BEST GUIDE: What’s hot on West Palm’s Dixie Dining Corridor?

Move over, Clematis Street. The hottest new thoroughfare near downtown West Palm Beach is South Dixie Highway, from Flamingo Park to just past Antique Row.

This is where a string of chef-driven, indie restaurants have opened in the past three years, adding eclectic notes to the street. They join a few of the city’s iconic restaurants in what is now dubbed the Dixie Dining Corridor.

Here’s a north-to-south guide of The Corridor:

Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)
Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)

TABLE 26

1700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-855-2660

If you wonder why this sophisticated spot has drawn so many regulars to its doors, the answer is simple: They serve simple, delicious food, and they treat you like family.

The power duo behind Table 26, Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros, were pioneers of sorts on The Corridor. They opened the nautically themed place in the summer of 2012 and the valet attendants have been busy ever since.

Best reason to go: The place is lovely. It makes any night feel like a special night on the town.

Coming next year:

Patina – The husband-wife duo behind Kitchen plan an upscale spot serving Greek and Israeli dishes. Expected to open in fall 2017 at 1817 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Paccheri with herb ricotta, Parmesan and "Sunday gravy" with braised pork shoulder, short rib and Italian sausage. (LibbyVision.com)
Grato’s paccheri with ‘Sunday Gravy’ and herb ricotta. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

GRATO

1901 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-404-1334

This local trattoria has earned a following by offering outstanding brick-oven pizza, house-smoked meats and homemade pasta in an accessible setting with just the right amount of vibe. Success is not an alien concept to the powerhouse team behind Grato: Chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Palm Beach partners. In August, Conley brought in a new executive chef, a rising star named Jimmy Strine, former executive sous chef at Café Boulud Palm Beach. Strine has notched up Grato’s smoked-meat game and introduced some exquisite seasonal dishes that showcase his balance of refined and rustic.

Best reason to go: There’s handmade pasta for lunch; a late afternoon drink at the bar can easily segue to dinner; Sunday brunch is sublime.

Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

JEREVE at EmKo

2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511

There’s a restaurant in this hulking structure that presents itself as an artist hub. Restaurant is not the word used here – they call it “culinary studio.” They do serve lunch, dinner and cocktails.

Best reason to go: There’s half-priced wine (by the glass) during social hour, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Chef Matthew Byrne's fave: Kitchen's chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Matthew Byrne’s fave: Kitchen’s chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

KITCHEN

319 Belvedere Rd. (at S. Dixie Hwy), West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281

Chef Matthew Byrne once served as personal chef to golf superstar Tiger Woods. At Kitchen, the restaurant he opened with wife Aliza Byrne in the fall of 2013, he serves as personal chef to a loyal crowd that includes many a visiting celeb. This is how the couple like to describe their intimate and gradually expanding restaurant: It’s like a dinner party.

Best reason to go: Chef Matthew’s simply prepared yet sumptuous dishes.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • City Diner – A retro diner that’s always hopping, at 3400 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6776
Mexican street corn at Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)
Mexican street corn is on the menu at the new Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)

CHOLO SOY COCINA

3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-7018

Chef Clay Carnes ventured east from a spacious Wellington restaurant to open a tiny, neo-Andean spot. He makes his own tortillas and fresh ceviche, and roasts and smokes his own meats. There’s not much seating, but there is a sweet patio out back.

Best reason to go: Those tortillas, they’re made of organic corn grown in Alachua County.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Belle & Maxwell’s – Quaint café that’s popular at lunch, at 3700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-832-4449
  • Rhythm Café – Neighborhood favorite, serves eclectic mix of bites and main plates, at 3800 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-3406
  • Dixie Grill & Bar – Offers large selection of excellent craft beers and pub fare, at 5101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-3189
  • Howley’s – A diner that burns the wee-hour oil (so to speak), serving comfort grub, at 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5691
Buffet at El Unico: Consider it a Latin 'meat + 3.' (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
El Unico’s Buffet: It’s a Latin ‘meat + 3.’ (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

EL UNICO

6108 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-2962

She’s Cuban-American; he’s Dominican. Together, husband-wife duo Monica and Enmanuel Nolasco have created a cozy spot for authentic island cooking and weekend get-downs.

Best reason to go: The lunch buffet is unbeatable. Friday night music and dancing kicks off the weekend with hot rhythms. 

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Marcello’s La Sirena – World-class Italian cuisine, a wine lover’s destination restaurant and multiple winner of Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award, at 6316 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-585-3128
  • Havana – This authentic Cuban restaurant just got an exterior makeover, at 6801 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-9799
  • Don Ramon Restaurante Cubano – Cuban classics served with a smile, at 7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-8704
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

AIOLI

7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741

This daylight spot is no ordinary sandwich shop. Chef Michael Hackman and his wife/partner Melanie approach their menu with fresh, seasonal ingredients and a lot of soul. “We love to make stuff from scratch here,” says Chef Michael, who bakes the shop’s breads daily. He uses the fresh loaves – sourdough, seven grain, semolina, and more – in Aioli’s sandwiches. The shop also sells the loaves retail.

Best reason to go: After your scrumptious lunch, you can take one of Chef Michael’s prepared dinners to go. Multitasking!

Goodbye Grub: Jordan’s Steak Bistro says goodbye in Wellington

Jordan’s Steak Bistro, Wellington’s only independently owned upscale steakhouse, closed Sunday, management announced.

The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan's Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan’s Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

The family-owned restaurant, which opened in March 2013 in a plaza near the Mall at Wellington Green, specialized in hearty steaks cooked in an 1800-degree broiler. The big daddy on the menu: Jordan’s bone-in cowboy steak ($59), weighing from 18 ounces to 2 pounds. A heap of matchstick French fries completed the feast.

Jordan's truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jordan’s truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Jordan’s owners, Jordan and Ivette Naftal, announced the closing in a special email to regular customers:

“Big news. We would like to thank our loyal guests for a wonderful four years!” said the email. “Stay tuned for a future announcement letting you know where we land.”

That “next adventure” could come “very soon,” the owners suggested on the restaurant’s Facebook page last weekend.

Jordan Naftal, a former Baltimore-area restaurateur, opened the steakhouse in the space Pangea had operated.

Jordan Naftal, his wife Ivette, and son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Naftals: Jordan (at right), his wife Ivette, and their son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

On Sunday, the Naftals’ son, Jake Naftal, posted a message of his own on Facebook:

“I have adored being a part of this place, a part of your lives, and a participant in all the splendorous evenings we provided here. I’ve made many friends out of you, and learned so much… We love making food, we love making you smile, and you make us smile, too. See you at the next cookout.”

New restaurant opening in CityPlace: Bowery restaurant and music venue

CityPlace will welcome its fourth new restaurant this year when Bowery Palm Beach makes its debut in the former BB King’s/ Lafayette’s space next week.

Bowery, which combines an upmarket seafood restaurant and live music club, opens Thursday, Dec. 8.

A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette's Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)
A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette’s Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)

The menu describes dishes with some refinement: snapper panzanella (bread salad) with fried capers and tomato confit, black cod served with olive oil poached potatoes and watercress pesto, octopus with Meyer lemon gel and smoked potatoes.

Starters include steamed bao (buns) stuffed with a variety of fillings, including fried gator tail with pickled jalapeño. The dessert menu includes a black sesame ice cream sundae with kiwi, mocha, passion fruit and caramel. Specialty cocktails include the “Bowery Red,” vodka mixed with Giffard grapefruit syrup, Aperol and fresh lime juice.

The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress), is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left is co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)
The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress) is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left, co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)

The Bowery Palm Beach concept includes two parts, the Bowery Coastal restaurant and the Bowery LIVE music venue. It is the brainchild of restaurateurs and reality TV stars Joe Cirigliano and Karena Kefales, whose search for a “dream bar” in St. John’s was featured on HGTV’s “Caribbean Life” property-hunting series last year.

The couple, who went on to appear on other cable reality shows, named the upcoming West Palm Beach restaurant after their home street in New York City.

Cirigliano and Kefales have brought on Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos to design the menu and head the kitchen.

In the kitchen at Bowery PB: Chef Anthony "Theo" Theocaropoulos. (Contributed image)
In the kitchen at Bowery: Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos. (Contributed)

A native New Yorker, Theocaropoulos is a graduate of the now-defunct Lincoln Culinary Institute. His career includes stints at Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori and Mario Batali’s Eataly New York La Pizza & La Pasta.

The chef was the culinary mind behind Cooklyn, the now-closed Prospect Heights restaurant that had served as inspiration for a Palm Beach outpost. That Cooklyn Palm Beach concept, once destined for the 150 Worth shopping plaza, was scrapped.

Bowery Palm Beach will be the fifth restaurant opening at West Palm’s centerpiece dining and entertainment plaza in the past year, following the opening of The Regional Kitchen, City Tap House, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Cabo Flats (which opened in December 2015).

Bowery Palm Beach: 567 Hibiscus St. (CityPlace), West Palm Beach; 561-420-8600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PB Food and Wine Fest: Five big food stars you’ve never heard of

If you watch Food Network competition shows or Bravo’s “Top Chef” series, you’ll recognize a lot of the culinary talent at this year’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which runs from Dec. 8 through 11. There’s Robert Irvine of “Restaurant Impossible” fame. There’s Jeff Mauro of “The Kitchen.” There’s Marc Murphy of “Chopped.”

But some faces are less familiar, except maybe to in-the-know gastronomes. Here are five big food stars you may not know, but should.

George Mendes

Chef George Mendes (center) poses with fellow stars Mike Lata (left) and Daniel Boulud (right). (LILA PHOTO)
Chef George Mendes (center) poses with fellow chefs Mike Lata (left) and Daniel Boulud (right). (LILA PHOTO)

This New York City chef/restaurateur creates dishes that reflect his Portuguese roots. At his restaurant Aldea, Mendes’ refined touch has earned the spot a Michelin star every year since 2010. Last year, he opened Lupulo, a Lisbon-inspired “cervejaria” (brew pub), which houses a daytime takeout window called Bica. Mendes has been a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for “best chefs in America” four times.

Mendes is scheduled to appear at the “Sustain” dinner at PB Catch in Palm Beach on Dec. 8. That event costs $170 per person.

Mike Lata

Charleston star chef Mike Lata. (LILA PHOTO)
Charleston star chef Mike Lata at last year’s festival. (LILA PHOTO)

If you’ve flocked to Charleston for the great foodie scene, you may have dined at one of Lata’s acclaimed restaurants. A pivotal figure in the city’s culinary renaissance, he’s the star chef behind FIG Restaurant and The Ordinary. FIG is a local favorite, serving farm-inspired Lowcountry food. The Ordinary is Lata’s “fancy seafood” spot. Lata is a James Beard Award winner for best chef in the Southeast. He was a nominee for the prestigious award twice before. Most noteworthy perhaps: Lata is a self-taught chef.

Lata will participate in three festival events, a dinner at Buccan Palm Beach, a street food competition at the Four Seasons and a brunch with Daniel Boulud at Café Boulud. All three events are sold out.

Lee Wolen

Michelin man: Chicago chef Lee Wolen. (Contributed by Lee Wolen)
Michelin man: Chicago chef Lee Wolen. (Contributed by Lee Wolen)

Here’s a cook with a dream resume. Wolen has worked in the company of great chefs throughout a career which has taken him into the kitchens of some of the world’s finest restaurants, the legendary, late El Bulli among them.

The Cleveland native polished his craft at Eleven Madison Park, the famed three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant. More recently, in Chicago, Wolen earned a Michelin star at The Lobby at the Peninsula, where he was chef de cuisine. In 2014, he became executive chef/partner of Boka Restaurant in that city, helping the restaurant maintain its prized Michelin star for three years. Last year, the Chicago Tribune named him Chef of the Year.

Wolen will appear at the festival’s “Rise and Dine” breakfast at the Eau Palm Beach Resort on Dec. 10. Tickets are $75 each.

Anita Lo

Anita Lo at Annisa, Greenwich Village. (Contributed by Annisa)
Anita Lo at Annisa, Greenwich Village. (Contributed by Annisa)

She’s the chef and creative mind behind Annisa restaurant in Greenwich Village, where the refined dishes reveal Lo’s Asian roots and high-end French training. (Her miso marinated sable with crispy silken tofu in bonito broth is simply divine.) Lo is a Michigan-raised, first generation Chinese-American who as a college student plunged herself into French food, language and culture. She honed her French culinary techniques in top restaurants in Paris and New York, coming into her own with the opening of Annisa in 2000. Almost instantly, she amassed accolades. Then, 9 years later, a fire destroyed her restaurant. Lo spent a year traveling and rebuilding, reopening Annisa in 2010. As the chef returned with renewed inspiration, the raves returned as well.

Lo is set to appear at the “Sustain” dinner at PB Catch in Palm Beach on Dec. 8. That event costs $170 per person.

Jose Mendin

Rock star in the 305: Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Miami. (Galdones Photography)
Rock star in the 305: Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Miami. (Galdones Photography)

You may know this name if you’re familiar with Miami’s vibe-y dining scene. Mendin is chef and founding partner of the Pubbelly family of hot and happening restaurants, three of them clustered on one South Beach block. As a chef, he fuses global flavors and ideas into “soul” dishes reminiscent of Mendin’s Puerto Rican roots.

Some of this – like the Pubbelly gastro pub cochinillo (sucking pig) with green apples and fennel and chanterelles and soy butter jus – shouldn’t work. But it does. In many ways, Mendin is the chef who best reflects right-now Miami. In the 1980s, that rather fantastic reflection came from the famed Mango Gang of award-winning chefs. Today, it’s Mendin and his “Pubbelly boys” who translate the 305 dialects most exquisitely onto the plate.

Mendin is appearing at the festival’s “Rise and Dine” breakfast at the Eau Palm Beach Resort on Dec. 10. Tickets are $75 each.

 

On 10th year, 10 reasons to toast the PB Food and Wine Fest

It’s a gem of a little food fest, one that doesn’t subject its guests to hordes or parking nightmares. There are many reasons to celebrate the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival any year, but as the fest turns 10 next month – it runs from Dec. 8 through 11 – here are 10 reasons to raise a glass this year.

It’s an intimate affair.

At the fest, a civilized toast is possible. (LILA PHOTO)
At the fest, a civilized toast is possible. (LILA PHOTO)

As food festivals go, this one works hard to maintain a level of intimacy. Granted, chances are there will be human traffic jams during parts of the fest’s Grand Tasting finale at The Gardens Mall. But that’s one event – and still it’s a fun one. For the most part, the festival’s dinners and tastings are easy to navigate. That’s because the organizers don’t overbook events. This means fest-goers get the civilized, top-notch experiences they expected when they purchased their tickets.

Can’t beat the backdrop.

Yep. December in Palm Beach. (LILA PHOTO)
Yep. December in Palm Beach. (LILA PHOTO)

Palm trees? Check. Crashing waves? Check. The Breakers’ grand, Italian Renaissance archways and loggias? Check.

The setting for festival events is pretty spectacular. It’s December in Palm Beach – any wonder why the festival lures some big names? And in the past few years, the fest has expanded its reach into the mainland, into West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. This year, two of West Palm’s hottest restaurants (Avocado Grill and The Regional) will host festival events. While these may not be oceanfront spots, they possess the funk factor that many food enthusiasts seek in the county’s fastest rising dining destination. 

Southern food goals are strong.

The Regional Kitchen hosts Southern food stars. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Regional Kitchen hosts Southern food stars. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

This year the festival revels in the region by hosting a “Southern Revival” lunch at The Regional Kitchen. The months-old, CityPlace restaurant is where Chef Lindsay Autry gives her native Southern cuisine a global spin. The farmhouse-inspired restaurant, appointed with mementos of Autry’s North Carolina roots, provides an ideal setting for a meal created by a cast of Southern food stars. Joining Autry in the kitchen will be her acclaimed mentor Michelle Bernstein (Crumb on Parchment, Miami), James Beard Award-winning chef Stephen Stryjewski (Cochon and Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans) and Southern chef/author Virginia Willis. No surprise: The event is sold out.

There’s an all-out veggie feast this year.

Amanda Cohen, of New York's Dirt Candy. (Cox Newspapers file)
Amanda Cohen, of New York’s Dirt Candy. (Cox Newspapers file)

The festival’s “Rustic Root” dinner will bring some top food stars to Chef Julien Gremaud’s popular Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach. Among them is Amanda Cohen, the pioneering chef/owner of Dirt Candy, a New York hotspot serving plant-based cuisine. Cohen, dubbed the “Veggie Czarina” by Haute Living magazine, will be joined by award-winning chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Dean James Max.

This five-course dinner with wine pairings and open bar costs $150 per person. Tickets were still available at press time.

The best of culinary Miami comes to town.

Rock star in the 305: Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Miami. (Galdones Photography)
Chef Jose Mendin of Miami’s Pubbelly restaurant group. (Galdones Photography)

That chaotic metropolis to our south may have some mighty fine cuisine, but one has to brave gridlock traffic and ridiculous parking situations to enjoy it. For a few years now, the festival has been luring some of Miami’s best and brightest. This year, the 305 delegation is simply outstanding. Coming to the fest:

  • Chef/ restaurateur Jose Mendin, whose Pubbelly group of restaurants mirrors Miami’s vibrancy and cultural depth. In many ways, he’s the chef who best reflects his city right now.
  • Timon Balloo, the innovative executive chef/partner at Midtown’s Sugarcane restaurant.
  • Chef/restaurateur Richard Hales, who brought new Asian flavors to Miami with his Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick Chinese restaurants.
  • Chef/restaurateur Giorgio Rapicavoli, who turned a vibe-y pop-up into one of Coral Gables’ hottest restaurants, Eating House. More recently, he opened Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove’s iconic Peacock Park.

Palm Beach Grill opens for lunch.

Hillstone haute: Palm Beach Grill. (Palm Beach Post file)
Hillstone haute: Palm Beach Grill. (Palm Beach Post file)

The festival features “Lunch at The Grill” on Saturday, Dec. 10. This is kind of a big deal. Not only is the Palm Beach Grill a tough reservation to score, the place doesn’t serve lunch. The New American-style restaurant may be part of a national chain (Hillstone), but it’s one of the buzziest spots on the island. No surprise there. Hillstone, after all, was named “America’s Favorite Restaurant” this year by Bon Appetit magazine.

“It’s never going to win a James Beard Award. Or try to wow you with its foam experiments or ingredients you’ve never heard of. But it is the best-run, most-loved, relentlessly respected restaurant in America,” went the intro to the March story.

Tickets to the lunch were still available at press time – 99 bucks gets you a seat at lunch. No famous chefs. But you get four courses with wine pairings and open bar.

It loves a good love story.

Chef Lindsay Autry married festival director David Sabin in June. (Kristy Roderick Photography)
Chef Lindsay Autry married festival director David Sabin in June. (Kristy Roderick Photography)

The festival’s “Chef Welcome Party” was the setting of one noteworthy marriage proposal two years ago. In a quiet, oceanfront spot away from the party crowd, festival director David Sabin dropped to one knee and proposed to Chef Lindsay Autry, his longtime girlfriend. The party morphed into an unofficial engagement bash. Earlier this year, Sabin and Autry had a destination wedding in one of America’s hottest food cities: They were married June 4th in Charleston, SC.

There’s a party in the ‘burbs.

Star chef selfie: (from right) Johnny Iuzzini, Robert Irvine and Marc Murphy, at The Gardens Mall. (LILA PHOTO)
Star chef selfie: (from right) Johnny Iuzzini, Robert Irvine and Marc Murphy, at The Gardens Mall. (LILA PHOTO)

The festival’s grand finale event, the 10th Annual Grand Tasting, happens at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens for the second year in a row. For eight years, the tasting event packed both floors of Palm Beach’s 150 Worth shopping complex. By moving the event to the more spacious Gardens Mall, the festival tapped into an important dining market: north county.

The cachet mingles with the commercial.

The fest brings together TV star chefs and Michelin starred chefs. (LILA PHOTO)
The fest brings together TV star chefs and Michelin starred chefs. (LILA PHOTO)

In the mix of personalities, fest-goers will find familiar faces from Food Network, James Beard Award winners and the occasional Michelin star-decorated. Take Chicago chef Lee Wolen. He’s worked at a succession of Michelin-starred restaurants, first at New York’s venerable Eleven Madison Park, then at Chicago’s Lobby at The Peninsula, where he earned a Michelin star, and most recently at Chicago’s Boka Restaurant, which has won stars three years in a row. He’ll be cooking breakfast at the Eau Dec. 10 with James Beard semifinalists Mendin and Rapicavoli from Miami. That morning, over at the Four Seasons Resort, fest-goers can mingle with Food Network stars Robert Irvine, Marc Murphy, Jeff Mauro and Travel Channel host Adam Richman at the day’s events there.

Tickets were still available for that Eau Resort breakfast. They cost $75 per person.

It’s not South Beach.

SoBe's Grand Tasting Village gets swarmed. (Palm Beach Post file)
SoBe’s Grand Tasting Village gets swarmed. (Palm Beach Post file)

Nothing against that big, bodacious fest to our south. In fact, that fest is like 20 festivals in one. It puts on more events in a day than Palm Beach puts on in its entire four-day duration. But Palm Beach has little interest in becoming South Beach, fest-wise – and that’s a good thing. The 561 festival is manageable and offers a sense of intimacy. A food enthusiast can have a proper conversation with a visiting chef. Eight of the 14 events are sit-down meals. The vibe is more lively dinner party than packed disco.

How to get ‘happy’ during election day in Palm Beach County

By Julio Poletti – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

This has been the longest presidential battle in history. Not literally, but it sure feels like it. Whether you’re pumped for the election or sick and tired of the gossip and Facebook arguments, one thing is for sure: People will be glued to their TVs today, Nov. 8, to see who becomes the next President of the United States.

» RELATED: Live reports from Palm Beach County polls on Election Day

If you’re not into watching the election results alone, drinking alone or both, we’ve put together a list of places in Palm Beach County where the happy hours are too sweet to be beat. Check ’em out:


Harbourside, Jupiter

The Woods

The bar area at The Woods Jupiter at Harbourside in Jupiter Monday, August 10, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
The bar area at The Woods Jupiter at Harbourside in Jupiter Monday, August 10, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close | $8 Appetizers and cocktails | $7 Wines 

Two Words: Tiger Woods. This waterfront steakhouse/sports bar is top notch when it comes to quality and service, just like its owner. The relaxed, sports bar vibe totally works and is ideal watching the election feeds. Our food editor Liz Balsameda recommends the bone-in pork chop and prime burger.

The burger patty flavored with bacon and onions, has to be good.

» RELATED: Dining Guide to Harbourside

Address: 129 Soundings Ave, Jupiter, FL 33477
Contact: 561-320-9627

Calaveras Cantina

Calaveras Cantina at Harbourside Place in Jupiter on September 20, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Calaveras Cantina at Harbourside Place in Jupiter on September 20, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 4 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close | $2 Tacos! | $8+ Appetizers

Love it or hate it, Mexican food is here to stay. This vibrant, Hipster spin on Mexican cuisine has one of the best taco specials in the county and serves freshly made churros with cajeta (Mexican caramel). Viva Mexico!

» RELATED: “Eat the Boulevard: The PGA Dining Guide”

Address: 125 Dockside Circle, Jupiter, FL 33477
Contact: 561-320-9661


Palm Beach Gardens

The Cooper

The Cooper Bar (Thecooperrestaurant.com/ Gallery)
The Cooper Bar (thecooperrestaurant.com/ Gallery)

Happy Hour: Bar and high-tops both inside and outside between 3 p.m. and 6:00 p.m & 9 p.m. to close | $6 Cocktails | $5 Wine by the glass

For Election day only: Triple the points on lunch and dinner for Cooper club members.

Talk about sophistication. Every plate’s picture looks ridiculously stunning and delicious. This American brasserie promises to make you love in fall with the place as soon as you look at the menu. From charcuterie to cheese boards, yummy bar snacks, dining, cocktails and brunch, you’ll want to try it all.

Address: 4610 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Contact:  561-622-0032

Spoto’s Oyster Bar

Blue Point oysters are served at Spoto's Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens. (Palm Beach Post file photo)
Blue Point oysters are served at Spoto’s Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

Happy Hour: 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | $3.50 House Wine | $4 Cocktails | $5 > Appetizers

Enjoy seafood classics such as oysters, shrimp cocktails, clam chowder and lobster risottos all in one place. This seafood heaven also offers a wide variety of appetizers all under $5. Our Food Editor’s pick is the Key Lime Pie.

Address: 4560 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Contact: 561-776-9448


Clematis & CityPlace, West Palm Beach

Maurice and Rachel Costigan enjoy a couple of pints of their new 20th Anniversary Stout at O'Shea's in downtown West Palm Beach on September 17, 2014. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)
Maurice and Rachel Costigan enjoy a couple of pints of their new 20th Anniversary Stout at O’Shea’s in downtown West Palm Beach on September 17, 2014. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

O’Shea’s Pub

Happy Hour: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. drink specials and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. food specials | $5 Captain Morgan
$3 Domestic beer | $4 Imports | $4 All appetizers 

O’Shea’s Pub could pretty much be West Palm’s landmark. This Irish restaurant has been serving the community for the past 21 years. It claims to have only the best traditions and recipes from Ireland.

Address: 531 Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Contact: 561-833-3865

Copper Blues

The main bar and tap lines at Copper Blues inside Cityplace in West Palm Beach on July 25, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The main bar and tap lines at Copper Blues inside Cityplace in West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Happy Hour: 3 to 7 p.m. | $30% off most liquor and food | $4 house wine

Executive Chef Chris McKinley prepares all the meals daily, from bar food to his own unique creations. Just ask him what you want, and expect nothing but the best.

Duffy’s Sports Grill

Jets fan Jamie Frye (R) of West Palm Beach celebrates after the Jets deny the Dolphins a fourth quarter touchdown during an early game in London Sunday morning, October 4, 2015, while Dolphins fan Jason Young (L) and his mother Lisa (C) of West Palm Beach show frustration inside Duffy's Sports Grill on Okeechobee Blvd. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)
Frustration inside Duffy’s Sports Grill on Okeechobee Blvd. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: All day | All Drinks: 2 for 1.

You can’t go wrong with Duffy’s. If you haven’t been here before, get ready. This place gets crowded, loud and filled with fanatics. If you like fun places, this is it. But if you’re actually trying to listen to election updates on TV as they come, this might not be the place for you. Then again, it is on a Tuesday night so it might not be as busy. Your call.

Address: 225 Clematis St. West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Contact: (561) 249-1682

City Tap House

A view of the outdoor bar at City Tap House at CityPlace in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by City Tap)
A view of the outdoor bar at City Tap House at CityPlace in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by City Tap)

Happy hour: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. | $1 Oysters | $3 Domestic Drafts | $4 Select Craft Drafts | $7+ Small plates

This place looks great on the inside and the outside. As you can see, they have many items on happy hour on Tuesday, November 8th. $1 Oysters, seriously? This American restaurant offers anything from bar food to seafood, salads and a wide variety of gluten-free options. Check out our review: City Tap House brings eclectic beers and eats to CityPlace

Address: 700 S Rosemary Ave West Palm Beach, FL 33401 (City Place)
Contact: 561508.8525

Downtown Lake Worth

Dave’s Last Resort on Lake

112611 (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) - LAKE WORTH -Visitors to downtown Lake Worth sit on the sidewalk at Dave's Last Resort on Small Business Saturday.
LAKE WORTH -Visitors to downtown Lake Worth sit on the sidewalk at Dave’s Last Resort (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) –

Happy Hour: 2 to 7 p.m. – $3 Domestic beers, house wine & well drinks. | $0.99 Oysters/each, one-dozen minimum order  |  $0.89 wings/each, 10 wings minimum order

If you like options, this is the place for you. Their menu is immense with all kinds of foods, desserts, beverages and cocktails. Their deals? ridiculous —a must visit.

Address: 632 Lake Ave. Lake Worth, Fl. 33460
Contact: 561-588-5208

 Rhum Shak

Patrons enjoy the bar at the Rhum Shak on April 3, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Patrons enjoy the bar at the Rhum Shak on April 3, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: Drinks 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Food 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $1.00 off import bottles and craft beers | $2.50 wells, domestic bottles and drafts | $2.00 of all other alcohols and specialty drinks | $10.95 Dinner Special: 2 lbs full rack baby back with side.

This friendly sports bar has so many TV screens that at least one of them is bound to broadcast the elections. If you’d rather watch something else, you can do that too. Facebook reviews gives it a a 4.6/5 stars on Facebook.

Address: 802 Lake Ave, Lake Worth, FL 33460
Contact: (561) 755-7486

Atlantic Avenue, Delray

Salt Water Brewery

Co-owner Peter Agardy, left, stands with brewmaster Bill Taylor inside the SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach on July 29, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Co-owner Peter Agardy, left, stands with brewmaster Bill Taylor inside the SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach on July 29, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 12 to 6 p.m. | $4 Drinks (excluding special releases) | 25% Off growlers’ beer refills

There’s a certain vibe when you go to a brewery. Nothing is more refreshing than sipping on some good beer and talking smack with your buddies. Breweries are a lifestyle — a lot different than going to a sports bar. You can either buy your growler or bring your own; they’ll still refill you with 25% off.

Related: Delray brewery crates eco-friendly, edible six pack beer rings

Address: 1701 W Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, Florida
Contact: 561-865-5373

Brule Bistro

Jason Binder, 30, chef de Cuisine at Brule Bistro, Tuesday Oct. 27, 2015, in Delray Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Jason Binder, 30, chef de Cuisine at Brule Bistro, Tuesday Oct. 27, 2015, in Delray Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 3 to 6 p.m. | $4 Spirits and Wine | $3.50 Draft | $5 Fried pork cheek pizza and other appetizers under $10

This French-American restaurant has a very industrial yet classic feel. It’s not too dark, not too bright. The bartenders are friendly, and the Moscow mule is so strong, you’ll be done after one. The food is good, from small European-style tapas to more Americanized dishes. There’s also the chef’s local market menu.

Address: 200 NE 2nd Ave Delray Beach, FL 33444
Contact: 561-274-2046

Diner en Blanc: what to pack in your picnic basket?

You may not know the location of Diner en Blanc yet, but you’ve got your snazzy white outfit and “tablescape” planned for Friday night’s big outdoor feast, to be held somewhere in West Palm Beach.

But here’s the question: What kind of food does one pack for an event that’s part pop-up dinner, part synchronized picnic?

Matthew Levi, right, of West Palm Beach, smiles with family and friends after helping decorate during Le Diner en Blanc in downtown West Palm Beach on November 10, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Matthew Levi, right, of West Palm Beach, smiles with family and friends after helping decorate during the 2015 Diner en Blanc in downtown West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

We attended last year’s secret, massive affair and have few tips to share on the topic.

READ: Nine things to know about Diner en Blanc

First, keep in mind this is an outdoor event, which means it’s vulnerable to the elements. Second, keep in mind you may have to lug your supplies for many yards.

With those two things in mind, here are five ideas on what to tuck into those picnic totes:

1. Cold or room temperature and crispy is fine: think crisp veggies, good crackers, breadsticks, even room-temp fried chicken. Hot and crispy, not so much. Your crispy duck might not survive the schlep, neither will your warm, toasty garlic bread.

2. You can’t go wrong with fancy charcuterie.

A charcuterie and cheese board is as fancy as its components. (Cox Newspapers)
A charcuterie board is as fancy as its components. (Cox Newspapers)

Here’s how: Pack great cheeses – oozy ones, sharp ones, aged ones, even beautifully stinky ones. Tuck in some fine Spanish ham, Italian salumi, hot mustard, elegant jams or honey. Add baggies of fresh fruit and nuts. After you set up your table, you can arrange them on a nice platter with those crispy crackers or hearty bread.

3. Whip up some sophisticated chilled soup, like Chef Michelle Bernstein’s White Gazpacho.

Michelle Bernstein's White Gazpacho is luxury in a shot glass. (Palm Beach Post file photo)
White Gazpacho is luxury in a shot glass. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

Here’s how to make it: In a high-speed blender, add 1 ½ cup Marcona almonds, ½ teaspoon fresh garlic, ½ tablespoon peeled shallot, 2 cups of peeled and chopped English cucumbers, 2 cups seedless green grapes, 1 tablespoon fresh dish and 1 ½ cups cold veggie broth. Puree until very smooth. With blender running, add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons dry sherry wine. Slowly drizzle in ½ cup quality extra-virgin olive oil. Blend for at least 4 to 5 minutes, until velvety smooth. Chill until ready to sip. Garnish with sliced grapes, crushed almonds and dill. (Recipe serves 4.)

4. Rice salads (or other grain salads) served room temperature can be luxurious.

Fancy grain salad: black rice with roasted squash. (Cox Newspapers)
Fancy grain salad: black rice with roasted squash. (Cox Newspapers)

Here’s a variation: Make a pot of your favorite rice. Separately, sauté onions, garlic and celery in olive oil until just tender, adding a sprinkling of curry powder or ground turmeric and ginger. Add the rice to the sauté by the spoonful, tossing to coat the rice in the aromatics. Add a handful of frozen peas and stir. Shut off heat and allow mixture to sit until the peas are tender. When cool, add your choice of raw, chopped veggies, like diced zucchini, seeded tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs. You’ll have a mix of textures and flavors in one hearty bowl.  If you prefer a hot meal, pack soups, stews or chili in Thermoses.

5. The takeout option: Order dinner from your favorite West Palm restaurant and pick it up before you get to the meet-up location. Once the location is announced Friday afternoon, you may have a better idea of nearby restaurants. You’ll only have to bring your dinnerware and table setting.

Fancy dinnerware spotted at the 2015 Diner en Blanc. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Fancy dinnerware spotted at the 2015 Diner en Blanc. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

It may sound like a mission – and it can be, depending on how you take on the night. But relax. It’s a party. It’s a picnic. Pack what you love to eat in your fancy duds. If that means Fritos in a martini glass, rock on!

9 things to know about the secret dinner tonight in West Palm Beach

Part pop-up dinner, part synchronized picnic, Paris’ Diner en Blanc is headed to West Palm Beach — and it’s a massive undertaking.

Dubbed “World’s Largest Dinner Party,” the famously secret dinner is happening Friday, Nov. 4 at an undisclosed West Palm venue.

photo diner en blanc
Samantha Bense, right, of Palm Beach, arranges flowers at her table during Le Diner en Blanc in downtown West Palm Beach on November 10, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Here are 9 things to know about the secret dinner that’s a cult favorite across the globe:

ONE: The location is a secret

The dinner location is not revealed until moments before the event starts. Guests are transported by charter or public shuttle to the event site. Each table has a leader who assigns seating arrangements.

TWO: You must wear white

Yes, even after Labor Day (not that Floridians should care about such things). This alfresco dinner is less about food than it is about aesthetic impact on a public space. As a Diner en Blanc guest, you are part of a grand, moving and breathing art installation, one where order and a sense of style and symmetry are important. A signature part of the choreography: Once all tables are set up and seats taken, guests swirl their crisp, white napkins in the air to signal the start of the meal.

RELATED: Check out the photos from West Palm’s Diner en Blanc 2015

THREE: Your table must wear white

You must bring a nice, white tablecloth to cover your table. The table itself does not have to be white, but it does have to be square, foldable and easy to carry, as you will be toting it across the public space to your designated spot. Tables must measure between 28-inch by 28-inch and 32-inch by 32-inch. Dining chairs must be white as well.

photo diner en blanc
Examples of table settings for Diner en Blanc WPB were on display at a pre-event party at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Tuesday, October 20, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

FOUR: Bring a well-stocked basket

For the table, the Diner en Blanc International website asks you to bring a picnic basket filled with “quality menu items and china dinner service” and “proper stemware and flatware.” Translation: no plastic or paper goods. (Food can be ordered from an official online shop before the event for delivery during the dinner.)

FIVE: Leave the booze at home

Wine is available for purchase from Diner en Blanc’s official online shop. You pick up the wine when you arrive at the secret location.

SIX: You must bring a date

Registration is taken for two people at a time. But as the Diner en Blanc site points out, your date can be a friend, a partner, a relative, a spouse, or “even a blind date.” The event seats men on one side of the table, facing the women, who are seated on the other side of the table. “Same-sex couples are not requested to follow this guideline,” says the website, which explains the gender lineup this way: “Le Diner en Blanc is a highly photogenic event. Color, style, but also the symmetry of men and women are important components of (the) aesthetics.”

Participants have a seat at their decorated tables during Le Diner en Blanc in downtown West Palm Beach on November 10, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Participants have a seat at their decorated tables during Le Diner en Blanc in downtown West Palm Beach on November 10, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

SEVEN: Ladies get a better view

This is thanks to the event’s orchestrated seating. “There is always a guest perspective which is more pleasing to the eye than the other. This first perspective is always given to women,” according to the website.

EIGHT: Once you confirm, you must attend

Or prepare to be blacklisted by the white party. “Once confirmed, the presence of each guest thus becomes essential and mandatory, whatever happens and regardless of weather conditions,” state the event rules. Speaking of weather conditions, guests should prepare for rain by bringing a white raincoat or a transparent poncho, or a white or clear umbrella. Diner en Blanc does not look kindly upon guests who are spooked by the weather. Those deterred by “ominous clouds” won’t be invited to future events and their names and email addresses will be placed on a black list that bars them from registering again.

NINE: Diner en Blanc has humble beginnings

In 1988 Frenchman Francois Pasquier organized a casual dinner party to reconnect with old friends after having spent several years abroad. But his home garden could not accommodate all who wanted to attend, so he asked friends to gather at the Bois de Boulogne park in Paris, and he asked them to wear white (so he could find them). “Bring a meal, and bring a new friend,” was his request that year, according to the event’s website. The concept endured and evolved into what Diner en Blanc is today. It has been replicated in some 60 countries.

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

FBTeasePinaColada

Feast on five of our favorite juicy local sandwiches

Today we talk about the infinite possibility of fillings than can be stacked between two slices of bread, tucked into a bun, celebrated for its majesty. Today is the day for exploring the contrast of flavors and textures, and the way the fillings in a Vietnamese banh mi teach a baguette how to be spicy, crunchy and rich all at once. Today is for marveling at how a Cuban sandwich made miles away, in Tampa, could possess a certain smoky-spicy layer, thanks to Genoa salami.

We present five of our favorite local and more unique sammies:

The Jibarito

Behold the Jibarito. And, yes, those are tostones in place of bread. (Photo: Samantha Ragland)
Behold the Jibarito. And, yes, those are tostones in place of bread. (Photo: Samantha Ragland)

This is where paleo meets Puerto Rico: a sandwich that swaps out the bread and swaps in two enormous, smashed and crispy-fried green plantains. Tucked between those tostones is a choice of steak or chicken, crisp lettuce, tomato and mayo. It’s a regal idea rooted in peasant life. The name of the sandwich is derived from the word jíbaro, which in Puerto Rico means humble dweller of the countryside. It costs $8.95 and it’s served at Don Café restaurant, 136 N. Military Tr., West Palm Beach; 561-684-0074.

The Gordo Burger

A gordo burger prepared at La Perrada del Gordo. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
A gordo burger prepared at La Perrada del Gordo. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

This Colombian-style colossus is more super-sandwich than burger. It starts with a beef or chicken patty, then layers on the sauces: garlic sauce, pink sauce, pineapple sauce and a Colombian fast-food classic called “showy” sauce, plus ketchup and mustard. Stack some tomato slices, bacon, cheese and a crush of potato chips and you’ve got the Gordo.  It costs $6.75 and it’s offered at La Perrada del Gordo, 2650 S. Military Tr., West Palm Beach; 561-968-6978.

The Chimichurri

El Unico's juicy version of the Dominican "Chimi." (Photo: El Unico)
El Unico’s juicy version of the Dominican “Chimi.” (Photo: El Unico)

Not to be confused with the garlicky Argentinian or Uruguayan sauce. This sandwich hails from the Caribbean. You can call it a Dominican beef sandwich, but that doesn’t begin to do it justice. It starts with toasty bread, then it’s stuffed with either thin-sliced beef or a hand-patted beef patty, sautéed onions and cabbage slaw. The “Chimi” is dressed with a proprietary, mayo-based sauce and sold for $7.95 at El Unico restaurant, 6108 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-2962.

The Hullabaloo BLT

All hail Hullabaloo's BLT sandwich. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
All hail Hullabaloo’s BLT sandwich. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

This is not your boring, room-service BLT. Chef Fritz Cassel has created a shrine to the BLT concept: It starts with challah bread, then stacks on some thick, house-smoked pork belly, heirloom tomato and arugula and adds a smear of red pepper aioli. It’s served at lunchtime for $11 at Hullabaloo, 517 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-833-1033.

TocToc’s Pork Arepa Sandwich

TocToc's pork-stuffed arepa sandwich. (Contributed by TocToc)
TocToc’s pork-stuffed arepa sandwich. (Contributed by TocToc)

Here’s a guilty pleasure worth diving into at the Saturday West Palm Beach GreenMarket: a Venezuelan/Colombian corncake (arepa) stuffed with shredded pork and a big, juicy tomato slice. You can find this sandwich at the TocToc Arepas booth. Yes, it’s a simple pleasure, but it’s one that resonates with flavor contrasts – the sweet arepa, the rich pork, the fresh tomato. It’s sold by TocToc for $7.50 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the GreenMarket on the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront (eastern end of Clematis Street).

 

First look: New restaurant Newk’s Eatery hits the spot

Each time I passed the prime, long-vacant space at Legacy Place, I would remember a horrible cup of coffee. It was served a decade ago at a café long gone from there. And it was served with a bad attitude.

What a waste of space, I’d think each time I passed the spot. Here’s a lovely, fountain-side space in a busy plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, and it’s empty.

Thanks to Newk’s Eatery, which moved in earlier this month, the space is empty no more. More importantly, it’s well occupied.

Legacy Place: Newk's first southeast Florida location. (Contributed by Newk's)
Legacy Place: Newk’s first SE Florida location. (Contributed by Newk’s)

Newk’s is no fancy joint. It’s a fast-casual chain restaurant, the first of 10 planned locations for southeast Florida. It was brought to the shopping and dining plaza by the local family behind eight Five Guys locations in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

The place offers hearty, generously portioned soups, toasted sandwiches, interesting salads and personal-size pizzas. Just as importantly, it offers excellent service.

Toasty edges: Newk's pepperoni pizza. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Newk’s pepperoni pizza. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

I dropped in for a quick, late lunch recently and enjoyed a bowl of Newk’s Loaded Potato soup (large, 16-ounce, $6.99), a special served on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I was not disappointed: creamy, lots of flavor, smoky bacon hints, filling. The soups, which are rotated daily in selection, are offered in 8-ounce, 16-ounce, and 32-ounce servings. The 16-ounce proved to be entrée sized.

I found the perfect soup accompaniment on Newk’s large round condiment table: thin, Italian-style breadsticks.

Hits the spot: a large (16-ounce) potato soup. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Hits the spot: a large potato soup. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

Days later, we returned to sample other items. Newk’s Club ($8.19), a pretty straightforward rendition of the classic, was stacked with smoked ham, (nitrate-free) turkey, Swiss cheese, thick-cut bacon, romaine and sliced tomato on Newk’s lightly toasted “French Parisian” baguette. As a side, we chose a pimento and bacon mac-and-cheese ($3.79 as a side) – it was tasty, though a touch oily.

Newk's club sandwich is served on a toasted baguette. (Contributed by Newk's)
The club sandwich is served on a toasted baguette. (Contributed by Newk’s)

A half-order of Caesar salad ($4.49) was quite delicious, a toss of fresh romaine with plenty of garlicky dressing, shredded Parmesan and buttered croutons.

We also tried Newk’s pepperoni pizza ($8.19), a 10-inch pie topped with pepperoni, thinly sliced Roma tomatoes, shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses and fresh basil. The toppings proved quite delicious, but the crust didn’t hold up. While crispy around the edges, the crust sagged in the pie’s middle, forcing us to use a fork and knife.

Well dressed: half Caesar salad at Newk's. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Well dressed: Newk’s half Caesar. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

For the sipping, there are plenty of fountain drinks and a small selection of beers, which include Der Chancellor, locally brewed by Tequesta Brewing Company. (Wine is not offered.)

Newk’s is an ideal stop for a filling lunch or casual, fuss free dinner. No item is priced higher than $13. (There’s a kids’ menu priced between $3.75 and $5.50.)

And, yes, there’s coffee. But this one is served with a smile.

Newk’s Eatery: at Legacy Place, 11345 Legacy Ave., #100, Palm Beach Gardens; 561-626-3957; Newks.com

Hours: Open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.