Turnover in the restaurant industry can come a matter of months. Yaddi and Frank Rodriguez invested six years and a sum business-types might call crazy to open The Chimney House on Las Olas Boulevard west of downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The pair have transformed the historic building from a bombed out shell once home to squatters to a welcoming setting offering a survey of Latin American fare.
The inspiration came from Frank's time in New York City, where he recalled a Queens restaurant that offered everything from Cuban sandwiches to Colombia's salchipapas.
Although the red brick fireplace that sits in the middle of the dining room is the restaurant's namesake, the place to be is out on the patio. In the evening under dim light flamenco played quietly and couples, speaking a few different languages, sipped on sangria. The Peruvian classic lomo saltado was a highlight, as was the octopus ceviche, in a creamy and vinegary olive aioli.
A lot of love was put into this tiny eatery, whose exterior had us expecting meat and potatoes. It will take a lot of love to keep it around. Frank joked "we'll probably need to be open for 15 years to break event."
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