Two restaurants born in Fort Lauderdale are headed for downtown Delray Beach.
Next year, the city will welcome a pair of South Florida establishments to Atlantic Avenue's ever-growing restaurant row. Recently, both JEY Hospitality Group and Big Time Restaurant Group announced plans to bring their most popular concepts, Rok:Brgr Burger Bar + Gastropub and Louie Bossi's Ristorante, to Palm Beach County.
Rok:Brgr, the upscale burger-centric eatery founded by Marc Falsetto, will be located at 4 E. Atlantic Avenue, formerly Tryst. A longtime Delray Beach haunt, Tryst — often considered the area's first gastropub — officially closed on Sunday, November 6, after nearly eight years in business.
For Falsetto, the phrase "where one door closes, another opens" couldn't be more fitting.
"We're very excited to bring Rok:Brgr to Palm Beach County," Falsetto told New Times. "We really wanted to be in Delray Beach, and have been looking for the past five years for the right spot. When we heard Tryst was available, we felt it was the perfect match."
Rok:Brgr first opened in Fort Lauderdale's Himmarshee Village in 2010, followed by additional locations in Miami in 2012 and Hallandale Beach's Gulfstream Park in 2014. The concept has garnered numerous accolades over the years, and is currently the only gastropub to be featured on Zagat's Top 50 Miami Restaurants list.
The restaurant is best known for its 17 signature burgers made with a proprietary blend of prime meat; gastropub-style fare including lobster corn dogs and a mac 'n cheese bar; and its high-energy Sunday Social Brunch where ladies can drink bottomless mimosas for $5 per person.
When it opens in February 2017, the 3,500-square-foot Delray Beach Rok:Brgr will become the tenth concept to join the JEY Hospitality Group portfolio, which includes two Tacocraft restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and Miami; as well as Pizzacraft, Himmarshee Public House, and Apothecary 330 in Fort Lauderdale.
Falsetto says the Delray Beach Rok:Brgr will serve guests the same core menu as his other two locations, but with a few added improvements. Several new dishes will appear only on the Delray Beach menu, while the 25-seat bar will offer an expanded craft beer program, as well as a large selection of American whiskies and bourbon. The restaurant will be open for both lunch and dinner, as well as a late night bar Falsetto says he hopes will bring back Tryst's once-flourishing local and in-the-biz bar scene.
"No one is really doing what we do in Delray Beach with the gourmet burger restaurant, and nothing new has popped off on the Avenue in awhile," says Falsetto. "I love Louie Bossi's, the new concept going in almost next door to us, and I'm super excited about the changes headed for that side of the street."
One block to the west, Big Time Restaurant Group will also be expanding into Delray Beach with a third Louie Bossi's Ristorante. The restaurant will take the place of Cafe Bleu located at 44 E. Atlantic Avenue, and will be the third Delray Beach establishment for the group, which also operates Rocco’s Tacos (110 E. Atlantic Ave.) and City Oyster & Sushi Bar (213 E. Atlantic Ave.).
The first Louie Bossi's opened in June 2015 off Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale, a high-energy, upscale Italian eatery where everything is made in-house including pastas, breads, wood-fired pizzas, cured meats, gelato, and limoncello.
"Our country's modern culinary movement is a reaction to industrialized food," said Big Time Restaurant Group director of culinary operations, Lisbet Summa, who crafted the menu alongside former Big City Tavern executive chef Louie Bossi, after whom the restaurant is named. "In big cities like New York and Chicago and San Francisco, we're seeing a return to slow food and Old World techniques. And that's what we wanted Louie Bossi's to stand for: a scratch kitchen using real ingredients and products with integrity."
In February, Big Time Restaurant Group partner Todd Herbst announced plans to open a second Louie Bossi's in Boca Raton. The restaurant, expected to open in early 2017, will be located at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Palmetto Park Road as part of the new Hyatt Place complex.
According to Herbst, the Delray Beach Louie Bossi's will be the biggest to-date. The eatery will encompass over 10,400-square-feet, and two floors.
"[Louie Bossi's] is a very special restaurant. We've known from the start that this was a concept we wanted to grow, and we've seen so much success, in part, because everything is made in-house. It's authentic," says Herbst. "We're not trying to put a Louie Bossi's on every corner, but for these [two] I think it's the right time, and the right place. We really wanted to be in Delray Beach."
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.