* We're in the peak of a sweltering summer, and ice cream shops seem to be opening as fast as people can shovel cones down their scorched gullets. This weekend, Cold Stone Creamery is opening at the Promenade in Coconut Creek (4425 Lyons Rd.). The ice cream shop takes its name quite literally -- ice cream "chefs" take your order, then use a big, frozen stone to mix and mash your toppings with the cold, creamy stuff. The store opens Friday at 11 a.m. and will feature a full schedule of events throughout the weekend, as well as free ice cream for kids throughout the grand-opening celebration. Call 954-977-9555.
* NYC creamery Tasti D-Lite is launching a blitzkrieg through Florida, planning to open eight locations in Palm Beach county, ten in Broward, and 12 in Miami-Dade over the next four years. A Boynton Beach store will open in October, hocking the not-quite-ice-cream product that Tasti claims is lower in fat than ice cream and free of artificial sweeteners. Find the new joint at 1050 Gateway Blvd.
* Blue Ridge Restaurant Group is investing in 2006 NW Executive Center Circle in Boca Raton -- that's where their latest joint, Copper Canyon Grill, will open on September 7. The 6,300-square-foot restaurant will combine an upscale casual vibe with such down-home, All-American meals as BBQ ribs, cowboy rib eye steaks, chicken pot pie, seared ahi tuna salad, and... wait a second... "Not Too Far West Sushi"? Er, OK. The drink menu also features nauseatingly cutesy names like the Most Popular Flirtini, ensuring that Boca-ites will glug them down at the granite-top bar with aplomb. Call 561-893-8838.
* After a few delays, word is Miami chef and restaurateur Michelle Bernstein's latest endeavor, Michelle Bernstein's at the Omphoy -- in, you guessed it, the new Omphoy Hotel (creative linguistics at work) -- will open August 14. The oceanfront resort will host the James Beard-winning chef's dinner-only restaurant as well as the MB Terrace, a more casual indoor/outdoor spot that will serve breakfast and lunch. Though the menu is not yet available, the choices are said to reflect a "Mediterranean" flavor and will feature the "finest seafood available and quality cuts of meat, paired with crisp greens." Find the resort at 2842 S. Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach.
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