Now open: Clare Ave Grille brings smash burgers to West Palm; new Tommy Bahama bar debuts in Palm Beach Gardens

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Grumpy Gary’s Bar & Grill, Dania Beach

It’s hard to be grumpy on the beach — unless your name is Grumpy Gary’s Bar & Grill, which closed in late April after five years on the Hollywood Broadwalk. But owner Gary McGeddy refused to stay grumpy for long and moved into the former home of Historic Dockers on June 30. The menu includes the flagship location’s hamburgers, fries, steaks and seafood, along with craft beer, cocktails and wine. 318 N. Federal Highway, Dania Beach;

Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar, Palm Beach Gardens

The newest Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar opened at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens on June 20, the ninth in Florida for the tropical lifestyle brand. The Tommy Bahama retail store on the first level relocated to this new Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar location on the second level, near Nordstrom and Saks, so that the 9,000-square-foot, open-floor plan now has a store, restaurant, bar and outdoor patio. The menu is mostly shareable dishes (and signature cocktails) with a dash of island flavor profiles such as Coconut Shrimp, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos, Ahi Poke bowls, Chicken Breasts with Jerk Marinade, Piña Colada Cake and Key Lime Pie. “Over the last 30 years, we have seen how our guests enjoy shopping at Tommy Bahama when it is combined with a restaurant. It’s one of the ways Tommy Bahama is different from other lifestyle brands,” says Tommy Bahama CEO Doug Wood. 3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-909-1886;

Clare Ave Grille, West Palm Beach

The tentpole food stall inside the hip Grandview Public Market food hall, this burger shack soft-opened on June 23 ahead of its grand opening on July 4. The shop, from owners Atoshia and Antonio Coleman specializes in smash burgers with fresh-cut fries, mac ‘n’ cheese, onion rings, pineapple coleslaw and truffle “crack fries.” 1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-660-5629; 

Brian "El Jefe" Faeth's Papamigos food truck holds court in Pompano Beach. The restaurant's third location will open in Delray Beach later this summer.

Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Brian “El Jefe” Faeth’s Papamigos food truck holds court in Pompano Beach. The restaurant’s third location has opened in Delray Beach. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Papamigos, Delray Beach

Somehow-still-trendy birria is served in not one but five configurations (ramen, nachos, mac ‘n’ cheese, tacos and burritos) at this so-called “Mexi-Crasian” (Mexican-Asian fusion) eatery from Lauren Grosso and Brian Faeth, which opened its newest location in June in the South Delray Shopping Center. Papamigos, which replaces Las Catrinas Mexican and Tequila Bar, slings Mexican-style items such as chicken tortilla soup, taco salad and elote, but also sushi tacos, tuna nachos and oysters on the half-shell. This is Papamigos’ third venture, joining a Coconut Creek storefront and a food truck in Pompano Beach. 3035 S. Federal Highway, Delray Beach; 561-359-2687;

Del Fuego Tex Mex Kitchen and Tequila, Delray Beach

Founded in Long Island by a trio of Italian brothers — Joseph, Jim and Leo DeNicola — this lively cantina chain debuted its first location outside of New York on June 24 on the Intracoastal, replacing former Argentinean steakhouse Che!!! It’s a Tex-Menu with a few savory departures, namely slow-roasted chicken wings glazed in mango-barbecue sauce; dry-rubbed baby back ribs; and a charbroiled Fuego Burger, with chipotle mayo, melted Mexican cheese, avocado and applewood bacon, accompanied by chili-spiced onion rings. There’s also housemade guacamole and tortilla chips, sizzling fajitas, chile relleno, barbecue chicken quesadillas, chimichurri skirt-steak burritos and blackened shrimp tacos topped with roasted corn salsa, red cabbage slaw and chipotle aioli. This is the fifth Del Fuego for the brothers, who also operate Italian eateries Ruvo and La Tavola on Long Island. A manager told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the restaurant will open for dinner service for now, with lunch service starting later this summer. 900 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561-865-5629; 

Sweetgreen opened its eighth Florida-based restaurant on Tuesday, June 20th in River Market retail/restaurant plaza in Fort Lauderdale.
Sweetgreen opened its eighth South Florida-based restaurant on June 20 in Fort Lauderdale’s River Market retail/restaurant plaza. (Sweetgreen/Courtesy)

Sweetgreen, Fort Lauderdale

The opening of this latest Sweetgreen on June 20 marks the eighth South Florida location for the national fast-casual chain, which touts healthy seasonal warm bowls and salads. The 2,602-square-foot venue can seat 37 diners inside at tables and banquettes as well as 30 outside with a bench and lounge chairs on the patio. Sweetgreen debuted on the then-burgeoning bowl scene back in 2007 as the brainchild of Georgetown University buddies Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru and Jonathan Neman. Since then, the brand has done bowl-partnerships with tennis star Naomi Osaka, rapper Kendrick Lamar and celebrity chef Nancy Silverton, among others. 2374 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-807-3731; 

Artisan Deli, Hollywood

Goulash, chicken and pork schnitzel and ciorbă de perișoare (meatball soup) are on the menu at this Romanian-Hungarian restaurant-deli, which debuted in April from co-owners Reka Mathe and John Baleanu a few blocks south of downtown Hollywood. Though the deli specializes in Eastern European cold cuts, the restaurant offers kielbasa, tripe and bean soups, sarmale (stuffed cabbage), ceafa de porc (grilled pork steak) and, for dessert, kürtőskalács (or chimney cakes), which are cone-shaped pastries rolled in granulated sugar. 422 S. Dixie Highway, Hollywood; 954-842-3479;

Zuru Ramen Bar, Plantation

Joining the fray of ubiquitous ramen houses in South Florida, this minimalist shop debuted in early June inside the Plantation Towne Square strip mall from owners Tsz Lam, Bo Yang Liu and Jonathan Chen. Zuru offers nine configurations of ramen, including popular tonkotsu (with 18-hour pork bone broth), soy-based shoyu, brothless mazesoba, chicken pai tan and yasai (a vegetarian mushroom-based broth). There’s also Japanese street food such as donburi rice bowls and bao bun, gyoza and edamame appetizers. A sister Zuru location opened in Miramar in December. 6971 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation; 954-530-4386;

First Watch, Boca Raton

Seventeen years after opening its first chain cafe in Boca Raton, First Watch opened a second location here in mid-June, inside the Polo Club Shops plaza. As with other South Florida outposts, the Bradenton-headquartered restaurant touts brunch fare that’s healthy (like steel-cut oatmeal, egg-white omelets and superfood bowls) and not-so-healthy, like Italian sausage skillet hash and lemon-ricotta pancakes. There’s also thick-cut brioche Floridian French toast and the Elevated Egg sandwich, brioche stuffed with bacon, avocado, Gruyere and lemon-dressed arugula, plated with a side of potatoes. 5022 Champion Blvd., Boca Raton; 561-354-7361;

Carmela Gourmet Toast & Coffee Bar, Boca Raton 
This coffee-and-avocado-toast chain, cofounded in Parkland by owners Rainer Abreu and Rafael Baretta, is in rapid expansion mode, with a rebranded name (changed from Carmela Coffee Co.) and nine new locations planned later in 2023. Carmela’s newest Boca Raton location debuted inside the upscale Park Place plaza in May. A West Palm Beach outpost is set to follow this fall in the Village Commons plaza at 701 Village Blvd., Suites 101-102. Along with caffeine, they sling empanadas, avocado toast, flatbreads, salads and more. 5560 N. Military Trail, Suite 322, Boca Raton; 561-961-0332;

Taki Omakase, Boca Raton

Taki Omakase celebrated its grand opening in Boca Raton on June 2. The original — open since November 2022 — is at 632 E. Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach, and is also owned by three brothers, all chefs: Bill, David and Ben Jiang. Omakase means the sushi chef prepares a guided multi-course meal of different sushi that has some sort of progression of flavors, with an emphasis on artistic presentation and seasonality. 1658 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton; 561-866-4765; 

Delray Beach's Taki Omakase opened a second location in Boca Raton on June 2.

Into The Blue Agency

Delray Beach’s Taki Omakase opened a second location in Boca Raton on June 2. (Into The Blue Agency/Courtesy)

Vicky Bakery, Plantation

The Miami-based company is continuing its ambitious plan to roll out franchise stores northward with this newest location that opened on June 12. This franchise is owned and operated by married couple Carolina and Pedro Escobar. “We are so excited to finally be open,” says Pedro Escobar. “Plantation is one of the best places to live and work in all of Florida.” Vicky Bakery’s signature is Cuban breads, pastelitos, croquetas, pastries, desserts, breakfast dishes, sandwiches, cakes and coffee. Carolina Escobar adds: “We’re comfort food at our heart and soul. Whether you’re celebrating a milestone with one of our custom cakes or desserts, or you want something heartier like a from-scratch pan con bistec or a quick pastelito from the bakery case — Vicky Bakery has it all.” 1773 N. University Drive, Plantation; 954-533-7760;

Vicky Bakery's expansion continues with a new franchise location in Plantation. The Miami-based family-owned Cuban bakery has been a SoFlo institution since 1972.
Vicky Bakery’s expansion continues with a new franchise location in Plantation. The Miami-based, family-owned Cuban bakery has been a SoFlo institution since 1972. (Vicky Bakery/Courtesy)

Whiskey Neat, Plantation

This classy, 2,500-square-foot den dedicated to brown liquor opened June 19 in Plantation, attached to an existing Quarterdeck seafood pub across the street from the Sawgrass Mills mall. The lounge — a sister location of the original Whiskey Neat on Southeast 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale — comes from Old School Hospitality, which operates five Quarterdecks in South Florida. The centerpiece of the bar is a multicolored liquor wall stocked with rare whiskeys. Patrons can order food directly from Quarterdeck’s full kitchen, which it shares with Whiskey Neat next door, co-owner James Flanigan tells the Sun Sentinel. “There’s no good craft-cocktail bar out west,” Flanigan says. “And I know we can capture a lot of customers from Sawgrass and FLA Live Arena.” 12310 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation;

Austin Republic, West Palm Beach

Spare ribs, prime brisket … and Tex-Mex? That’s the ambitious premise behind chef Jimmy Strine’s smoky, new mobile kitchen that quietly opened in June, perched on South Dixie Highway next to Phipps Park in the city’s SoSo (South of Southern Boulevard) district. The barbecue spot, a shipping container on wheels, is a partnership between Strine (known for working in top-notch kitchens Café Boulud, Buccan, Grato and Sundy House) and Roxy’s Pub owner John Webb, whose hometown inspired the name. While the focus is smoked meats like pork spare ribs, rotisserie chicken and Texas hot links, Strine’s window also offers tacos and burritos filled with carnitas, plus brisket melt and pulled pork handhelds, and side dishes including mac-and-cheese pasta shells in queso sauce. Customers dine on outdoor picnic-style tables surrounding the container. The plan is to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant with a bar, billiard tables and outdoor games. 4801 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach;

Myth Gastrobar, Wilton Manors

Formerly Shawn and Nick’s Courtyard Cafe, a no-frills, 24-hour diner on Wilton Drive operated by Shawn Bombard and Nick Berry, the restaurant changed ownership on May 28 with a wholesale makeover. As Shawn and Nick’s, the diner represented an old-school, inexpensive option for breakfast-lunch staples, including corned beef hash, eggs benedicts, fried green tomatoes, potato pancakes, deli sandwiches, wraps and 26 different hamburgers. (The menu, for now, remains the same, although new ownership has teased the addition of Latin-themed items on social media.) “My business partners and I have bought the Courtyard Cafe and have started some cosmetic changes in order to make a better fun place for all of you to experience,” wrote co-owner Deiler Beltran on Facebook, who operates the rechristened Myth with partners Arthur Volmer, Javier Valdes and Branden Vidal. 2211 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors; 954-563-2499;

The new Gen Korean BBQ in Fort Lauderdale offers an array of grilled meats, veggies and banchan. (David Kim / Courtesy)

David Kim / Courtesy

The new Gen Korean BBQ in Fort Lauderdale offers an array of grilled meats, veggies and banchan. (David Kim / Courtesy)

Gen Korean BBQ House, Fort Lauderdale

The dream to replace Fort Lauderdale’s old Sushi Shack with Korean barbecue on Las Olas Boulevard has finally materialized 3 1/2 years later with this all-you-can-eat spot, which debuted June 10 under owner David Kim. Here are appetizers such as mandu (Korean-style dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables), popcorn chicken, breaded calamari, crispy fish katsu and cheese tonkatsu (a deep-fried cheese pork cutlet). But its main attraction is bottomless feasts. Each dining table is equipped with heating plates where customers cook entrees from pork cheeks and beef tongue to Hawaiian chicken and premium top sirloin. There’s also banchan, side dishes like edamame, housemade kimchi and spicy ssamjang paste. 1301 E. Las Olas Blvd., Bay 150, Fort Lauderdale; 954-271-3343; 

Negroni, Weston

Peruvian and Japanese cuisines collide at this 5,000-square-foot kitchen that debuted in late May at Weston Town Center. It’s the second Florida location for the hip Argentine brand, joining outposts in Midtown Miami, New York and Los Angeles. The centerpiece of Negroni’s 220-seat dining room is a Nikkei-style sushi bar serving ceviche, tiraditos, nigiri and other signature rolls. Meanwhile, the Latin American-Italian-Asian menu includes a sharable parrillada spread of ribeyes, Argentine sausage and beef tenderloin; truffle gnocchi; provoleta (roasted provolone cheese) flambéed with rum and paired with Galician bread; and antipasti, salads, flatbreads, paninis and burgers. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the excitement and anticipation from the local community, and we are thrilled to finally welcome guests to our lively and fun establishment,” founder Pablo Sartori said in a release. And yes, the drink menu also features the restaurant’s namesake aperitif, along with craft cocktails, wines and nonalcoholic spirits. 1744 Main St., Weston; 954-444-0096;

The new Negroni Bistro and Sushi Bar has opened in Weston with Latin, Italian and Japanese fusion dishes. (Negroni Weston / Courtesy)

Negroni Weston / Courtesy

The new Negroni Bistro and Sushi Bar has opened in Weston with Latin, Italian and Japanese fusion dishes. (Negroni Weston/Courtesy)

Capital Tacos, Tamarac

This Tampa-based, Tex-Mex, fast-casual franchise opened its first South Florida location on June 8. Launched in 2013, it has already expanded to eight restaurants in other parts of Florida, with growth into Georgia, North Carolina and Colorado in the works. “We’ve had folks visiting from South Florida for years, asking time and again when they can expect the concept to expand into nearer markets,” says cofounder Josh Luger. “That wait is finally over. We’re very excited and humbled to be opening our first brick-and-mortar location in Tamarac.” The menu spotlights different taco flavors that you can also get as a burrito or bowl. There are also quesadillas, nachos, loaded fries, salads, kids’ meals and desserts such as mini churros and traditional Mexican cheesecake. 5707 N. University Drive, Tamarac; 954-366-1378;


Rara's Pizza in west Boca Raton Florida specializes in Detroit style pizza, baked on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Red top or square pie, better known as Detroit-style pizza, has surged in popularity across South Florida since pandemic lockdowns one year ago. Unlike common New York-style, Detroit-style pizza is rectangular in shape with light, airy focaccia-like dough, a savory, browned cheese perimeter instead of crust and dollops of red sauce on top of the cheese. Detroit-style pizzeria owners say they took advantage of Instagram-driven marketing campaigns and two pandemic-era trends delivery and comfort food in crafting their menus, which has led to monster traffic and sales. Pizzeria owners also admit that customers simply crave an alternative to the thin-crust New York pies that dominate every local pizzeria.

Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Rara’s Pizza and Wings in west Boca Raton served rectangular Detroit-style pies like these before it closed in late May. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Rara’s Pizza and Wings, Boca Raton

Chef-owner Samir Changela’s pandemic-born obsession with Detroit-style pizza — Rara’s — permanently shut in late May in a west Boca Raton strip mall. A social-media post on May 27 reveals little about the closing, with a note that reads, in part: “We extend our deepest thanks to each and every one of you for your unwavering support, loyalty, and hard work.” Changela told the Sun Sentinel in 2021 that Rara’s was sparked by a visit to Detroit’s Buddy’s Pizza with his uncle, a Chrysler executive. That yielded a menu built around 14 Detroit pies made from 36-hour fermented dough, layered with Wisconsin brick cheese and fired in a blue steel pan. “If it’s not a blue steel pan, it’s not real Motor City pizza,” Changela said at the time. The restaurant also offered New York-style pies and garlic rolls. 11419 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton; 561-945-8984

Ta-boo, Palm Beach

Quick: How many South Florida restaurants can you name that were open during World War II and still exist? Now subtract one from that list: An 82-year-old institution in Palm Beach permanently closed on May 29 after an eviction from its perch on Worth Avenue. The restaurant had catered to high society since its outset, including Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy to current Palm Beachers Rod Stewart and James Patterson. Owner Franklyn de Marco, Ta-boo’s steward since 1990, revived the restaurant when it floundered in the 1980s savings-and-loan crisis. Ta-boo served a combination of new- and old-school fare, like baby back riblets, deviled eggs and fennel garlic mussels, as well as cauliflower tabbouleh, spicy pork tacos and short-rib empanadas. A spokesperson for restaurateur Thomas Keller (The Surf Club Restaurant, The French Laundry, Bouchon) told the Sun Sentinel that the renowned chef plans to take over the lease and open a still-unnamed restaurant in its place. 221 Worth Ave., Palm Beach; 561-835-3500;

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