“After a spring break trip to Fort Lauderdale during his college years, Tom Prakas knew what he wanted to do: own nightclubs. He spent years running highly successful clubs and restaurants in Ohio, Georgia, and south Florida before the father of seven decided it was time for a change. He founded Prakas and Company in 1999, specializing in real estate deals for the hospitality industry. His company has brokered more than 450 sales and leases for some of the top restaurants in the hottest areas in south Florida–Atlantic Avenue, Las Olas, and Clematis. In this episode of The People of Palm Beach, the Delray Beach resident reveals why it seems some restaurant locations are jinxed, the new deals he’s working on, and his favorite restaurant in Palm Beach County that you’ve probably never heard of. Listen to why Tom Prakas is one of the most successful People of Palm Beach…
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.
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
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.
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.
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.