Sheila's Conch & Wings Reopens in Fort Lauderdale

Palm Beach County residents living nearby Sheila's Famous BBQ, Conch and More food shack in Lake Worth -- maybe even the original mobile unit outside the West Palm Beach court house -- had it good. They were just minutes away from one of the area's most awesome marriages of Southern smoked BBQ and Bahamian-style delicacies.

Well, the tables have turned. Now, Broward County is home to yet another spot all South Floridians can all be a little envious of: Sheila's Conch & BBQ, which reopened a few months ago in Fort Lauderdale.

Owners Dania and Sam Johnson relocated the restaurant to a small strip mall space on the east end of Commercial Boulevard, just a few miles west of the beach. The move was a long time coming; Sheila's -- named for Dania's mother -- was closed for over a year while they searched for the right spot to move the business.

The restaurant retains many of its original elements and charm, from bright-colored walls to the kitschy nautical decor. The new space now occupies a former sushi restaurant, the old sushi bar now fashioned into a walk-in order counter, or snug eating area for those who choose to dine-in for lunch or dinner. Dark and cavernous, yet inviting, the restaurant also offers plenty of high-tops and tables, walls decorated with Caribbean-style trinkets that make you feel as though you've escaped to the islands for lunch as reggae plays in the background. It's a welcome break from the mostly-exposed outdoor eating area at their former Lake Worth location.

While the charm remains, some of the menu items do not. Although the chicken wings served 10 to 100-count are still a menu highlight, Sam's BBQ has been removed from the menu -- the result of downsizing to a space that can't accommodate his elaborate outdoor smoker and grill.

The best dishes, however, are just as good we remember. On weekends, the couple's son will act as server, taking orders and rushing them to his mother in the back of house. He'll re-emerge with orders of Dania's unforgettable take on "crack" fried conch, conch fritters, and her own conch ceviche salad. There's also a new conch burger, and several shrimp and fish dishes.

Sheila's Conch & Wings is located at 3026 E Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. For more information call 954-245-6154.

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