The Palm Beach food scene wouldn't be what it is today without the Coniglio family and its most notable family member - number 16 on our Tastemakers list - Frank Coniglio, co-owner for a string of Florida establishments that includes Palm Beach Island's Cucina dell'Arte, Nick & Johnnie's and Cha Cha's.
Coniglio purchased his first establishment, E.R. Bradley's Saloon, in1984 as homage to his love of horse racing and -- as the name suggests -- E.R. Bradley, otherwise known as Colonel Edward Riley Bradley, named one of the "Great Floridians" by the Florida Department of State.
But it's not just the restaurants that put Coniglio on this list.
While his establishments continue to be a mainstay in the South Florida restaurant scene, it's Coniglio's desire to help others that makes him a true Tastemaker. His fans include The Blind Monk owner Ben Lubin (who made No. 20 on this list), who credits Coniglio's as inspiration when seeking to open his first establishment. Likewise, Juan Gando, owner of The Fashion Cuisine family of restaurants in Wellington, got his start at Coniglio's Cucina, and credits his former employer for helping to teach him the ropes of the business and pursue his own venture.
The most influential person in my career has been:
My wife, Gail, for her undying support.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort, (and no one is around to see me stuff my face, watch me eat, or judge me for my food choice) the one food or drink I turn to is:
Hoffman chocolate-covered almonds and chocolate milk.
What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?
In my opinion, we could use some more authentic Chinese restaurants.
You get to vote one food or beverage "trend" out of existence forever.
What is it? The "Harvey Wallbanger." It was a drink made with vodka, Galliano (a bright yellow Italian herbal liqueur), and orange juice that was very popular in the late 50's, and everyone had it on their menu. If I never saw it again, I'd be just fine with that.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
The "Hunka Munka." It would serve fresh seafood, and it would be on a deserted island.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Semi-retired, but definitely living on a horse farm.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
E.R. Bradley, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and General Chesty Puller of the U.S. Marine Corps. I would love to meet each one personally. That would really be a dream come true.
New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous 2013 Tastemakers are listed below.
22. Vaughan Lazar of Kapow!
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