When I was a kid -- a good 20 years ago now -- Deerfield Beach's waterfront scene didn't have many dining options. Sure, the Whale's Rib and Amante were there in the late '80s, but if you wanted something besides pizza or fried fish, a Slurpee at 7-Eleven was about all you could hope for.
Well, all that's changed with the addition of several grab-and-go eateries in the past year or so, spots where both locals and tourists can sit and stay or carry out. From fresh crêpes and burritos to veggie pitas and a pretty darned good fish taco, here is a rundown of the newest Deerfield Beach restaurants to hit the scene:
Gimme a Burger
1200 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach
Located on the far east end of Hillsboro Boulevard, just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of the beach, Gimme a Burger is a new standalone location serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Don't believe it can get better than Charm City next door? We hear ya, but we also want to suggest that Gimme a Burger is worth a try: It won second place at the recent Boca Burger Battle for its most popular menu item, the Hungry Wolf ($4.95 to $7.95), a customizable Black Angus patty that comes with loads of free toppings like Howlin' Wolf Sauce, garlic yogurt, tahini, or wasabi mayo. Add your choice of cheese (including Gorgonzola, thank goodness), then top it off with specialty .75-cent add-ons like grilled or caramelized onions, house-made chili, sauteed mushrooms -- even a fried egg.
We would be lying if we told you Gimme a Burger was just burgers, though. You'll also find the usual selection of fast dining fare, including hot dogs, chicken tenders, a grilled-fish sandwich, and quesadillas. Not a meat lover? The vegan and vegetarian choices include customizable salads, stuffed veggie pitas, and a falafel platter.
Open at 7 a.m. daily, breakfast offers a few interesting options worth mentioning. Served all day, the Snow Wolf Bizkits are an indulgent treat: three fresh-fried biscuits dusted with powdered sugar and served with cream cheese and jam -- a steal at $1.99. Or keep it simple with the Squealin' Cluck N Moo sandwich, Gimme's standard bacon, egg, and cheese on a signature fresh-baked muffin bun, served panini style.
If you aren't in the mood for beef, try the Gobbler -- a turkey burger that promises to be just as juicy and full of flavor, with a mix of special ingredients (shredded carrot was easily identifiable) added to fresh ground meat ($6.95). Served with a chunky cranberry mayo, it's like an early taste of Thanksgiving on a bun.
Ocean Drive Burrito
123 NE 20th Ave., Deerfield Beach
This new addition to Deerfield's beach scene opened about six months ago and has taken on a very Chipotle-esque theme with its line-style order station that lets you customize burritos, rice bowls, salads, quesadillas, and tacos.
For $8, choose from a selection of arrachera (Spanish for lightly seared skirt steak), jalapeno lime marinated chicken, chili citrus pulled pork, herb-infused grilled vegetables, or garlic white wine shrimp.
The pulled-pork bowl includes tender, juicy meat in chili citrus sauce and brown rice. Don't pass up a taste of the surprisingly spicy salsa verde.
Agave Mexican Fusion
2009 NE Second St., Deerfield Beach
From the owners of Canyon Southwest Cafe in Fort Lauderdale comes this new casual take on Mexican fusion. The menu serves up plenty of Mexican-American fare with the usual nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and tostadas. Here, Agave's baja fish tacos are a solid attempt at the standard South Florida dish.
Agave's trio (served with flour, soft corn tortilla, or crispy shells) combines lightly battered chunks of mahi made heavenly with a hearty helping of a rich, creamy cilantro-lime slaw, and a surprising hit of flavor comes from a fresh pico de gallo that highlighted plump, supersweet tomatoes ($8).
* Canyon's famous house-infused prickly pear margaritas will be available at Agave soon.
A French family is behind the authentic French crêpes at Crêpe Cafe, served all day with options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
There isn't much missing from the menu, which ranges from sweet and savory to the obscenely decadent. Choices include chicken, steak, vegetable, and egg-based creations, as well as the familiar dessert crêpes we Americans will recognize. Several also feature the chef's signature pesto sauce, and here is one place where you can be sure to find a good amount of Brie.
The crêpes -- more than 40 selections -- are served in generous portions at a reasonable price, everything under $10. As in France, the chef uses two different batters: a sweetened wheat flour version for dessert options, another unsweetened buckwheat for savory menu items, all served cooked to order, as is the customary way.
Take the Cassonade ($4.95), a basic combination of brown sugar and salted butter, from the dessert menu. The simple ingredients allow the hand-made, artisanal appeal of the crêpe to shine through, making it a great way to end a meal (or be one all by itself).
1965 NE Second St., Deerfield Beach
Located amid the skate and surf shops on the far end of Second Avenue a few spots south of Island Water Sports, you'll find Barracuda, a Brazilian restaurant with plates so pretty they could grace the cover of Saveur magazine.
The boutique-style restaurant has been given a nautical theme, white and blue washed walls paired with under-the-ocean décor. The white-tablecloth setting makes it the only upscale dining option at Deerfield Beach.
The bar and restaurant's artfully crafted plates cover a variety of approachably exotic appetizers, raw bar items, sandwiches, and entrées. A house favorite is the Camarao na Moranga, jumbo seasoned shrimp served in a baby pumpkin with a creamy curry sauce and fragrant jasmine rice. For an authentic dish, however, try the Prato Freito, an eight-ounce flank steak served with rice, beans, eggs, and French fries -- a classic Brazilian dish that means "ready to eat." And guys: This is the perfect date spot before a romantic, moonlit stroll on the beach.
Follow @ CleanPlateBPB