Red Tapas in Palm Beach Gardens: Where Server Dress Code Includes a Specific Shade of Lipstick and Servers Work From iPods | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Red Tapas in Palm Beach Gardens: Where Server Dress Code Includes a Specific Shade of Lipstick and Servers Work From iPods

Discover. Taste. Share. These are the words chosen by Red Tapas Bar and Grille to embody what a trip to the new Palm Beach Gardens restaurant is all about.

Red Tapas is the latest dining concept from the owners of nearby Cabo Flats, a popular Mexican cantina and tequila bar located at Downtown at the Gardens. The idea behind Red, however, was to offer something unlike anything else in the area.

With its bright-red interior décor (think a South Beach vibe) and well-stocked menu (a world view of tapas that goes beyond the traditional Spanish offerings to include American and Asian-themed dishes), general manager Melissa Hartman said every detail at Red Tapas has a lot of thought behind it.

From the red leather décor on the banquettes to the red-lit bar -- even the Mac "Viva Glam" red lipstick that female servers all wear -- has meaning. "It's just a sexy color, and it makes a statement," Hartman told Clean Plate Charlie recently. That includes a giant pair of red lips custom-painted by local artist Lauren VanArman, the restaurant's focal piece hanging on the back wall beyond the bar.

The business operation runs off a completely wireless system, with both

servers and bartenders sending orders to the kitchen via Apple iPods, while

central station "hubs" are nothing more than iPads. The Wi-Fi is

available to everyone at Red (password required, of course), but the

mobility is meant to make for a unique experience, Hartman says.


thing you'll definitely notice: no plate descriptions on the menu, an

intentional move by Hartman, who wants patrons and servers to interact

as much as possible. "I want the experience to be very engaged. We

hand-picked and trained our servers to know every dish in detail, every

cocktail, every glass of wine so they can help patrons navigate their

evenings' selections."

Operations aside, if you like small plates, Red has plenty of them to choose from. The menu covers Spanish, Greek, Italian, and Asian-themed dishes, most affordably priced between $4 and $10. The menu is organized similarly to how you'd read a high-end wine list: lighter options at the top, with bolder, more intense offerings as you make your way down.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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