the corner of NE 3rd Ave. and 3rd. St. in Delray Beach just a few blocks from his home. The goal: open his own restaurant, a project that too more than 12 months to complete and has resulted in a charming and inviting bar and restaurant destined to become a locals' hangout.

The kitchen at 3rd & 3rd is managed by Kline and his two sous chefs, Jonathan Bigayer, formerly of the Breakers in Palm Beach and Key Grill in Jupiter, as well as Philip Anthony Licausi, who recently participated in the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival's Grand Chef Throwdown.

Not quite tapas -- but not full dinner servings either -- a series of well-priced (and well-sized) half-portion plates comprise the debut menu. Rather than split the selections into salads, appetizers and entrees, Kline presents under a dozen dishes that span them all, and rotate seasonally, while daily specials offer swapped-out sides for standard menu items as market fresh produce becomes available.

Staff favorites include a duck confit served with a sweet potato gruyere soufflé ($10), or Bedford Bay scallops seared in thyme butter and served with corn succotash ($8). Another pick: the skewers, which can be ordered in any number for $5 apiece. Selections change daily or weekly, depending on what is available. When Clean Plate Charlie stopped in for a look, Kline was serving a shrimp and chorizo version with sweet chili glaze and corn sauce, a hanger steak with soy balsamic and tomatillo glaze, and pan seared chicken with tomato onion jam.

Keep reading for a video of the restaurant staff's Harlem Shake video by local Delray artist Micah Kvidt, as well as a photo tour of 3rd & 3rd.

The 2,600-square-foot interior space at 3rd & 3rd took over a year to renovate, previously several establishments including Annex and Blacktip Reef. It's split between a dim-lit, cozy, eclectic lounge -- like your funky art-school-going sister's living room, but with great food and even better music -- or the large, u-shaped bar and high-top seating area. The furniture and art that pepper the space are hand-picked items, some of which were specially commissioned for the space, including work by local artist Josh Von Nonn and sculptor Jeff Whyman.

Watch the staff at 3rd & 3rd do the Harlem Shake:

To learn more about 3rd & 3rd visit 3rdand3rd.com or call 561-303-1939, or stop by and see the place for yourself. The restaurant is located in a bright teal green building at 301 NE Third St., Delray Beach. There is no sign, and the exterior color may change soon, so look for the address numbers by the door to be sure you have the right spot.

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