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New restaurant: Chef Todd English is in love with West Palm – and plans to stay

Chef Todd English (middle), Tom Prakas (Far Right). Grand opening of Wild Olives in 2009. Boca Raton, FL

In addition to opening Todd’s on Dixie Highway, the celebrity chef hopes to open one of his national concepts in south county.

Todd English walks into his new West Palm Beach restaurant through a rear door on a recent Monday. The restaurant, tucked into the enigmatic EmKo building on South Dixie Highway, is closed and empty on this day. But the space hasn’t looked better in years. Light streams in to catch stylish new furnishings. Pops of deep turquoise velvet, shimmers of white marble and gold are revealed in the once dark, cavernous space that seemed more like an odd mountain lodge than a restaurant.

Light also has been shed on what had been a kind of mystery building. Was it a gallery, a restaurant, a sometimes club? When was it open? Now there are big window signs that read “Todd’s” and “Restaurant and Bar,” and they seem to call out to Dixie Highway, “Hey, someone’s here!” Someone as in a celebrity chef that’s known across the planet.

At night, there are cars pulling up with diners ready for their reservations. Some of them know English from his restaurants and former restaurants in Boston and Nantucket.

English has come to raise up the profile of the place is remarkable. He’s a celebrity chef who has endured his share of controversies, from shuttered concepts to a variety of lawsuits. He’s also the most decorated chef in West Palm Beach at the moment, having earned four James Beard Awards.

As a culinary figure, English may be more brand than working chef these days, thanks to a host of national restaurants, a cookware line and the kind of Blue-Steel charisma the camera loves. But English is also the chef with Culinary Institute of America-earned skills, a coveted spot on the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America” list and, perhaps most importantly, the respect of fellow chefs.

“I worked for Todd for the better part of ten years so there is no one who has influenced me more,” says chef Clay Conley of the restaurant group that owns Buccan, Grato and Imoto.

“Very exciting for the Dixie corridor to have someone of his talents on it, and great for us to have him almost next door,” says Conley. “Talk about full circle!”

Conley’s Grato sits just three blocks north of Todd’s on South Dixie Highway. Both spots are spacious and buzzy. Both serve pizza and pasta inspired by travels. But like the chefs themselves, the restaurants could not be more different. While Grato and Conley’s other concepts are focused on dishes and ingredients, Todd’s presents these elements in a frame that’s very Todd. References to English, or “T. E.,” are all over the menu, and maybe that’s the attraction for those who flock to the celebrity chef’s restaurants.

Then again, “T. E.” is not just the guy who turned on the lights here — he’s the guy who brought to life a full-on restaurant and bar concept that includes a fancy new pizza oven, an Argentinian wood grill for alfresco grilling, a back-alley taco stand, weekend wee-hours of house-music chill, and a sense of purpose to just about every sleek and lounge-y corner of this 25,000-square-foot complex.

Delray dream

Yes, that amounts to quite a commitment for English. But the chef/restaurateur says he is not just here to open Todd’s. He’s here to make a new home in Palm Beach County. He’s looking for a residence in West Palm Beach. He’s playing at PGA National with his golf buddies. And he’s eyeing some locations for a new restaurant in Delray Beach, where he hopes to bring “some incarnation” of his Figs bistro brand.

“It would be casual, fun, everyday kind of stuff,” says English, who is drawn to Delray’s lively energy. “Every restaurant I’ve been to down there (Delray) is just rocking.”

He says he hopes to open the Delray spot at the end of this year or in early 2020.

Figs, if you’ll recall, operated a cozy location at The Gardens Mall. But despite those dreamy asparagus frites, the place closed in 2016 after a seven-year run. Another one of English’s concepts, Wild Olives, met the same fate. It opened in Boca Raton in 2009 and closed two years later. A Wild Olives location in the former CityPlace had a year’s run after opening in 2010.

“I had done a not-so-great relationship with the franchise at CityPlace. It wasn’t the right timing for that. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t,” says English.

He opened Todd’s by Todd English, a new concept for his restaurant group, in mid-January. A mutual friend had introduced him to local artist Leo Koel, who founded the EmKo art/food project in 2015. When it first opened, EmKo’s original restaurant Jereve served stunning modern plates by executive chef Nick Martinkovic. But the chef departed a year later and the restaurant operated in a kind of limbo.

Enter Todd English.

“I walked into this space and went, ‘wow!’ There’s something about it that I just love. This is a former 1920s car showroom,” English says of the space that once housed a showroom for The Museum at Ragtops Motorcars. “You can just imagine what it was like in those days, Model Ts and whatever else. I just loved the whole Gatsby, Roaring 20s feeling of it.”

English says he fell in love with more than the restaurant building, which sits between Claremore and Biscayne drives in Flamingo Park. “I studied the larger area, especially El Cid. I just love it,” he says. “I’ve been to Palm Beach a lot, but I had not spent a significant amount of time here in West Palm.”

Once he committed to the Todd’s project — “They had to talk me into it” — English says the process of planning the menu and ambience “just became sort of fun.”

“We took the things I’ve been doing for all these years and put them in a little pot and stirred them around to see what comes out. It’s still evolving,” says English, who describes the concept as “American eclectic.”

“It’s meant to be something that could be special occasion or it could be fun, modern, like, come in and have a snack at the bar or a nice glass of wine and then off you go,” says English, who is tapping into his longtime New England purveyors to supply much of Todd’s seafood. (“I’m a big fan of Nantucket scallops,” he says.)

English wrote the menu with input from a couple of his chefs. “Some of the dishes, I’ve been doing them for 30 years,” he says.

Those who have followed his restaurants and dishes may recognize English classics like the Old School Tuscan Bolognese that’s made with veal, beef and pork, and the tortelli of butternut squash with brown butter and sage that Todd’s sometimes runs as a special. It’s a dish English learned to make while cooking in Italy in the early 1980s, fresh out of culinary school.

There’s also the popular white chocolate challah bread pudding that he described this way in his 1998 “Figs Table” cookbook: “Luscious, smooth, and sensual, it’s like sex on a spoon. We see people acting like Meg Ryan in the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ and it’s not uncommon for others to tell the waitstaff: ‘I’ll have whatever she’s having.’”

  • Located at 2119 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511 ext. 1

  • Open for Happy Hour and dinner Tuesday through Sunday at 5 p.m. Reservations are accepted via OpenTable.com.

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Boca district snares two hot restaurants, more on the way

Chief executive and founding partner David Tornek skipped over southern Palm Beach County when he expanded Meat Market Steakhouse five years ago, choosing a spot on Palm Beach for the sexy Miami Beach restaurant’s first foray north.

Now, with the passage of time and the growth in the population, Meat Market is taking a bite of Palm Beach County: the modern steakhouse restaurant will open a location next year in Boca Raton, near the Town Center mall off of Glades Road, just west of Interstate 95.

Word of Meat Market’s plans to enter the Boca Raton market comes as a long-awaited restaurant taking the former Uncle Tai’s space at Boca Center readies for an opening. Look for Copperfish Kitchen, a seafood restaurant, to open in the summer.

The Meat Market will take space in the Renaissance Hotel, which will undergo something of its own renaissance in the coming year.

Plans are afoot to upgrade the entire hotel and its exterior at 2000 NW 19th St., giving the property a fresh look as it brings in the Meat Market to complement the changes. That’s according to Tom Prakas, a Boca Raton restaurant broker who brought Meat Market to the property after more than a year of negotiation.

Also planned is a redo of the outdoor pool and bar, which will be serviced by the Meat Market and add to the eatery’s vibrant, Miami Beach-y vibe.

Of course, Boca Raton is not Miami Beach, and Tornek said each restaurant has its own style. But the pool is a cool addition, and Tornek is excited about it. “I like the aspect of adding the pool to what we’re doing. It’s a new direction for us, which I think will be interesting,” said Tornek.

Do not expect the dark woods and heavy furnishings typical at other Boca Raton steakhouses, however. “We’re called feminine-friendly,” Tornek said. “It’s not an old men’s atmosphere but a chef-driven menu with a pretty wide variety, including seafood.”

The coyly named restaurant also hints at the property’s happening bar scene, which features craft cocktails and presumably, a lot of the Beautiful People. (After all, Condé Nast Traveler has called the Meat Market on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road one of “Miami’s Buzziest Restaurants.” )

Lunch will be served in Boca Raton and at a Meat Market opening in Tampa this summer.

In the five years since Meat Market opened at the site of the old Palm Beach Steakhouse at 191 Bradley Place on the island, business has been strong. But Tornek said he was attracted to Boca Raton due to its continued growth, including the population bounce the area has seen from changes in the tax law that are driving more residents south from high-tax states in the Northeast.

“Palm Beach County is changing. It’s not like it was five years ago,” Tornek said. In fact, he said he’s been searching for a Boca Raton location for two years, finally settling on the Renaissance Hotel.

The moves come as central Boca Raton becomes an increasingly lively center with new eateries coming up soon, as developers work on long-term plans to add more homes and shops.

In the near term, look for fresh offerings at old centers, such as the Boca Center on 5151 Town Center Circle, down the street from the Renaissance Hotel. Boca Center is owned by Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners, which built the property years ago, sold it, and then bought it back.

At Boca Center, George Anagnostou is bringing Copperfish Kitchen to the former Uncle Tai’s restaurant space, a longtime landmark that closed last year when the owner decided to retire.

Prakas, of Prakas & Co., brought this deal to the Boca Center and is working to bring new restaurants to other Crocker properties, including a planned “Restaurant Row” on land Crocker owns nearby at Town Center Road and Butts Road.

Anagnostou, whose background is in both restaurants and seafood importing, pledges the space will feature only fish that is traceable and sustainable. The species will be authentic, he said, unlike a lot of fish that is labeled one thing at restaurants but really is another.

Copperfish is under construction now, but when finished, the restaurant will feature copper along the walls and atop the bar, according to renderings. The contemporary vibe will be modern but comfortable, with accents of blue above the space and creatively crafted lighting throughout.

The exterior walls of the restaurant are being opened to allow indoor-outdoor dining. There will be a lively bar in front and quiet seating in back, plus a private dining room.

Anagnostou said there will be nothing like it in the area: “I think people are going to be in for a huge surprise.” Lunch and brunch will be offered, as well as dinner. Expect an early summertime opening.

In 2020, also expect to see more destination eateries flourishing in this central part of Boca Raton.

Angelo Bianco, principal of Crocker Partners, said permits have been submitted to the city to build Restaurant Row, a 22,500-square foot dining mecca on the corner of Butts Road and Town Center Road.

Crocker is close to nailing down deals with Mexican, Italian, American and sushi restaurants, plus a coffee/dessert eatery. If all goes well, the building’s shell will be built by early 2020, at which point the restaurant operators will start their build-outs, with expected opening dates for the eateries by the fall of 2020, Bianco said.

Crocker Partners has greater ambitions for its holdings in central Boca Raton. But thus far, it has not won city zoning approval to make changes.

In January 2018, several landowners, Crocker included, asked city officials to allow up to 2,500 apartment units in high-rise buildings in this central Boca Raton commercial district along Military Trail, known as Midtown.

The city council instead called for a “small-area plan” to assess the request, which sparked a litany of lawsuits that claim the study was a tactic to stall or stymie development. Crocker just filed its third lawsuit against the city.

The battles with the city may have slowed the progress of redeveloping Midtown, but Prakas is optimistic that growth will continue in Palm Beach County for the foreseeable future, attracting businesses from across the state and the country that want a piece of the action. “It’s the most vibrant market for restaurants I’ve ever seen,” Prakas said.

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Blue Ocean Poke – East Boca OPEN FOR BIZ

Exclusively Represented by Prakas & Co.

Blue Ocean Poke takes over the former Beer Trade Boca Raton location for their 2nd location. Blue Ocean Poke brings top quality seafood in an interactive fast casual experience.

Second Location:2151 N Federal Hwy,Boca Raton, FL 33431

Expect many more locations to come!

Blue Ocean is currently also running a pop up Poke Bar concept at the Boca Resort untill April 2019! Check them out poolside!

Check out Sun-Sentinels article on B.O.P. & come out and enjoy !

Sun-Sentinel Review & Article on Blue Ocean Poke

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Florida Real Estate Market Trends of 2019: What to Expect

FLORIDA’s Strong Commercial Real Estate Market

The strong commercial real estate market is one that Florida parades with pride. The market indicates a positive growth in 2019 for CRE, and here is why:

  • Business growth in the area

  • Retail growth

  • No personal income tax making it the 4th best tax climate in the US

Related: Why Switching to Commercial Real Estate Investing Is Smart

In any case, the Florida real estate market has a strong commercial real estate presence. This will continue growing in 2019 and 2020 if the political climate and foreign trade relations continue as is.

 

 

 

 
Foreign Real Estate Investors

Florida has been an attraction for international homebuyers for years. With Florida’s real estate market becoming more of an international destination for real estate, Florida is becoming a hub for foreign money as they view real estate investing in South Florida as lucrative and strong just as much as its counterparts in Los Angeles and New York State. Accordingly, the major selling point for this real estate market with foreign investors is its affordability when compared to other internationally-dominant US real estate markets.

With South Florida real estate, Canadian real estate investors are taking a large chunk of international investment in the area. This can be mainly attributed to the many Canadian companies opening branches in the Tri-county area in South Florida.

According to data from the National Association of Realtors, foreign investments in residential real estate properties in South Florida is made up of 46% of Latin American and Caribbean real estate investors.

As for the housing market predictions 2019 in Florida, foreign investors and their impact on the market may shift if President Trump imposes taxes on Canadian companies in the United States. Additionally, the fact that foreign investors’ interest in any city is strictly financial as they look at the return on investment of everything is an alarming trend. These foreign investors can just as easily shift to another state.

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Scout & Molly’s Boutique Opens At The Shops At Boca Center

An afternoon in your best friend’s closet,” is how Boca Raton resident Lisa Kaufman describes Scout & Molly’s, the retail franchise she created.

The brand has more than 50 locations in 24 states and Scout & Molly’s newest location will be at the Shops at Boca Center, set to open on Sept. 8.

The boutique features expertly curated selections of women’s apparel and accessories, and boasts friendly stylists who are always willing to help shoppers pick out the best options for their body types and personal styles.

Sale represented by Steve Mossini with Prakas & Company.

Brands offered at Scout & Molly’s include AG, Analili, Atina Christina, BB Dakota, Gretchen Scott, Tolani and more. The store also carries evening and cocktail dresses.

To find out more information, visit scoutandmollys.com/boca.

5050 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton; 561.430.3462;

Photos courtesy of Scout & Molly’s

Want to be in the know about all the best events, restaurant openings and more in Boca Raton and Delray Beach? Sign up for our Boca Agenda, a biweekly newsletter that lists things to do in the area.

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DON CHEPO’S TACO SHOP OPENING OCT. 15 IN BOCA RATON

Boca Raton’s newest taco spot will open Oct. 15 when the team behind the popular Wellington taco eatery, Don Chepo’s Taco Shop, opens in the Boardwalk at Boca Raton shopping and dining center.

http://www.donchepos.com  Sale of the fromer Blue Moon Mexican Cafe BROKERED BY: Prakas & Company.

The 4,200 square-foot restaurant will feature lakeside outdoor seating, festive painted walls and an expansive bar.

Chef/Owner Dustin Parfitt and Owner Juan Gando will serve house-made, street-style tacos – with options for meat lovers, vegetarians/vegans, even those with gluten allergies – quesadillas, burritos and hand-selected chef’s platters.

“We take great pride in the foods we are serving,” Parfitt said. “Our corn tortillas are made fresh in-house every morning, our vegetables from local farms, and we match our cocktails with the dishes we serve.”

Don Chepo’s initially will be open for dinner, followed soon by launch daily specials and a weekend brunch.

“Smoking the pork for our Tacos al Pastor has to be my favorite thing to do at the moment,” Parfitt said. “The pork is marinated in our own special blend of chilies and spices and smoked over hickory for eight hours. When you come to Don Chepo’s and smell the aroma, you will see – and taste – why it’s my favorite.”

Gourmet street tacos ($7-12 and served two per order) will be the restaurant’s specialty, but Don Chepo’s menu also will include dishes such as Tamal al Pastor – served in an open corn husk, topped with a thick, savory sauce, plenty of crumbled cotija cheese and chopped green onions. The Chicken Quesadilla is large, toasted and stuffed to the brim with Poblano-marinated chicken and three kinds of cheese. The Bean Burrito is packed with refried beans, Chihuahua cheese, Mexican rice, black beans and Pico.

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Brass Ring Pub buys former Burrito Bros. space in Jupiter

The Brass Ring Pub this month paid $2.55 million for the former Burrito Bros. restaurant on Indiantown Road, a move that allows the burger restaurant to finally open a location in Jupiter.

Brass Ring Pub principal Bret Worcester on Friday confirmed the purchase of the 1150 Indiantown Road property.

The Brass Ring Pub, known for its large, juicy burgers, has locations in Royal Palm Beach and North Palm Beach, where it first opened in 1986.

But Worcester said the family-owned restaurant company always wanted a Jupiter store.

“Customers would say, ‘I wish you’d come this way,’” Worcester said. “We tried. We have a lot of friends that live in Jupiter. But it was a tough place to look for space.”

Worcester said the family believes in owning and not leasing its restaurant sites, so patience was needed until the right property became available to purchase.

And then one day, “we lucked out,” Worcester said.

“I went online and looked up commercial real estate for sale and something popped up and it was this building,” he said.

Christian Prakas, of Prakas & Co. in Boca Raton, brokered the deal to the Brass Ring Pub.

Prakas also found a new space for owners of the Burrito Bros., which closed earlier this month at the Indiantown Road location after eight years dishing Tex-Mex/barbeque food.

Owners of the Burrito Bros. Jupiter store have a new restaurant site. It’s in Jupiter Farms, in the Farms Market Place at 16891 Jupiter Farms Road. That restaurant, dubbed Taylor Farmhouse Cafe, is a new concept by Chris and Elizabeth Taylor. The cafe is expected to open in mid-September.

Plans are to open the Brass Ring Pub in Jupiter by late October, after a redo of the 6,100-square-foot space takes place. Worcester said the interior will be painted darker colors. More televisions will be installed.

Most importantly, a bar will be added, too.

Worcester is partners in the Brass Ring Pub with his brothers Todd and Dusty.

Staff writer Hannah Morse contributed to this report.

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The Wine Room tasting place is coming to downtown Delray Beach!

A popular wine bar and retail shop from Winter Park is coming to Delray Beach, adding another attraction to the city’s lively downtown scene.

The Wine Room will be taking over the Caffe Martier restaurant space at 411 E. Atlantic Ave. starting April 2, according to Bruce Simberg, The Wine Room managing owner.

The Wine Room will complement the activities already along the avenue, said Simberg, a Boca Raton resident and managing partner of the Simberg Conroy law firm based in Hollywood.

Simberg said he decided to make Delray Beach the second location of The Wine Room due to the activity taking place in the city.

New condominiums and apartments are planned or under construction downtown. Meanwhile, the luxury iPic Theater is under construction a block south of the avenue. When completed, it will feature eight screens and 528 seats.

Simberg said Atlantic Avenue is a walking street, very similar to Winter Park, where he has had The Wine Room on Park Avenue for 12 years. Sampling wine before or after a movie is something he expects Delray Beach patrons will enjoy, just as they do in Winter Park.

“People, including young people, are very interested in learning about wines,” Simberg said. “Our concept is a little bit of teaching as well as just fun.”

Simberg said Wine Room patrons can sample one of 204 wines at varying sample sizes, such as an ounce, 2.5 ounces or 5 ounces.

“They can drink eight different cabs or French wines or eight different wines from Italy,” Simberg said. “There are all kinds of ways you can try wines and learn about them.” Well-educated staff will be available to answer any questions, Simberg said.

The wines are kept in machines that force nitrogen in and keep oxygen out, ensuring the wines stay fresh for more than 30 days, Simberg said. If customers like a particular wine and want to drink a bottle on-site, they can do that too, he said.

The Wine Room also will feature a full kitchen serving meals, starting with brunch at 11 a.m. daily. Regular wine tastings will take place, including tastings as part of dinners. Plans are to start a $2 million renovation in April with completion expected in about four months. An August or September opening is expected.

Another feature planned for The Wine Room: A rare-wine room featuring about 2,000 wines. Some of the wines are from Simberg’s collection and others will be from other sources, including other collectors.

There also will be a retail component where customers can purchase artisanal cheese, meats and, of course, wine. Some 600 t0 700 bottles will be available for sale, Simberg said.

And for those who love fromage, the cheese will be selected by one of Simberg’s partners, Max McCalman, author of numerous books on cheese, including the definitive publication, “The Cheese Plate.”

Simberg said he plans to copy Winter Park’s programming by closing the place periodically on a Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 pm. to do a Champagne tasting. “We’ll have 40 or 50 different kinds, from lower-priced all the way to Cristal. Nobody does that kind of thing,” he said. And what of the space’s famous Prohibition speakeasy, The Arcade Room? Simberg said the bar, accessible only by walking through the historic space, will remain and turned into a full bar serving a full range of liquor, including high-end scotch and vodka.

The deal was brokered by Tom Prakas, of Prakas & Co., in Boca Raton. A longtime broker for deals on Atlantic Avenue, Prakas said downtown Delray Beach is attracting new and interesting concepts. Prakas also brokered the deal that recently brought the Sicilian-influenced Osteria Salina from The Hamptons to 9 S.E. Seventh Ave. And he did the deal that’s bringing live music venue Tin Roof to 8 E. Atlantic Ave., formerly occupied by Smoke BBQ restaurant.

Prakas said The Wine Room fills diners’ interest in being entertained when they go out. “I call it eatertainment,” Prakas said. Wine tastings now are the hottest trend, the way craft breweries were a couple of years ago, Prakas said. As for Simberg, he’s looking forward to hanging around The Wine Room in Delray Beach and visiting with friends and clients.

Simberg said he’ll continue to work 40 hours a week as managing partner of the Conroy Simberg insurance defense firm, which has 10 offices in Florida and one in Georgia.

Then Simberg said he’ll spend his “time off” working another 20 hours a week at The Wine Room. “I’m not big at staying at home,” he said.

We’re still here!

Alexandra Clough writes about real estate, law and the economy.

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Live music venue Tin Roof coming to Delray Beach

Tin Roof, a Nashville-based chain, is taking the space formerly occupied by Smoke BBQ on Atlantic Avenue.

Tin Roof, a Nashville-based bar and restaurant chain centered around live music, has leased the space formerly occupied by Smoke BBQ restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach.

The move brings a major music venue to the Avenue and reinforces the growing national retail focus on this once-sleepy city.

Tin Roof is leasing the 3,500-square-foot restaurant space at 8. E. Atlantic Ave., plus the 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio next to it, the largest patio on Atlantic Avenue. Plans are to redo both spaces and open next spring or early summer.

Bob Franklin, Tin Roof’s chief executive, said he was attracted to downtown Delray’s lively scene.”There’s just a variety of businesses there and super-high quality restaurant operations. It’s a great mixed-use street and vibe,” Franklin said. When the Smoke space became available, Franklin said, he grabbed it.

This location marks Tin Roof’s second Florida location. It has a site in Orlando, as well as 14 others nationwide.

Although Tin Roof is based in Nashville, do not expect the Delray Beach location to play only country music. Tin Roof also books indie-rock bands or pop bands, Franklin said. Like all its locations, The Delray Beach Tin Roof will incorporate a range of musical genres.

That said, Franklin said two major country music acts have been launched after playing at Tin Roof locations: Luke Combs and Florida Georgia Line.

Although Tin Roof has multiple locations, each is tailored to the local music scene. In fact, Franklin said Tin Roof’s focus is to provide a venue where local bands can play. “We want to give them a stage where they can play (at night) and write during the day,” he said of local artists. “That musical dream is what they do.”

Franklin said there aren’t a lot of live music venues across the country because they are difficult to run. But keeping the offerings diverse has helped Tin Roof thrive, he said. Plans are to feature live music seven nights a week.

Tin Roof isn’t just a bar and music destination, however. Franklin said it also offers made-from-scratch, Southern-inspired food. The menu includes offerings such as its Dixie biscuits, chicken and waffles, plus burgers, sandwiches and salads. Lunch and dinner will be served.

The Tin Roof Delray Beach deal was brokered by Tom Prakas of Boca Raton-based Prakas & Co.

When Prakas began marketing the space in September, he said, he received quick interest from a number of national restaurant companies. Tin Roof was one of them. “They loved the place and definitely wanted to be here,” Prakas said.

The interest from national restaurant companies follows the move by national clothing retail stores onto Atlantic Avenue.

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Details on Restaurant Row Planned for Central Boca Raton FL

Restaurant Row may be heading to Boca Raton’s city center, near one of the nation’s most successful shopping malls.

A 20,000-square-foot complex by Crocker Partners is being planned near the Town Center mall. Representatives have been marketing the site at trade shows, and thus far, interest in this restaurant-only destination is strong, they say.

The property would be located on Butts Road at Town Center Drive, on the site of The Plaza office building.

Crocker built The Plaza, sold it and then bought it back in 2014, along with the One Town Center office building and the mixed-use Boca Center nearby.

Why build a complex dedicated to restaurants?

“We’re trying to create more dining options for shoppers who go to the mall and more amenities for office tenants,” too, said Angelo Bianco, managing partner of Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners.

Indeed, this central Boca Raton corridor is surrounded not only by upscale residential communities but also by a range of office complexes and colleges, too. Lynn University is nearby, as is Florida Atlantic University.

Interest in this restaurant project is strong among national restaurant tenants of all types, said Tom Prakas of Prakas & Co., which is marketing the site.

Four spaces are planned in the proposed restaurant complex, with each space slated to be 5,000 square feet. But Prakas said he has interest from steak houses that seek 10,000-square-feet spaces, equal to two of the restaurant slots. Other interested tenants are wine-centric restaurants and American bistros.

Prakas and Bianco said the luxury Town Center mall is a big lure, as is the area’s central location and wealthy residents.

‘It’s one of the greatest demographics in the entire United States,” Bianco added. “There’s just incredible interest” in the site, he said.

It’s not clear when Crocker could deliver the planned development, which is part of a larger effort to recast this section of town into a new district dubbed Midtown Boca.

Crocker would like to build apartments and shops in this part of the city, in and around the Military Trail corridor. Nearby, developers who own the Glades Plaza and the bowling alley also are working on plans to build apartments and shops, too.

City approval for all this new development still must be obtained, including a rezoning of the area, which extends from Interstate 95 west to St. Andrews Boulevard, and from Glades Road south to Via Verde Trail. The changes would allow 2,500 residential units distributed among four owners, whose land holdings encompass about 300 acres.

Some residents have expressed concern about increased traffic with the proposed new developments. Bianco said since so many people commute to Boca Raton for work, creating more in-town residences could cut down on traffic, especially as the city seeks to boost public transit.

In any event, Prakas said the interested restaurants are part of big national companies that can wait until approvals are obtained and plans are completed. Stay tuned.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.