February 9, 2011 | 9:25am
I wasn't sure I'd heard the gossip correctly, but when I asked Hope Wallace, manager of Sky309, if there really is a 15-minute rule for food service at the sky-top bar above Roxy's in downtown West Palm Beach, she answered with an exuberant "Yes!"
"If you don't get your food before the timer runs out, it's free," says Wallace, reaching for a small hourglass timer that marks the 15 minutes.
When lunch patrons sound their order, the tiny timers are placed on the table or bar while they wait in the open-air splendor of the rooftop establishment.
It's a policy that's been in place since Sky309 created its new and improved lunch menu just two weeks ago.
"How many times have you actually honored it since then?" I pry.
Once -- a fluke, she assures me. "The server entered the order completely wrong, so it had to be sent again. That's been the only time so far."
But that's not the only good news being served up at this year-old restaurant and bar off Clematis. Wallace tells me the new menu also features a host of healthier options geared at fast, fresh food -- that's good for you -- and all under $10.
Wallace credits Executive Chef Mark Liberman with the menu makeover, which features a varied selection of sandwiches, wraps, and salads -- as well as the superfast execution.
"We got a little more detail-oriented because our customers work and live downtown, and they want something that's healthy, quick, and simple," Wallace says of sandwiches served with choice of side salad or the chef's own house-made chips.
The menu has five salads, including a classic caesar ($7.95; add $2 for chicken) and the Wedge (a quarter slice of iceburg lettuce topped with turkey, black olives, bacon, jalapeño, and roasted garlic blue cheese dressing for $8.95). There's also a creative take on a tomato salad (fresh heirloom tomatoes with red onion, watermelon, and feta cheese for $8.95) or the Vermacelli (rice noodles with grilled chicken, pickled carrots, soybeans, and peanuts in a mint-lime dressing for $9.95).
Aside from paninis and wraps, there are several "Fork and Knife" sandwiches, so named because they are served on grilled rustic bread and plated open-face, thus making them easier to eat with silverware in hand.
We took a tip from Wallace and ordered her personal favorite, the Santa Cruz ($8.95). It features oven-roasted turkey, avocado, Brie, and basil pesto on a freshly toasted panini. We also opted for the less-healthy side, the fresh fried potato chips, the absolute best I've had in recent memory.
Be sure to stop by for lunch, and try the timer -- we dare you to switch it up and order enough to get a free meal out of it! Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
And if you're in the area, stop by for happy hour on a Thursday or Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., when Sky309 serves its "All You Can Eat" seafood buffet featuring fried calamari, steamed clams, king crab legs, peel 'n' eat shrimp, and more. It's just $5 per person (with a two-drink minimum).
309 Clematis St.
West Palm Beach 33401