The Ray, a hotel located at 201 NE Second Ave., hosted its groundbreaking ceremony this past Wednesday, June 12. The 141-room hotel will boast a tropical-modernist theme brought to life by living walls, multiple rooftop gardens, and a number of large-scale sculptures and art installations. Guests will be able to choose from a variety of entertainment options, including a 20,000-square-foot rooftop pool deck and a private event space for up to 300 guests hosted in a “floating” glass cube. The hotel is expected to welcome its first visitors in May 2021.
"People who have been coming to Delray Beach for many years, have been amazed at the [city's] transformation... into the region's premier beach community and food-and-beverage hub," says Craig Menin, president of Menin Development, the real-estate firm behind both projects. "The Ray has been conceived and designed to be the ultimate hotel and dining destination for the entire region."
Located on the hotel's ground floor, the 4,200-square-foot signature restaurant will be home to chef Akira Back, protégé of famed Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Former head chef at Matsuhisa in Aspen, Colorado, Back left in 2008 to open Yellowtail at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Since then, Back has opened restaurants in Las Vegas, Singapore, Hanoi, New Delhi, and Bali, as well as Seoul, Korea, where he was awarded a Michelin star.
Stateside, Akira is best known for his chain of 11 eponymous Japanese restaurants with locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Akira Back at the Ray will be the first outpost on the East Coast, an eatery set in a tropical theme matching the hotel’s architectural style. The large izakaya menu is meant for sharing, with hot and cold options, plenty of sushi, as hot composed entrees served alongside cocktails and an extensive sake list.
Another option for foodies will be the Delray City Market, located just south of Atlantic Avenue at 33 SE Third Ave. With a targeted grand opening in fall 2020, the market is slated to become Florida's largest food hall, both in square footage and in the number of vendors.
Menin says the food hall will include 35 individually curated vendors that will sell a variety of high-end dishes for the area's gourmands. Many vendors have been confirmed but details have yet to be released to the public. What we do know: The four-story building will offer a 220-car, four-level state-of-the-art parking garage, which is good news to anyone familiar with downtown Delray Beach's parking woes.
"We have approached our two new development projects... with the intent to take what has made Delray Beach what it is today and to expand upon this by creating two iconic structures. [We've combined] the finest design minds with the nation's premier food-and-beverage operators... [to create destinations] not currently found in Delray Beach."