• The much-anticipated (and feared) Night of the Long Knives for local restaurants is here. Among the latest and most distressing is the closure of Italian Oven Café in CityPlace. The stylish "fast casual" café delivered easy-to-like pizzas, pastas and paninis of a quality that belied their reasonable prices but the recession and a reported two-year delay in opening screwed them over without much hope of recovery. Café owner Jim Frye is said to intend to reopen elsewhere in West Palm, which Clean Plate Charlie, for one, certainly hopes he does.
• What we laughably call "the economy" is also said to be responsible for the closure of a trio of well-known Broward County eateries. Frankie's 124 (ne: Frankie's Pier 5) in Hallandale Beach is toast after 40 years, though co-owner Louis Perrone says on the restaurant's website, "We might spring up again soon." Cohiba Brasserie in Pembroke Pines has also gone up in smoke.
• Even in la-te-da Palm Beach, where the economy is so bad the Islanders have to struggle by on only one Bentley, a high-end market can't make a go of it. Market Salamander, which offered a limited but quality selection of meat, seafood, cheeses, wines and assorted "gourmet" products, has slunk off into the sunset, forcing its well-heeled clientele to actually rub shoulders with the peasants at Publix. Oh, the horror!
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