Category Archives: Wellington Table – Signature Dish

Raja Indian Cuisine Brings A Flavorful Taste Of The Subcontinent To Wellington Modern Indian

Raja Indian Cuisine Brings A Flavorful Taste Of The Subcontinent To Wellington Modern Indian

A passion for flavor with a modern twist on traditional Indian food is the promise of the newly opened Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar, located inside the original Wellington Mall.

Look for the sign with the Golden “R.” Once inside, you’ll find an array of authentic treasures — dishes spanning many regions, draped in layers of bold flavors, and a dining atmosphere that’s warm and welcoming.

“We want you to have an experience,” General Manager Debarghya Bhattacharjee said.

Raja Indian Cuisine celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 30 with a luncheon buffet that was quite impressive.

“Our food is from all over India. We’re not focusing on any one regional cuisine. We have traditional Indian, such as northern India, as well as Indo-Chinese,” Bhattacharjee explained.

Raja’s owners — the husband-and-wife duo of Sunil Kayalchirayil and Sheeba Krishnankutty —call it “modern Indian.”

“Our dishes are not too common — street food, Indo-Chinese,” said Kayalchirayil, who studied the culinary arts in India.

The food is fresh, flavorful and bright with colors. The lunch buffet is a great way to sample a number of types of hot and cold foods. From appetizers, hot soup and salads, to entrees and desserts. The buffet is offered daily, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at $12 for adults and $9.99 for children. The buffet stays open until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and costs $14.99 for adults and $10.99 for children.

Buffet items vary daily, but two vegan and two vegetarian dishes are always options, such as Balti vegetables and mixed vegetable Poriyal, as well as three types of salads.

Flavors are spice-filled, from cumin to coriander, cinnamon, cloves and more. A variety of chutneys line the beginning of the table to suit a wide range of tastes.

“These are the accompaniments,” Bhattacharjee explained. “They go with almost all the foods.”

The accompaniments include mint, onion dip, mango and lemon pickle, which tends to be a guest favorite. “We make it fresh, in-house. It’s a long process,” Bhattacharjee said.

Appetizers include the popular samosas, a stuffed, crispy phyllo dough.

“Special items, like the goat Malabar, is from southern India. We use dry-roasted coconut. The Chicken Tikka Masala always has cream in there,” Bhattacharjee described.

Buffet entrees include items such as Tandoori Chicken and Shrimp Biryani.

Desserts are also offered, one hot and one cold, including the Galub Jamun, which are donuts in a warm sugar syrup.

Diners also have a wide-ranging a la carte menu to choose from as well. All dishes are labeled clearly by spice levels of medium or hot, as well as vegan and gluten free.

For starters, there’s the Saffron Pen Salad with radish, onion, fresh fruit, shaved carrots and cucumbers, and saffron mermaldu dressing for $6. The Lamb Shalgam soup is made with spiced ground lamb, poached egg and vegetable broth for $7. Raja’s Mix Sampler includes chicken wings, chicken kabob, paneer tikka and samosa veg pakora. It goes for $12 to get a taste of all those items.

As for entrees, there are a number of curry dishes to several vegan options, with its own section on the menu. Tandoor options include tandoori chicken, jumbo shrimp and more. A variety of Naan breads are available, from butter to garlic, Rosemary olive oil, to ginger honey — all make a savory addition.

The owners’ favorite is one of the chef specials, the Yellow Snapper. It’s cooked in a tandoor topped with curried coconut shrimp. The specials run between $20 and $25.

For dessert, the fig and honey kulfi is made with fig basil sour coulis and raspberry butter, while the mango cheesecake comes with vanilla bean ice cream and red wine rose syrup reduction.

Hot beverages range from black coffee to masala chai, and more, to top off your meal. The dining room is welcoming with deep brown wood booths and tables with gold accents on the seating.

“When you first walk in, this restaurant had its own history and light fixtures. We tried to keep it that way, but we added blue paint, which gives you an energetic vibe,” Bhattacharjee said. “When you walk in, it’s a feeling of family with a large dining table, that gives a homey feeling. In the corner, there’s a relaxing waiting area with small couches and a tea table. We have some elephant pieces from Rajasthan, also pieces from the Buddhist religion.”

Raja also features private party rooms for up to 50 people and meeting spaces for up to 12. The outdoor patio bar is getting a makeover to provide a whole other atmosphere with lots of seating. Dogs are even invited to join their families, with their own special menu to order from.

Also in the works is live entertainment from cultural dancers to sitar music. The owners plan to soon work with the Winter Equestrian Festival and expand the flavors available there.

Meanwhile, guests from Wellington and the surrounding communities are invited to visit the new restaurant for a celebration of Indian food, music and culture.

Look for the golden “R” inside the circle at the far back parking lot. It will greet you for an authentic experience with many happy and tasty returns.

Raja takes reservations, offers carryout and is working with Delivery Dudes and Grub Hub. See their Facebook page for daily specials and upcoming entertainment.

Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar is located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 20, with direct access through the back parking lot. For more information, call (561) 318-5383 or visit www.rajawellington.com.

 

Facebookpinterestmail

Ford’s Garage Serves Up Nostalgia Along With Tasty Burgers And More

Ford’s Garage Serves Up Nostalgia Along With Tasty Burgers And More

A modern take on nostalgia drives burger and beer fans to Ford’s Garage, which opened earlier this year in the Mall at Wellington Green. The growing Florida-based chain has more than a dozen locations.

“The history behind the concept started several years ago in Fort Myers. At the time, the owners came up with the idea, because that area was known as a vacation destination for Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone,” Ford’s Garage Vice President of Brand Development Tara Matheny said.

The restaurant’s décor is a step back in time to the dawn of the automobile age, feeding Wellington restaurant goers’ appetites by way of a Prohibition-era filling station. The scene is set from the moment you open the door at the entrance with its gas pump handles, flanked by two retro gas pumps.

Ford’s Garage truly gives a nostalgic feel with its throwback pieces of Americana. Several restored Ford Model Ts fill the 6,000-square-foot space for guests to admire as they enjoy a meal. “Between the history and nostalgia, the concept took off,” Matheny said.

The Wellington location, located just across from the mall’s food court, has taken off at a fast pace since its grand opening in June.

“The feel-good, innovative dining experience is filled with creativity and atmosphere,” said Keith Ledsome, a member of the Ford’s Garage management team. “You look at our nation’s history, and what momentum was behind this car, and that time is truly incredible. So, we’ve been able to develop synergy between the two. Old and new, so it’s exciting.”

The main bar has a Model T hanging as a centerpiece, complete with a working horn and “smoke” that spews from the back. A hand-pounded copper bar is aligned with neon-lit freeze rails, where customers can rest their drinks to keep them cold. Pennies adorn the far wall as a backsplash behind the beer taps.

Craft beer is part of the restaurant’s flair. There’s a selection of 150 beers in all, in homage to the Ford F-150. Even the servers get in the groove by dressing in mechanic-style shirts. “It’s the energy behind the brand and the team, going the extra mile to make it a great experience,” Matheny said.

There are many nuances to marvel at, such as the tire sinks in the restrooms as water flows through gas pumps turned into faucets. The napkins resemble shop-style rags with a hose clamp around them. Barrels serve as garbage cans, as bits and pieces of industrialism dot almost every space, sparking the imagination of both the young and old, to a different era.

While there is an extensive menu filled with salmon dishes, salads and seasonal items, the burgers are where the beef is. All Black Angus, they are served with the Ford Motor Company logo branded on the bun. Customers choose from a selection of the “Burgers of Fame” menu, which are named in recognition of community figures and each have a unique flavor profile.

“There’s a lot of good flavor profiles with the burger hall of fame. They’re a half-pound burger, fresh, never frozen, and they’re hand-pattied,” Matheny explained. “The Signature Burger in Wellington is named in honor of Mayor Anne Gerwig, which includes arugula, fried onion straws, tomato, sweet red onion marmalade and truffle bacon aioli on a brioche bun.”

The American Standard honors local car dealer Al Packer Ford, while the Model A Burger has a fried egg on it and recognizes local Olympian Margie Goldstein-Engle. The Jiffy Burger in honor of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce includes bacon and peanut butter, while the Patty Melt pays tribute to the service of fallen Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Cigo.

The appetizers also turn heads with their presentation. “Our signature appetizer is our jumbo onion rings, which come on a giant funnel tower, a piston, so it’s one more tie-in to our 1920s service station vibe,” Matheny said.

The wedge fries, as well as the secret recipe baked beans, rev up the meal as tasty and popular sides. Desserts include throw-back style milkshakes, funnel cake fries, a brownie sundae and key lime pie.

More than 300 seats between the interior and outdoor patio fill the space, which includes a pickup truck turned oversized table for a large group.

Visit during happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. and get $3 premium well drinks and $2 off drinks and drafts. The frozen margaritas are extremely popular, as well as the five Ford’s Garage signature frozen spiked lemonades. There are more than 15 frozen drinks in all.

If you like your experience, be sure to sign up for the Motor Club Rewards, a loyalty program that offers a discount for every fourth visit.

Wellington is the chain’s first southeast Florida location. Expansion is planned across the Sunshine State to Daytona, Sarasota and St. Augustine, as well as in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. There are 13 locations currently open with several more under construction.

The Ford’s Garage team is geared up and thankful for the success it has received so far in Wellington, as they continue to mesh the horsepower of the Model T with the power of real horses in the “Equestrian Capital of the World.”

Ford’s Garage is located inside the Mall at Wellington Green at 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd., near the Patio Verde entrance. Hours are Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call (561) 805-3673 or visit www.fordsgarageusa.com.

Facebookpinterestmail

The Poke Company Reframes Traditional Hawaiian Dish For Florida Fish Lovers

The Poke Company Reframes Traditional Hawaiian Dish For Florida Fish Lovers

The Poké Company is fast casual food in a build-your-own bowl, balanced with both flavor and texture in every single bite. The concept is basically sushi in a bowl, quick and delicious.

The growing franchise opened in June in the Pointe at Wellington Green. It is run by Alan Cockerham, a Florida native who hails from the Keys. He grew up in his family’s marina business. After studying marine technology, Cockerham worked as an engineer on cruise and cargo ships while traveling the world for a decade before shifting gears. He is now the first franchisee in Florida, aside from two corporate locations in Boca Raton owned by co-founders Seth Shaning and Maximo Cortese.

“I’m very picky with the quality of fish because of where I grew up. There’s no compromise for freshness,” Cockerham said. “I’m third-generation from the Keys. I’m from Islamorada. My whole family is still there. It has all been a very seamless transition, with the handling of fish and seafood. It’s all very second nature to me.”

Poké is a Hawaiian concept.

“Originally, they would take the scraps from less tasty fish, and they’d mix onions, Shoyu sauce, which is the traditional poké sauce, along with a little bit of seaweed. That’s how they’d mask the slightly gamey flavor. That’s how poké was created. It has since been adapted, and the bowl concept was introduced in California. It has become popularized and migrated east,” Cockerham explained.

The Poké Company offers sushi-grade tuna, salmon and steamed shrimp. Fish is locally sourced and remains fresh during the entire transportation process.

The first decision to make is what size bowl and how many proteins you want. “We try to accommodate anyone with allergies, or gluten free, or on the paleo diet. We have a lot of options for that as well,” Cockerham said. “There’s one family that comes in every day. They can’t have soy or gluten, so we give them the unmarinated fish, because our fish is usually pre-marinated, but we have options in the back for anyone with allergies.”

After you decide how many proteins you want, you pick your base — white or brown rice, mixed greens or cauliflower rice. You can mix and match to suit your taste.

“We’re big on tasting before you put it in your bowl. We want you to build the best bowl that you can,” Cockerham said. “We’ll nudge you in the right direction to make sure your flavors are matching up with one another.”

Then it’s time to choose your proteins. Tuna, salmon, spicy tuna and steamed shrimp are traditional poké choices, and tofu and chicken are also available for those who prefer non-fish options. From there, you move on to the mix-ins.

“The proteins get mixed in a separate bowl from the base, which is in a paper bowl. That’s where we create depth of flavor,” Cockerham explained.

Mix-ins include cucumber, sweet onion, jalapeño, edamame, cilantro and hijiki seaweed. They get mixed in a steel bowl with the protein. Then, it’s time to select a sauce.

“This is where we hammer home what we’re really about,” Cockerham said. “The chef and co-founder, Seth Shaning, worked at Nobu for 10 years. He’s classically trained.”

There are three soy-based sauces.

“The first is the company sauce, which is garlic flavored with a bit of a kick. It’s infused. So, the sauce is the base, and we marinate, or infuse, ingredients in them, to create depth of flavor. Everything we do is by hand. It makes a big difference,” Cockerham said.

There’s also the sesame shoyu. It’s a toasted sesame-based soy and is the traditional poké sauce.

“The notes you pick up are a nice sesame oil, fish sauce and coconut water,” Cockerham described. “Meanwhile, the citrus ponzu pairs well with salmon and shrimp with underlying notes of lime.”

After the mix-in sauces, come the toppings — from tempura flakes to crispy onions, wasabi peas to ginger, scallions, avocado and more. There’s an array of topping sauces that follow to bind it all together, such as spicy mayo, eel sauce and avocado lime, which is the most popular.

“We portion everything appropriately so you’re getting a good bite of rice or salad of your base with everything you choose to put on top,” Cockerham said.

The prices are right on point, too. “For the quality of food that we offer, I don’t think there’s anyone who can come close,” he noted.

A small is priced at $7.95, while a regular is $10.95. Chicken bowls start at $5.95. There are a number of drinks to add to your experience, like Japanese bottled sodas and teas, as well as fountain drinks by Stubborn Soda. A selection of craft beers from Cigar City Brewing is also available, as are several wine options.

The Poké Company is sustainability minded, trying to stay away from single-use plastic items as much as possible. All bowls are compostable paper. Lids are Ecoware, which is recycled plastic. The same with the knives, forks and spoons.

For Cockerham, cleanliness is number one. “We have no grease traps, no hoods, no ventilation. Nothing cooking in the back. That’s what’s great about the poké concept. You’re able to keep everything so clean, so fresh,” he said.

For dessert, try the key lime pie ice cream, straight from his aunt’s kitchen.

“My aunt operates out of a commercial kitchen down on Islamorada,” Cockerham said. “We brought on her ice cream, which is just phenomenal.”

The ice cream has been such a hit, it will soon be found at other Poké Company locations. There are currently four locations in all, but there will be eight by the end of the year.

Cockerham, who grew up in the “sport fishing capital of the world,” carefully chose the “equestrian capital of the world” to open up his shop. He plans to get involved with the Winter Equestrian Festival, as well as offer catering services soon, and spread his passion for poké and pairings of flavors to the sea of people in Wellington and beyond.

The Poké Company is located at 10120 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in the Pointe at Wellington Green. It is open every day 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Delivery is available through DoorDash. For more information, call (561) 323-2391 or visit www.eatthepokecompany.com.

Facebookpinterestmail

SoBol Brings Unique Creations Stocked With Super Fruit To Wellington

SoBol Brings Unique Creations Stocked With Super Fruit To Wellington

Serving acai bowls packed with flavorful bursts of rainforest super fruit and granola, SoBol is a different take on fast food, and Wellington is home to the first Florida franchise.

“We call it ‘the better bowl,’” said Nick Pesko, SoBol’s director of marketing. “It became so popular on Long Island after our first location opened. People kept asking, ‘Can you open one in my town?’ So, we decided to franchise.”

Wellington resident and New York native Suzanne Madison, mother of four girls, is the proprietor of SoBol’s 37th location. While there are 36 others across the northeast, SoBol’s first Florida home is in the Courtyard Shops of Wellington.

SoBol is a departure from the more typical fast food, and Madison describes it as a great alternative for breakfast, lunch or just an anytime go-to snack.

“My older daughter suffers from food allergies, like gluten and dairy. So, I’m always looking for something that’s not commonly found to eat,” Madison said. “I taught for 15 years in New York working with autistic children, many of whom are on restrictive diets. I feel strongly about the product and wanted to offer a healthy alternative to the Wellington community.”

At SoBol, you’ll get only the freshest of ingredients. “Our granola is gluten free. It’s raw oats, almonds and cashews. So, it’s protein and fiber,” Pesko explained. “The acai has an energy-boosting agent. There’s a really positive feeling you get. It’s gluten free, and vegan and vegetarian friendly. It’s vegan if you take off the honey completely. We’re dairy free. We use no dairy in any of our menu items. We’re traditionally soy, almond or coconut milk, as well as apple juice and acai juice.”

The bowls are also served up fast, making it convenient for those on the go.

“We try to keep it as simple and quick as possible, and it allows us to get you your bowl in what we hope to be two minutes or less,” Pesko said. “That’s our goal every time. So, it’s a quick service, fast-food-style restaurant, but we focus on a healthier alternative to your traditional fast food. Everyone’s looking for healthier options out there.”

The café primarily serves acai bowls and fruit smoothies. “We blend everything fresh daily and carve our fruit fresh each day for our customers, and everything is made to order, so all our bowls are customizable to whatever it is you like,” Pesko explained.

Each bowl starts with two layers of homemade granola and comes with SoBol’s puree. “If it’s the Acai Bowl, it’s acai berry that’s flash frozen that we get shipped directly to us from the Amazon, and then our blend with strawberry-banana and a splash of soy milk, that’s like a thick fruit smoothie. Then on top of that, you get fresh-cut strawberries, bananas and blueberries, as well as coconut flakes and a drizzle of honey,” Pesko described.

What’s different from other concepts, he said, is the way the bowls can be customized. “You can customize that one bowl any way that you like, so if you don’t like blueberry, you can take it off, and add any of our other standard or specialty toppings,” Pesko said.

Specialty toppings include all-natural peanut butter, almond butter and Nutella, as well as fresh-cut kiwi and pineapple.

Aside from the popular Acai Bowl, there are other flavorful options.

The Green Bowl is made with spinach, mango, banana and kale with a splash of almond milk. It’s all blended and layered between SoBol’s signature homemade granola then topped with mango, strawberries, blueberries, also with a sprinkle of coconut and a drizzle of honey.

The Pitaya Bowl features a super fruit with origins in Southeast Asia, Central America and South America. Also known as dragon fruit, pitaya is filled with several antioxidants. It’s blended with strawberries and banana to make a thick smoothie, also layered between granola, then topped with fresh mango, kiwi, pineapple, as well as a coconut sprinkle and honey drizzle.

Aside from the exotics, fruits and vegetables are sourced locally. The bowls come in three different sizes, including a kids’ 8-ounce bowl, up to a super-sized 32-ounce bowl, with prices ranging from $6 to just under $14.

Smoothies are also served fresh. Flavors range from acai, super green and very berry to pitaya plus and a strawberry banana blend.

The intimate café seats about 20, as well as some outdoor seating. SoBol is looking to expand the brand across Florida, including Tampa, as well as Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

Pesko is upbeat on SoBol’s future in the Sunshine State.

“It’s incredibly delicious and invigorating,” he said. “I think it’s what people are looking for to live and lead a healthier lifestyle.”

And for franchise owner Suzanne Madison, opening up shop in Wellington is an opportunity to become entrenched in the community with SoBol’s healthy options, as well as involve her four daughters, ages nine to 27, helping to empower them to do things on their own and showing them that they, too, can do anything they put their minds to, whether it’s for their health or their career path.

SoBol is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. They’re busiest at lunchtime and plan to offer delivery service soon. The restaurant is located at 13860 Wellington Trace in the Courtyard Shops. For more information, call (561) 631-9900 or visit www.mysobol.com.

Facebookpinterestmail

New Whit’s Frozen Custard Serving Up Smiles In A Cup

New Whit’s Frozen Custard Serving Up Smiles In A Cup

The newly opened Whit’s Frozen Custard in the Courtyard Shops of Wellington goes far beyond making tasty treats. The husband-and-wife proprietors, Chris and Natalie Mass, strive to bring the community together, while giving back along the way.

“We’d been looking at different markets to expand, and Wellington as a community really matches up with our core principals,” Chris Mass explained. “One of the things I learned early on is that we’re creating more than a customer experience. We’re creating memories.”

The thriving Ohio-based franchise was started by Natalie’s childhood best friend, Lisa, and her husband Chuck Whitman in 2003. The two started franchising in 2008, with expansion to Florida in 2015. Chris and Natalie Mass watched the progress, then decided it was time to open their own custard shop. They started in Stuart, and celebrated their Wellington grand opening on April 27, tantalizing the taste buds of customers with their different take on the frozen dessert.

“The difference between frozen custard and yogurt, first, is the amount of air, or overrun,” Chris Mass said. “Ice cream and yogurt have as much as 80 percent air in it. We have less than 20 percent, so we’re more dense.”

What also sets Whit’s apart from other frozen confection franchises is the small batch approach, using only the finest and freshest ingredients. It’s a daily process that starts about 3 hours before opening each day.

“First and foremost, we make the custard fresh every day,” Mass said. “We make three flavors in small batches. We continuously make it throughout the day, so it’s uber-fresh. We make a little bit, serve it, a little bit, serve it.”

Aside from vanilla and chocolate, Whit’s makes a flavor that changes daily. Along with a wide array of mix-ins, this allows guests to enjoy many combinations of the custard, which is softer than ice cream and firmer than yogurt.

“With less air, there’s a higher butterfat content,” Mass explained. “That’s actually a good kind of fat, so that gives it some of its creaminess. Then, we also use pasteurized, sweetened egg yolks, which makes for a richer version of other frozen desserts.”

The two biggest sellers are sundaes, as well as what they call “Whitsers.”

“Whitsers are where we add the toppings and blend it lightly to mix the toppings in it, but you still use a spoon,” Mass said. “We use the highest quality ingredients only.”

Toppings include fresh strawberries and blueberries, caramel, butterscotch, pecans and many more.

“The Whitmans, who started the franchise, gave us a book of 350-plus recipes for our daily flavors. We rotate new ones, but also make the favorites,” Director of Operations Amanda Bachman said.

The daily flavors run the gamut and include Maple Donut, Key Lime Pie, Bourbon Praline Pecan, Fluffer Nutter Cookie and many more. A calendar hangs on the wall, mapping out each flavor of the day for the month. The flavors, along with their descriptions, are posted on Facebook each day as well, so customers can plan their visits. There also are vegan options, made with coconut milk.

Prices start at $3.75 for a 5-ounce kids’ scoop, to a 22-ounce large Whitser for $8.75. The owners also find it extremely important to give back, including incentive programs and partnerships with schools, with what they call the “Scooper Star Award.” That’s where a student who does a good deed is rewarded with a certificate for a free single scoop, or $2 toward any other menu item.

“It’s for elementary and middle school students where they get a free kids’ scoop,” Mass said. “I distribute the certificates to administrators, free of charge, and I ask them to reward children who are being kind, generous and thoughtful. When they come into the store, we make a big deal out of it. They get to tell us what they did or what their accomplishment was.”

Creating job opportunities for young people is also important.

“We hire as young as 14 to 15. We have shift leaders who are 17 and 18 years old,” Mass said. “It gives them experience in the workforce. I’ve had some go off to college and write me to tell me how it has helped to prepare them for their future.”

Mass also extends discounts to groups within the community. In July, all healthcare industry workers and their families received 10 percent off their total. In August, its chamber members and their families. Throughout the entire summer, anyone who works for the school district gets 10 percent off their bill.

They also offer a loyalty program, where customers earn 10 percent off toward their next visit every five times they check-in. They can bank it until they have as much as 50 percent off. “It’s based on visits, not amount spent,” Mass noted.

Whit’s also features hand-packed quarts sold in their grab-and-go freezer, as well as frozen custard cakes. There’s as many as 30 different recipes that can be custom-made starting at $25. The most popular is the Buckeye Madness, which is made with peanut butter, fudge and Reese’s cups.

Mass and his wife have plans to eventually expand to Port St. Lucie and Jupiter. As for the new location, he is striving to make it a community gathering place for making memories for years to come. “Our goal is not to be in Wellington for a couple of years, but decades, so families can come for generations,” he said.

Open Monday through Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m., Whit’s Frozen Custard is located at 13880 Wellington Trace in the Courtyard Shops at the corner of Wellington Trace and Greenview Shores Blvd., next to Tijuana Flats. For more info., call (561) 855-2500 or visit www.facebook.com/whitsofwellington.

Facebookpinterestmail

Meathead’s BBQ Is Now Serving Up Tasty Southern Barbecue

Meathead’s BBQ Is Now Serving  Up Tasty Southern Barbecue

The newly opened Meathead’s BBQ is serving up tasty backyard barbecue straight from the smoker to your plate.

What started as a way to raise money for his kids’ school fundraisers soon evolved into a catering business, turned thriving food truck, serving up savory southern barbecue creations to scores of people craving tender meats. 

Now, those meat lovers can curb their taste buds with beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage and more at a stationary location. Meathead’s BBQ pit master and owner Marcel Hicks, along with his wife Shay and their daughters, are ready to take your order at their newly opened and much-anticipated Royal Palm Beach restaurant. “I want it to have a backyard barbecue feel, like Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina or Georgia,” Marcel Hicks said.

The corner spot is already drawing a fast and steady business in its opening weeks. It sits just a few doors down from Publix in the Crossroads shopping center at the northeast corner of Royal Palm Beach and Okeechobee boulevards. The scent of the smokehouse leads you there.

Meathead’s BBQ has the ambiance of eating in a friend’s backyard, as picnic tables topped with the company logo are within feet of the counter, and customers, workers and the owners share friendly chat.

“People ask me about the process, so I show them,” Hicks said. “Their smiling faces make me want to do it.”

Hicks has been making people smile with his grilling since he was a child and experimenting with different rubs. That’s when the South Florida native earned the nickname “Meathead.” And he’s proud to show people his craft.

“I smoke the meats in a 72-inch water smoker by Myron Mixon. We’re doing 500 pounds of meat a day just at the restaurant,” Hicks explained.

Meathead’s BBQ officially opened June 1 with a ribbon cutting and wishes of success from Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto, who stayed to eat. Hicks is proud to be part of the community and to have his family work alongside him. “I feel so blessed,” he said.

The menu includes meat delicacies from melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken, to baby back ribs, spare ribs and whole chicken.

“Everything’s from scratch, every day, all fresh. I smoke my brisket and pulled pork for 12 hours. Ribs and chicken for four hours,” Hicks said. “I use a dry rub. Nothing here is injected. What I take great pride in is my brisket.”

The three sauces are key. “I like playing with different flavors,” he said. “There’s the hickory sauce with a mustard inspiration from the Carolina region. The sweet sauce is based on the South Georgia-North Florida area, and then there’s the sweet spicy.”

Down home southern sides include collard greens, green beans, candied yams, and mac and cheese, along with potato salad, tossed salad, cole slaw, grilled corn, baked beans and corn bread.

The price for a half pound of beef brisket is $16, while a combo plate with two sides starts at $17. Family meals include a whole chicken with two sides for $25 and a full rack of baby back ribs with two sides for $32. Pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches start at $10 for a quarter pound of meat and one side.

There’s something for every barbecue lover. “The triple plate combo is one of the most popular items,” Hicks said. Another popular option is the fully loaded nachos or fries, topped with beef brisket, pulled pork, boneless ribs or chicken.

Daily lunch specials run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. A sandwich, side and drink special starts at $8. Customers also gobble up the “Turkey Leg Tuesdays” special.

Several drinks made from scratch are offered daily and include a traditional lemonade, sweet tea and fruit punch. Beer and wine are also on the drink menu, starting at $3.

After making a name for themselves at the Wellington Amphitheater’s Food Truck Invasion and many more events across South Florida, Hicks said that there’s potential for a Jupiter location in the future. That’s another area where they’ve built a dedicated following. Also on the horizon are Meathead’s BBQ’s signature bottled sauces and pit master t-shirts.

For this family, they’re savoring the success of their hard work. This year not only marks a milestone as they open their first restaurant, but for high school sweethearts Marcel and Shay Hicks, they’ll soon celebrate their 25th anniversary — a year that is truly sterling for them.

The restaurant is open Tuesdays and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. They are closed Mondays. Want your barbecue delivered? Delivery service is offered through Delivery Dudes and Grub Hub.

Meathead’s BBQ is located at 1232 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach. For more info., call (561) 249-2684 or visit www.meatheadsbbq.weebly.com or www.facebook.com/meatheadsbbqrestaurant.

Facebookpinterestmail

Tree’s Wings Has Kept Locals Satisfied With Its Famous Recipes For 25 Years

Tree’s Wings Has Kept Locals Satisfied With Its Famous Recipes For 25 Years

For nearly 25 years, Tree’s Wings & Ribs has been catering to the taste buds of traditional down-home food lovers. With its signature neighborhood feel, it’s no wonder this family-owned restaurant has been going strong since opening in 1995 at the south end of Royal Palm Beach Blvd.

Owners Andy and Linda Maynard strive to appeal to every guest who walks through their doors. In charge of day-to-day operations is General Manager Erin Townsend.

“We like to be just as down-home as we can be,” Townsend said. “We’ve got killer ribs. Our sauce is homemade with our secret recipe, every day. We only do baby back ribs. We find them to be the absolute best, and we don’t mess around with anything but that. We have perfected the recipe to where they’re fall-off-the-bone. I’ve never seen anyone disappointed with our ribs.”

While wings and ribs have made Tree’s locally famous, there’s much more to this popular restaurant.

“We’ve got ridiculously good burgers for being a wing joint,” Townsend noted.

The Treemongous burger, for example, boasts a full pound of beef with all fresh ingredients for $16.49. All burgers are Angus beef and handmade, cooked to order over an open flame. All produce is brought in daily.

There are also traditional dishes, like salmon, filet mignon, several salad choices, along with the “fall-off-the-bone” ribs to go with those award-winning wings, which are served up with another secret recipe.

“We have several secret recipes, and we guard them very closely,” Townsend said. “Our house dressing is probably what we’re most popular for. Instead of ranch or bleu cheese with your wings, we offer our house dressing. I get bribed weekly with people asking me what’s in it.”

That super-secret recipe will soon be flying with the Tree’s team to Buffalo, N.Y., for the 17th annual Buffalo Wing Festival, where they’ve been invited to compete in the National Buffalo Wing Contest. Tree’s is taking a lucky winner and a guest on an all-expenses-paid trip to the three-day event over Labor Day weekend.

It’s just one way the restaurant shows appreciation for its customers. Sign up, for free, to be a VIP member. Each time you dine, you get to spin the prize wheel for a deal to be used the next visit. Anywhere from $5 off to a free dessert or drink, to Wing’s bucks. Also, enjoy a free rib and wing dinner on your birthday — and a first round free with a choice of beer, wine or any soft drink for you and your guests.

Great prices on drinks are up for grabs every day.

“We’ve got a twice daily happy hour. Half off between 3 and 6 p.m. on any drink. And again from 10 p.m. until midnight. It’s any drink, whatever you want,” Townsend said. “The only thing we don’t do it on is pitchers, because we’ve got $6 pitchers all day, every day.”

They restaurant recently redid its flooring, with a deep dark wood, making for a warm feeling.

There are two bars. One is separated from the main dining area, where it’s family friendly. For those 21 and over, who are looking to hang out, there’s the adult-only lounge, oozing with a rock vibe as framed pictures of legends adorn the walls. With a feel all its own, this neighborhood hangout area is complete with a jukebox and a retro Kiss pinball machine. There’s also live music on Thursdays featuring artist Rick Nelson playing classic rock and Jimmy Buffett tunes starting at 7 p.m.

“We’re family friendly with space for adults to also have their time,” Townsend said.

If it’s time you want to spend with your family dog, bring him to dine with you. They can even order off their own canine menu. From a bowl of kibble, to add-ons, like bacon.

Each day of the week, there’s a different homemade soup, from split pea to Florida conch chowder. Also, a daily special is offered, like Mondays is half off any Angus burger, to Sundays all-day $4 bloody marys.

Whether you want to pop in, pick up or get it delivered, Tree’s Wings offers all the options — including a vast delivery area with their own five-vehicle fleet. Online ordering is coming soon.

Serving the community over the past 24 years, the owners plan to continue with what’s now tradition.

“We’ve got the best regulars in the world, and we try to treat everyone like our next regular,” Townsend said.

Tree’s Wings & Ribs is located at 603 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza. It is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. For more info., call (561) 791-1535 or visit www.treeswingsandribs.com.

Facebookpinterestmail

Unique Flavors In A Fun Atmosphere At Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill

Unique Flavors In A Fun Atmosphere At Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill

Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill is serving up flavors that burst from unique recipes that dreams are made of.

Chef and owner Christian Ramirez not only follows his heart, but also his vivid dreams, to guide his creative cuisine at this family-owned restaurant.

“The name Q’Salsas came from a dream that I had,” Ramirez explained. “I love salsa music and salsa means ‘to sauce,’ so I wanted to give a name that will grab a smile from people.”

And people have been dining for the past three years at this rustic and inviting locale. Customers are welcomed by oversized booths and tables as they walk in.

“There are booths on both sides,” Ramirez said. “Customers tell me they feel like they’re on a train.”

Q’Salsas offers a casual but upscale feel as brightly colored hammocks are draped from the ceiling, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Music fills the background while the friendly staff serves up Columbian, Mexican and Peruvian fare.

“We just started a new menu. We offer different kinds of soups and salads. The new menu and some of the things I have now, they came from dreams,” Ramirez said. “I remembered the recipes, and I wanted to make it happen and see the dream come true.”

Ramirez’s dream began in Bogota, Colombia, where he was born. At age 8, he realized his love of food, flavor and bringing it all together by watching his grandmother and mother, a chef, cook family recipes.

He now puts his own twist on the family classics, with additional flavors, matching his lively personality.

“I came to the U.S. when I was 13. I wanted to become a chef. I went to culinary school at Lincoln College, got my bachelor’s degree, and from there I started cooking,” he said, noting that he gained experience at several prestigious establishments, including Mar-a-Lago. “I got a lot of knowledge from great chefs throughout Palm Beach County before I decided to open this restaurant.”

For starters, the “Chef’s Famous” lobster bisque is popular, ranging from $9 to $15.

The port wine poached pear salad with mixed greens is a unique blend of flavors. Shrimp, salmon or chicken can be added for an additional cost. Sweet corn cakes are also a staple.

The Trio Fajitas are among the most popular entrees, served with tender skirt steak, chicken and shrimp, tossed with zucchini, mixed bell peppers and bursts of flavor.

For those with a taste for Peruvian cuisine, the Lomo Saltado is a popular dish with marinated strips of sirloin with onions, served over a bed of French fries and a side of rice. Another Peruvian favorite is the ceviche made with white fish, corn, sweet potatoes and Leche de Tigre.

“Everything on the menu, the customers have been asking for. My goal is to make them happy,” Ramirez said.

From burritos to seafood, there’s also a selection of burgers, like the Avocado 2 Ways burger for $15. It’s topped with both fresh avocado and homemade guacamole, along with lettuce, tomatoes and a Mexican cheese blend.

For the kids, the Kung Fu Panda bowl made with beef, broccoli, rice and tomatoes is kicking up big taste for even picky eaters, according to Ramirez.

“People tell me, ‘I’ve never seen my kids eat beef.’ And, now they see the Kung Fu Panda bowl on the menu and want it instead of chicken tenders,” he said.

The 115-seat restaurant also serves breakfast until noon on weekends, from omelets to both Peruvian and Colombian dishes. There’s also an executive lunch offered ranging from $8 to $12. Daily happy hour is available from 4 to 7 p.m. with margaritas, Coronas and chips and salsa, all $3 each.

For a sweet way to wrap up a flavorful meal, try the newest dessert “Kiss of an Angel,” another creation inspired one night with flavors that vary daily, from blackberry to passion fruit, mango and more.

“It was in my dream. I was in the sky flying when I see an angel. He was eating dessert, and he told me how to make it. It was a sweet dream! So, I decided to put it on the menu. When I tell people, they laugh. They’re having a good time,” Ramirez said.

It’s a good time, that can be accompanied by a fresh coffee, espresso or the restaurant’s popular mocha latte to top off the dining experience.

“It’s all from the heart. I don’t compete with anybody but myself, and my goal is to make everyone happy,” said Ramirez, a man with a happy vision who is truly living his dream.

Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill is located at 123 S. State Road 7, Suite 201A, in the Publix plaza just south of Southern Blvd. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant is closed Monday. For more information, call (561) 619-9979 or visit www.qsalsas.com.

Facebookpinterestmail

Taste-Tempting Comfort Food Served With Style At DeVine Bistro

Taste-Tempting Comfort Food Served With Style At DeVine Bistro

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.

 

Facebookpinterestmail

Seafood And More At ‘Fun Florida Fish House’ Hurricane Dockside Grill

Seafood And More At ‘Fun Florida Fish House’ Hurricane Dockside Grill

A new seafood menu and revamped restaurant is stirring things up at Hurricane Dockside Grill in the Marketplace at Wycliffe. Formerly known as Hurricane Grill & Wings, the restaurant has been transformed with a new flair and focus as a “Fun Florida Fish House,” offering a casual, relaxed and rustic atmosphere for people of all ages to dine and play.

“We’re really trying to tune in to what the customer is looking for and differentiate ourselves from other fast casual restaurants out there,” Managing Partner Ron Patak explained. “That’s why we did the Florida fish house concept.”

That new concept includes popular daily dishes like the Tomato Basil Swordfish. It’s grilled, seasoned with lemon pepper and topped with a tomato basil compote and balsamic glaze, served with a choice of sides.

Another top seller is the Crab-Topped Snapper — seasoned and seared Signature Snapper paired with the restaurant’s Signature Crab Cake and crema drizzle — also with a choice of sides.

Aside from the fresh seafood dishes are several big additions, including Fish Fry Friday. “That has been, by far, our number-one seller of all the products we serve,” Patak said.

The meal includes 12 ounces of fresh, hand-breaded cod, served in two 6-ounce pieces over fries with coleslaw and tartar sauce. “At $9.99, it’s a good deal, besides a great product,” Patak said.

The special has been quite a hit. “It has been a great addition. Our customers are super positive, and the response is growing each week, since we started offering it in mid-January,” Area Director Rob Green said.

Also new is the Saturday Clam Fry. “They’re sweet clam strips — hand-breaded, similar to the breading we use for the fish,” Patak said. “Besides the clams, we do a Fisherman’s Platter that has cod, clam strips and hand-breaded shrimp.”

On Sundays, make plans to visit Hurricane Dockside Grill for brunch, served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with four types of Eggs Benedict to choose from, including the classic with Canadian bacon and the Caribbean Crab Cake Benedict with warm greens, tomato, avocado slices and Old Bay aioli. For shrimp lovers, there’s sweet chili shrimp with tomato and bacon topped with a sweet and spicy hollandaise. A Garden Benedict includes sautéed mixed greens, red and green peppers, onion tomato and guacamole with hollandaise topped with salsa. Prices range from $9 to $12.

For those who prefer omelets, there are several on the menu, including crab with Monterey Jack and cotija cheeses; western with ham, red and green peppers; and the Californian with avocado and bacon. There’s also a build-your-own omelet option. Prices range from $8 to $11.

For a sweeter palate, four French toast options are available. “We do a stuffed French toast and a Bahamian French toast, which is fried,” Patak explained.

It’s dipped in coconut rum, deep fried and topped with toasted coconut and powdered sugar. The stuffed French toast includes sugar-coated strawberries and cream cheese. The honey pecan French toast is topped with sugar-coated honey and bananas. Or, stick with the traditional topped with a vanilla cream sauce.

Pair your brunch with bottomless mimosa or bloody Mary drinks for $10.

“It has been a huge success,” Green said. “All are extremely popular.”

While the menu has been redone, many original items, including their popular chicken wings with “All You Can Eat” Mondays from 5 to 9 p.m. for $15.99, are still available. Also, burgers, tacos, beach bowls, sandwiches and salads are all offered, too. There are also kids’ meals like jumbo wings, cheese quesadillas and more.

With the fresh vibe, Hurricane Dockside Grill is encouraging a more interactive experience for families and adults. That includes a redesigned game room with foosball, shuffleboard, Jenga and board games.

“It’s great interaction with the parents and kids. Later at night, it’s the adults coming in from the outside bar,” Green said.

The outside tiki bar is the centerpiece, welcoming visitors with a beach-like atmosphere, complete with sand and Adirondack chairs. An open-air bar and seating in the front of the restaurant with 25 TVs throughout for sports lovers is a big draw.

The décor features a beach theme with surfboards up on the walls. The rustic beach environment makes it fun, filled with pinks, light blue and Caribbean-type colors. The 300-seat capacity restaurant includes two new private rooms for parties that can hold from 30 to 55 people.

Hurricane Dockside Grill is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Happy hour is every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Specials include $2 off all drafts, $3 glasses of wine, half price well drinks and several $6 small plates. There’s also a frozen cocktails menu, including the popular Tropical Hurricane with Cruzan guava and mango rums with a Myers’s dark rum floater.

Green hopes locals and visitors alike will rediscover what the newly made over Hurricane Dockside Grill is all about. “We’re a ‘Fun Florida Fish House,’” he said. “We want people to know about us. We’re more than just wings.”

Hurricane Dockside Grill is located at the Marketplace at Wycliffe at 4075 State Road 7. Order online, pick up or have your order delivered through Delivery Dudes and Uber Eats. For more information, call (561) 318-6107 or visit www.hurricanewings.com.

Facebookpinterestmail