Openings: Cheesecake lovers, Junior’s is open in Boca Raton

New York cheesecake lovers, your reward is as near as Boca RatonJunior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake is open for business after a wait that surely seemed interminable to fans of its rich, fluffy namesake dessert.

The Brooklyn-based restaurant debuted this week at Mizner Park and is serving lunch and dinner. (Breakfast service starts within a few weeks.)

The debut was short-lived before the threat of Hurricane Matthew came knocking. As most of the restaurants in Palm Beach County’s “cone of concern,” the new restaurant closed Thursday due to the storm. It reopened for business Friday.

Owned by Alan Rosen, grandson of restaurant founder Harry Rosen, Junior’s has breathed retro Deco style into the former Ruby Tuesday’s space, where it can seat 225 diners.

READ: JUNIOR’S BACKSTORY 

juniorscheesecakeOn the menu: deli classics like matzo ball soup, potato pancakes and blintzes, plus charbroiled steak-burgers, sandwiches galore including pastrami, various Reuben renditions, and open-face beef brisket, salads and desserts (hello, red velvet cheesecake!).

Of course, the main attraction is the Famous No. 1 Original Cheesecake.

What makes that cheesecake so good? Glad you asked. Here’s our riff on the guilty pleasure.

Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake: 409 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-672-7301; JuniorsCheesecake.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boca Raton makeover: Max’s Grille shuts for renovations on its 25th year

Grilled jumbo artichokes at Max's Grille, Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Grilled jumbo artichokes at Max’s Grille, Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: Due to looming Hurricane Matthew, Max’s Grille’s official birthday party has been postponed until Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m.

 

ORIGINAL POST: Call it a millennial makeover. Just in time for its big 25th birthday, Boca Raton’s iconic Max’s Grille has closed for renovations.

The Dennis Max-owned restaurant, which closed after dinner Sunday, will debut its refreshed look on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.

Workers will replace the kitchen floor, replace ceiling soffits, reupholster banquettes in deep-red tufted leather, and add a white granite top to the outside bar and new wicker seating to the patio. Updates will continue later (while the restaurant is fully functioning) and, in a stroke of nostalgia, the bar overhang will be restored to its original state.

Patio will be further pretty-fied at Max's Grille. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Patio will be further pretty-fied at Max’s Grille. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

The updates, which come nearly six months after area flooding damaged the restaurant, have forced the delay of the second annual “Bar Brawls,” a local bartender competition.

However, the restaurant is on track to celebrate its 25th birthday on Oct. 6 Oct.18, when it hosts a bash for its designated VIPs and its former and current staff.

Said Max via new release: “We are excited to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year by revitalizing the restaurant, inside and out.”

Serving modernized American classics to packed houses daily, Max’s Grille is the only of the original Mizner Park restaurants that remains.

Max’s Grille: 404 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-368-0080; MaxsGrille.com

 

Best restaurant: Mizner Park’s cool spot for hot tamales

Uncle Julio's Skinny Guava Rita, flavored with guava nectar and sweetened with an agave sour mix, weighs in at under 130 calories. (Contributed)
Uncle Julio’s Skinny Guava Rita, with guava nectar and agave sour mix. (Contributed)

South county pick: UNCLE JULIO’S

Location is everything here. Grab an outdoor table at this Mizner Park eatery on a night when there’s a concert at the amphitheater across the street and enjoy the music while you nosh on crisp tortilla chips and smoky salsa.

Order the chicken tamales appetizer for the table (eight to an order, also available individually) and enjoy the contrast of the creamy masa and the tangy tomatillo dipping sauce.

Uncle Julio's Bacon-pineapple guac. (Contributed)
Uncle Julio’s Bacon-pineapple guac. (Contributed)

Or visit for weekend brunch (served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) and feast on hearty chilaquiles or Julio’s migas. For the pairing, skip the Bloody Mary and have a tequila-loaded Salty Juana (Herradura, Bloody Mary mix, salt rim) instead.

Uncle Julio’s: 449 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-300-3530; UncleJulios.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda