Once a destination for surfers, skaters, and beach babes, Deerfield Beach was Boca Raton’s red-headed stepchild to the south, where lazy days were spent fishing off the pier, throwing ‘em back at Flanigans, and loitering outside Island Water Sports or the 7-11. A gas station took up prime oceanfront real estate.
“Deerfield Beach, when I first started here, was a small, community-driven beach town,” says Danielle Rosse, owner/proprietor of Oceans 234.
Rosse remembers those days well. She began her career as a teenager waiting tables at The Ranch House, a Deerfield landmark that occupied the same spot where Oceans 234 stands today. Over a few short years of working her way through the ranks, she decided to just go ahead and buy the restaurant at the ripe old age of 32.
“Danielle doesn’t quit,” says Ashley Sherman, Rosse’s director of marketing and guest relations. “She’s
Thanks to Rosse’s irrepressibly positive attitude and all-or-nothing work ethic, Oceans 234 has become a $6 million dollar a year business. This past summer, it went under a complete renovation (to the tune of around $1.5 million).
“It was time for some maintenance to be done,” says Rosse. “We needed to reinvest in the property and bring our brand’s standards up…because we know that we’re going to be here for so many years to come and this property is so viable.”
Rosse’s biggest gripe with the old space was the way it blocked the ocean view, with inconceivably high walls in the dining room. So, she had the walls torn down, some columns removed, and floor-to-ceiling NanaWall impact glass doors installed. The private dining area was expanded, going from a 20-seat capacity to nearly 50.
“We didn’t add to the square footage,” says Rosse, “but we maximized the space.”
In spite of shuttered doors during the 3-month long renovation, Oceans will be retaining 75% of its 100-person staff, 10 of which have been there over 10 years. Executive chef Victor Franco—returning from a fun-filled hiatus—has completely overhauled the menu. It’s appropriately seafood-centric with a Mediterranean bent, perhaps due to a visit to Italy.
It’s a tight menu, thankfully, not a chain restaurant-worthy
“Chef Vic really challenged himself. He ran new ideas as specials and picked out the ones that did the best,” says Amanda Ellis, Oceans 234 private events manager. Franco is retaining some menu favorites like lobster mac n’ cheese, and the shrimp and corn-crusted local snapper. They’ll also offer a gluten-free menu.
On Sundays, brunch starts at 10 a.m. — an hour earlier than before the reopening. “It’s going to be the ultimate Sunday Funday spot,” says Sherman, with tableside bottomless mimosas for $15 and behemoth (albeit semi-ridiculous) “loaded” Bloody Marys garnished with bacon-wrapped shrimp and a grilled cheese wedge. But how could you resist the carrot cake pancakes, or the Southern-style eggs Benedict on a cheddar biscuit with country ham and jalapeno hollandaise?
Rosse brought in a mixologist and a sommelier to craft the new cocktail menu and wine list, respectively. Crafted cocktails, like the Deerfield Daydream, focus on local tropical fruits. They’ll even offer a “mocktail” menu (to save ourselves from getting embarrassingly drunk in public when concerned friends have long since thrown in the towel.)
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“We stepped up our wine game by twenty thousand percent,” says Sherman. “We have our sights set on winning a Wine Spectator award, so we’ve expanded the wine list to include 102 wines by the bottle, and a larger selection of wines by the glass.” A wall installation Sherman dubs the “wine oasis” will display 400 bottles.
But it's not all delicious self-indulgence at Oceans 234. Giving back to the community is something
Even if you don’t belly up to the bar at Oceans 234 anytime soon, you’ll be able to get a sneak-peek at one of their bartenders: the lovely
As the dust settles and Oceans 234 finally reopens its doors, Sherman is confident: “It’s all hands on deck. We’re ready!”
Oceans 234 is located at 234 N. Ocean Blvd. in Deerfield Beach. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The bar remains open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 954-428-2539 or visit www.oceans234.com.