For a decade, DeVine Bistro has become more like a family gathering place for many diners who frequent this Wellington gem. Big on feeding people’s appetites for fine food, quaint seating and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s tucked away in a quiet plaza in front of the Mall at Wellington Green.
“When I opened this restaurant, I wanted it to be more ‘comfort food’ — and comfortable,” said Executive Chef Dave Palmateer, owner of DeVine Bistro.
Palmateer describes his cuisine as American Continental, with a familiar feel.
“I have family food,” he said. “That’s really what I was shooting for, because of my family. So, that’s why I’ll have beef stroganoff and meatloaf.”
While the food may be familiar, the presentation and ingredients are top notch. A labor of love is put into each dish.
All the meats are aged for 45 days, marinated in house and cooked once ordered. “I cut all my meats here,” Palmateer said. “So, when I cut fillet mignon, the tip and the tail of the fillet is used for the beef stroganoff.”
Palmateer attributes the bistro’s longevity to his family, including his two teenage sons, along with the restaurant’s longtime staff.
“We can really be consistent. That’s a huge thing for me, and that’s why I’ve been here so long,” he said. “It’s because of my employees. They’re the ones who get to interact with customers more than I can, because I’m actually working the line, and probably the only chef/owner in Wellington who’s on a station all night long. I work as sauté chef six nights a week.”
Family and horses brought Palmateer to Wellington. His daughter Ashley, who was six at the time, came to town daily from Jupiter for therapy sessions, including equine therapy. They fell in love with community and decided open the bistro here. “Ashley has autism,” Palmateer explained. “She is homeschooled by my wife, who also manages and closes the restaurant six nights a week.”
Sara Palmateer holds multiple roles at DeVine Bistro, including pastry chef.
“My wife does everything,” Palmateer said. “She does the staff, and she’s my pastry chef. Meantime, she’ll get me product, and then come home and start making pastries.”
Those popular pastries include her banana cream pie with a chocolate layered graham cracker crust and fresh banana chunks.
Among Palmateer’s creations are the popular pistachio-crusted salmon with sweet potatoes, as well as Guinness-braised short ribs.
“I let it glaze for three hours and put it over a mushroom bacon risotto. Those are my two best sellers,” he explained. “Everything’s fresh. Everything in this restaurant gets made here.”
Palmateer’s love of food, along with his work ethic, grew from his parents’ restaurant in upstate New York. The family of eight siblings spent half their time in New York, and half in Florida. His parents eventually opened a restaurant in North Palm Beach.
Other favorites include the meatloaf. “It’s my mother’s meatball recipe turned into my meatloaf, and I added sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions,” he said. “Then, I have a shrimp and scallop risotto, which I make with a bacon and spinach risotto, a little pesto, then I sear shrimp and scallops and put it over the top.”
One of DeVine’s most beloved appetizers is the heirloom tomato bruschetta with Danish blue cheese. “I make a homemade focaccia bread, and I toast it with a little olive oil, adding wedges of heirloom tomatoes on it with pine nuts and Danish blue cheese with a lemon champagne over that with fresh basil. It looks beautiful,” Palmateer said.
There are many great options at the bar, too. Happy hour runs daily from 5 to 7 p.m. when everything is two-for-one. Sunday through Thursday, with an entrée, a guest can get a “bottomless” glass of house wine for just $6.
Many community regulars and local celebrities, as well as a number of equestrians, frequent DeVine Bistro.
The main dining room is filled with warm colors of golds and browns, along with inviting booths. A long black granite bar, with the kitchen in view, greets guests at the door. The bistro seats 150, including an outdoor patio. The restaurant serves as many as 300 to 400 people a night and is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5 p.m.
Palmateer gives much credit to his experience at Café Chardonnay in Palm Beach Gardens. He later opened Off the Vine Bistro near PGA Blvd.
Now, working closely with his family has created a stronger bond, as well as taught a strong work ethic. His two sons not only work hard in the restaurant, but outside as well. Michael, 18, is an All-District, All-State football player at Wellington High School, while Zachary, 16, is All-District in the WHS band. And both, their father added, are dedicated brothers to their sister.
Each summer, the Palmateers close their bistro doors for two weeks so they can spend time in New York’s Catskill Mountains, where their family, love of food and tradition began.
DeVine Bistro is located at 2465 S. State Road 7, Suite 300, in front of the Mall at Wellington Green. For reservations, call (561) 204-5432. Visit www.devinebistro.com for more info.