A Palm Beach County landmark, Howley’s Restaurant was opened in April 1950 by Patrick J. Howley and has been able to keep up with the times thanks to restaurateur Rodney Mayo’s takeover in 2004. Turning it into a retro diner with a hipster edge, Mayo has ensured that the traditions of Howley’s remain the same: amazing comfort food made from scratch and a unique aesthetic that pleases the eye.
Mayo preserved the diner’s best features, such as the terrazzo floors, open grill, and Formica-topped tables, and added a modern flare with local art and red barstools. However, it was years before Howley’s exterior got a makeover. In 2009, local artist Amanda Valdes painted the restaurant’s first mural of her signature dolls donned in waitress uniforms with the Howley’s slogan, “Cooked in sight, must be right,” perched above their heads. Valdes’ style fits the vibe of Sub-Culture’s chain of restaurants and nightlife spots so well that her designs can be found in many of Mayo’s establishments.
In search of a new perspective, Howley’s is hosting a mural contest to fill a different space on the patio wall, a spot that many people face while dining or drinking at the restaurant. The contest is open to the public, and it doesn’t matter if you are a professional artist or just someone who loves to doodle. Howley’s isn’t picky. It welcomes any design as long as it suits the culture of the restaurant.
“I would say we are a little funky, so don’t be scared to do something off the wall,” says Brea Burney, one of the managers at Howley’s. “There’s no experience required. We’ve had entries from 6-year-olds before, so whatever you think will look good — we’ll take it!”
And there’s plenty of room to use your imagination to the fullest, as the patio wall can fit a design that is five feet by eight feet. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their ideas via email to [email protected] or stop by and bring a small-scale sketch. Although the deadline for submission is Sunday, May 31, at 11 p.m., it is strongly encouraged to start submitting your ideas now. You can even determine your competition on the restaurant’s Facebook event page.
So, what’s in it for you? The winner will receive $200 cash, free art supplies, and instant recognition for his or her efforts. Considering how popular murals are in South Florida, from West Palm Beach all the way to Miami, your artwork is sure to turn heads. Who knows? We may even be writing about your design in the near future.
Howley’s Restaurant is located at 4700 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. Call 561-833-5691, or visit sub-culture.org.
Gillian Speiser is a contributing writer for About.com’s Cookbooks & Food Writing page. Follow her on Twitter.