Only in South Florida could an iconic chocolate shop give birth to a Caribbean-inspired tapas restaurant.
In 1946, Jimmie Vonglis and his family escaped war-torn Europe for a new life in the States. A year later, he opened the doors to Jimmie's Chocolates in Dania Beach.
Vonglis is long gone, and the shop has changed hands several times since then, but his legacy lives on at his original storefront, which is hailed as the longest-running chocolate shop in the state.
Owners Rodney Harrison and Ken Smith took over the property in the late '90s. While the pair were originally interested only in the real estate, when they approached the former owner, he implored them to carry on the legacy of the historic business.
Call it faith, stupidity, or just a spark of intuition; the two businessmen decided to take a chance and revive the chocolate shop.
A few years later, Harrison and Smith brought in Rob Granado as a consultant (he later signed on as executive chef and managing partner) and expanded the concept to include a restaurant, Jimmie's Cafe.
"The whole thing is experimental," says Granado. "It started as a patisserie café eight years ago, but we've closed twice to revamp."
Today, serving an array of Caribbean-inspired tapas, the eatery is in the midst of another change; it's further separating itself from the chocolate shop with a change of name, to Jimmie's Cafe 47. Additionally, the renamed café will now be open on Tuesdays as well as for weekend brunch service starting in October.