Openings: The Regional debuts at CityPlace sooner than you think

Top Chef: Lindsay Autry in The Regional's main dining room. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Top Chef: Lindsay Autry brings Southern soul to The Regional. (Bruce R. Bennett/ Palm Beach Post)

After spending nearly two years vacant, the cavernous CityPlace restaurant space is filled with the buttery aromas of baking Parker House rolls, freshly made, fruit-filled hand pies and home-baked club crackers.

The scents now wafting from The Regional Kitchen & Public House are evidence executive chef Lindsay Autry and her team are finessing details for next week’s debut.

The Regional is slated to open to the public for dinner service on Saturday Sept. 10. Several friends-and-family meals are planned for earlier in the week, followed by an invitation-only “housewarming” party on Friday, Sept. 9.

Hot stuff: The Regional's Parker House Rolls with seasonal butter, by pastry chef Sarah Sipe. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Hot stuff: Parker House Rolls with seasonal butter. (Bruce R. Bennett / Palm Beach Post)

The heavy lifting – the renovation, the décor, the principal staffing, even the arrival of 4000 premium wines in four shipments – is finished. Restaurateur Thierry Beaud (Pistache, PB Catch) and managing partner Autry have breathed warmth and light into the 10,000-square-foot space once occupied by Pampas Grille, which closed in October 2014. (Other previous inhabitants include McCormick & Schmick’s and Columbia Restaurant.)

Beaud’s TITOU restaurant group created cozy, manageable dining and drinking areas and a separate, funky bar/ lounge that can close itself off to the larger restaurant and party on its own. Even the hostess stand is unique — it doubles as a concierge desk, where diners can learn about local shows, shopping and other events.

The full reveal is a concept that’s driven by copious amounts of Southern soul.

To that point: The place will offer tableside pimento cheese with a variety of mix-ins. (And, yes, it involves Duke’s mayonnaise and homemade hot sauce.)

Executive Chef Lindsay Autry revs up the table-side pimento cheese. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Pimento cheese, please: It’s made table-side at The Regional. (Bruce R. Bennett / Palm Beach Post)

The menu alone is more than an eclectic listing of tempting dishes. It’s the abbreviated autobiography of a young, rising chef coming into her own.

“I’ve had a lot of time to write a million menus and scratch them all up. But what I feel really good about is that this menu is kind of an expression of all of my experiences as a chef,” says Autry, a Bravo “Top Chef” alum well known to South Florida dining enthusiasts. “I feel the menu is a true expression of me, not only as a chef but of me as a person.”

Pimento cheese, please: It's prepared table-side at The Regional. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Pimento cheese, with mix-ins.

Up to now, we’ve seen glimmers of this chef as she’s led other kitchens (Sundy House, Michelle Bernstein at The Omphoy) and headlined local culinary pop-ups and festivals. But this menu promises something greater: the work of a cook who syncs her chef-fy skills with her Southern heart.

The menu pays tribute to North Carolina-born Autry’s Southern roots, Mediterranean influences (from her Greek grandmother), and cooking experiences in South Florida and Mexico.

Such a mashup inspires menu items like Country Ham Carpaccio with cornbread sticks, apple slaw, clothbound cheddar and pepper jelly, and Roasted Bone Marrow with pickled shallots and crispy onions, and sweet-tea brined Fried Chicken Thighs with bread and butter pickles, and Grilled Snapper in Banana Leaf with green tomato salsa verde, and Red Wattle Pork Shank with creamed hominy and braised greens.

The Regional's bar and lounge is dubbed the Public House. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
The Regional’s bar and lounge is dubbed the Public House. (Bruce R. Bennett / Palm Beach Post)

As the menu suggests, The Regional incorporates fine dining elements without being stuffy or overly precious. Autry says this is her preferred balance in cooking.

“Most of my experience has been fine dining, and I still like fancy and pretty things, and I like being a chef and taking my time to cure things and cook for days, but I want food to be approachable,” says Autry. “And what I love is taking nostalgic things, like pimento cheese for instance, and taking my experience as a chef and making that even better.”

THE REGIONAL KITCHEN & PUBLIC HOUSE

651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-557-6460; EatRegional.com

Food Network star Guy Fieri visits MEAT Eatery’s sister location

Chef George Patti sears MEAT logo into a bun. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Chef George Patti sears the MEAT logo into a bun. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: MEAT Eatery co-owner George Patti has clarified that Fieri visited the burger joint’s Islamorada location, not Boca Raton, as he suggested in an interview. The updated version is below:

Food Network’s Guy Fieri drove his red 1968 Camaro convertible to Islamorada to visit MEAT Eatery & Taproom, which has a sister eatery in Boca Raton.

Fieri’s December visit to MEAT airs at 10 p.m. tonight on his Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” A viewing party is planned at MEAT’s Boca Raton location.

MEAT Eatery is hosting a "Triple D" viewing party tonight at the Boca burger joint. (Contributed)
MEAT Eatery is hosting a “Triple D” viewing party tonight at the Boca burger joint. (Contributed)

MEAT’s chef and co-owner George Patti tells us he griddled up one of his famous Juicy Lucy burgers for Fieri, plus a heap of other bites.

“We did smoked wings, chipotle-honey barbecue sauce, house-made pork rinds — we went through the whole pork rind process for him. We did house-made Worcestershire and chimichurri aioli,” says Patti.

The jovial, camera-ready chef took his share of ribbing from Fieri.

“He was funny. He kept breaking my chops about my hair. He kept calling me ‘Ironman.’ I said, ‘You’re making fun of my hair?'” says the chef.

Fieri’s Camaro did its best to further the eatery’s dive vibe on Overseas Highway and Mile Marker 88.

“It leaked oil all over my parking lot,” says Patti. “Some of his guys were underneath it, trying to stick towels to stop the leak.”

Two Palm Beach County establishments have been featured on Fieri’s show: Flakowitz of Boynton Bakery and Deli in Boynton Beach, and Havana Hideout in Lake Worth.

MEAT Eatery & Taproom: 980 N Federal Highway (Cendyn Spaces building), Boca Raton; 561-419-2600

 

 

 

Coming to CityPlace: Chef Lindsay Autry to helm big, new eatery

Southern-meets-world chef Lindsay Autry at work. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Southern-meets-world: Chef Lindsay Autry. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Big news for the local dining scene: Star chef Lindsay Autry will take her culinary talents to CityPlace.

The Bravo TV “Top Chef” finalist has partnered with restaurateur Thierry Beaud (Pistache, PB Catch, Paneterie) to bring a refreshed “American kitchen table” concept to the massive space most recently occupied by Pampas Grille.Dish1231Beaurd

The upcoming eatery, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, is expected to open in early 2016.

“We want to focus on real, conscious and approachable food, showcasing the beautiful product that we have locally and regionally – which is how we came up with the name, really,” says Autry.

Read all about planned restaurant at MyPalmBeachPost.com.

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda