Top Hat Delicatessen Opening Today in Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village

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Craving a hot bowl of matzo ball soup? A thick-stacked Reuben sandwich? Or maybe a lox-and-cream-cheese bagel as thick as a Bible? You can find them all at a new deli concept that opens its doors today in Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village.

That deli is Top Hat Delicatessen, what will be the fifth concept from South Florida's be nice restaurant group, which also operates Fort Lauderdale-based establishments Coconuts, Red Cow, Foxy Brown, and G&B Oyster Bar.

According to concept creator and restaurateur Elliot Wolf, Top Hat Delicatessen is a traditional, New York-style deli specializing in a tantalizing combination of original and new-style modern dishes. The menu will offer standard classic deli items like Reuben and Rachel sandwiches, liver and onions, Nova lox, corned beef, white fish, matzo ball soup, and egg creams — an old-fashioned beverage made using milk, carbonated water, and chocolate syrup — something Wolf says was a cherished family tradition he shared with his father dining out at delis across New York.

The name Top Hat is also a nod to Wolf's family.

"My grandfather, Max Wolf, emigrated from Germany to New York City in 1932," says Wolf. "He only brought a handful of things with him, one of which was the top hat, the same one he wore to marry my grandmother."

That same top hat also made an appearance at his own parents' wedding and again when Wolf married his wife, Melinda. As a result, the deli — like the hat — is a symbol for his family's love of tradition, says Wolf.

Traditions aside, Top Hat Deli will also deliver some pretty colorful deli-style dishes. The menu highlights a series of new-style, modern riffs on some of your favorite foods. For breakfast, you can find doughssaints (half doughnut, half croissant), a matzah brei scramble dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and ramen with a bacon broth and eggs. Come lunch, try the deli's Reuben egg rolls or maybe the signature Top Hat burger, a pastrami patty topped with Swiss cheese.

After 11 a.m., blue-plate specials like chicken pot pie, a brisket plate with mashed potatoes, or a 12-ounce New York strip steak are available until close. Pair any of these entrée-style plates with a glass of wine or beer, as well as a short list of craft and dessert cocktails.

Top Hat Delicatessen is open Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Guests can also enjoy Top Hot's large, casual lounge space as well as a convenient deli counter for takeout and to-go orders. The deli also has outdoor seating protected by a shaded overhang; it's the perfect place for patrons arriving by foot from Flagler Village's Mockingbird Trail, a two-mile art walk featuring sculptures and art installations.

Top Hat Deli is located at 415 NE Third St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-900-3896, or visit facebook.com/tophatdeli.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

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