Category Archives: Wellington Table – Signature Dish

Hot Chicken Made Fresh To Order

Hot Chicken Made Fresh To Order
Hot Chicks House Of Chicken Brings A Spicy Taste Of Nashville Here To Wellington

Story And Photos By Melanie Kopacz

From the first bite into a “Hot Chick” sandwich, be ready for a complex sensory experience. The layers of tastes and textures combine hot with crispy and sweet within the softness of a lightly toasted brioche bun. The complex flavors make for a perfect mix, like the Music City of Nashville itself — home of hot chicken.

Now, with its own twist on this southern favorite comes Hot Chicks House of Chicken, which is heating things up while bringing a taste of Nashville to the Pointe at Wellington Green.

“All places have their own chicken sandwiches, but their spices are blended within the flour of the chicken. So, when they fry it, that’s how you get it,” co-owner Matt Nguyen explained. “But ours is actually dipped in that. You get more of the flavor of spices than frying it in the oil. It’s dipped into the spices after it’s fried. We basically glaze it.”

It’s that dip into the spices that makes all the difference, creating mouth and eye watering bites.

Hot Chicks is an eatery where birds of a certain spicy feather are flocking to get their heat fix made from a base of paprika, cayenne and habanero peppers, along with pickles to blend in with the heat.

Guests can choose their heat level, however.

“Most common is the medium, because it’s not overbearing, but it’s not underwhelming,” Nguyen said. “But we do get a lot of people who come in and order cluckin’.”

Cluckin’, as in cluckin’ hot — the highest heat level. Their spice ranges from no heat, to mild, medium, hot, to the very hottest for those who dare.

“The cluckin’ is a little on the sweeter side, so it’s sweet and spicy,” Nguyen explained. “We use a Korean chili pepper. It’s coated on top of the chicken as well. We dip the chicken in the hot mixture and cook that on top with the chicken.”

If you want spicy, you can get it at Hot Chicks.

“Many people don’t actually expect it to be as spicy as it is because they go to other chicken places and expect spicy. When they try ours, it’s actually spicy, and they grab a jug of water,” Nguyen said. “They like the flavor of it and appreciate it’s actually a hot, spicy sandwich.”

The Brioche bun is toasted just before the sandwich is put together, so it’s still warm, then topped with “cluck” sauce, a signature, mayo-based sauce with a little bit of honey mustard, garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Then for some sweet and crunchy atop the chicken is coleslaw made with a touch of honey.

“People like our coleslaw because it’s not vinegar based,” Nguyen said. “It’s mayo based, so it’s not soggy. You still get a crunch with it.”

The next crunch comes from the fried batter into the juicy chicken. All the poultry is free of antibiotics, growth hormones and preservatives. The bottom layer of the sandwich has a piece of mild American cheese and a bed of pickles, making for a satisfying round of flavors and textures.

To offset the heat are the popular crispy fries with just the right amount of crunch.

“We double fry them, so they’re a little more crispy. We usually make fries by order so when they get it, it’s fresh and not soggy,” Nguyen said. “All is as fresh as can be. We are definitely not fast food.”

It’s written in neon lights, above the register, that every sandwich is made to order. Another slogan, as you walk in the door, is, “Nashville hot chicken with a little bit of Seoul.”

That’s where the Korean Chicken Wings come in.

“The Korean style is just another flavor. It’s a more Asian flavor. We want to be a little different with the taste. We like to give people the option with that,” Nguyen said.

Those who don’t want their chicken in a sandwich can order either dark or white quarters, which can also be combined into a family meal.

“Because we fry our quarters, the skin is very crispy along with the seasoning. A lot of people love the skin on the quarters,” Nguyen said.

Another item is the Taco Chick. It features a chicken tender in a taco topped with a cilantro coleslaw, avocado and cheese.

The Slim Chick is a grilled chicken breast version of the sandwich served either Nashville or Korean style, while the Seoul Chick is fried Korean style.

Some tasty sides complement it all, such as creamy mac and cheese, potato salad and southern greens. There’s also dipping sauces, like the honey barbecue.

To blend it all together is Hot Chicks’ own brand of sweet tea, which is house made every morning and bottled.

The space combines funky and colorful artwork representing the diversity of the music that Nashville is known for. That and its hot chicken, for which the original recipe dates back to the 1920s in the kitchen of the legendary Thornton Prince. But it wasn’t until about a decade ago that the craze exploded to reach world-wide notoriety.

Now, those in the Wellington area can get their fix, whether they dine in the large seating area or take their tasty food to the outdoor covered patio with plenty of picnic tables to sit and enjoy.

A black and white mural of the Nashville skyline welcomes diners — a nod to the hometown of one of the co-owners, who brought his own take on the recipe with him to South Florida. This is the second Hot Chicks location opening in just a year and a half, with the first in Pembroke Pines.

The restaurant is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for dine-in, carry out or delivery through Grubhub.

Hot Chicks House of Chicken is located at 10140 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 170, in the Pointe at Wellington Green. For more info., call (561) 508-5502 or visit


Rich Flavors Inside A Blanket Of Deliciousness

Rich Flavors Inside A Blanket Of Deliciousness Enjoy Fresh-Made Crepes, Smoothies And More At Keywa’s In The Mall At Wellington Green

Story And Photos By Melanie Kopacz

Sweeten your life with rich flavors wrapped inside a warm blanket of deliciousness at the newly opened creperie, Keywa’s in the Mall at Wellington Green.

“We specialize in sweet crepes,” owner Julian Sierra said. “We’ve created our own recipes.”

An array of colorful pictures are displayed along the menu wall, featuring mouth-watering creations that are sure to satisfy anyone’s taste buds. The menu ranges from a number of sweet and savory crepes to a tasty variety of boba teas, smoothies, thick milkshakes and an assortment of frozen drinks.

“We try to give customers something they can’t forget.” Sierra said. “If they always remember, then they always want to come back for it.”

Sierra knows what customers love to come back for, as his recipes have turned into cravings for many who frequent the original Keywa’s location in the Boynton Beach Mall, which opened last fall. Less than one year later, co-owner Tania Eifert, Sierra’s wife, feels blessed to have this opportunity to be a part of the Wellington community.

“We appreciate the friendships we make with our customers. It’s not like you pick up your food and leave,” she said. “We really like to have a relationship with the clients.”

Situated near the mall’s food court entrance, the freestanding location sits alongside the sunroom of the main dining area. A portrait of their beloved border collie Keywa, the eatery’s namesake, greets customers at the register. The mascot’s name means “one of good spirit,” and it’s that spirit Sierra wants the creperie to exude onto others, with its friendly staff and delicious, comforting flavors made with fresh ingredients.

“The general idea is crepes. Not many places have them,” Eifert said. “Little by little, we’ll keep adding more when we see what our customers like. We’ll listen to their ideas and grow with them.”

Customers can grab a beeper for when their food is ready, but many prefer to watch the mesmerizing crepe-making process, as the batter is quickly spread and spun as it cooks. Then the layering of the fillings begins.

To start your crepe journey, you will choose one of three bases: Nutella, Arequipe (a caramel/dulce de leche spread) or cream cheese. An assortment of fresh-cut fruit comes next with a choice of chocolate or caramel syrup, then topped with vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream.

The Vienne crepe is a popular choice, filled with Arequipe, brownie, sliced strawberries and vanilla ice cream with caramel syrup drizzled on the folds topped by whipped cream.

The Alaska crepe uses cream cheese for its base, filled with peach chunks and graham crackers, and topped with vanilla ice cream melting into the warm crepe.

For a richer-tasting dessert, try the Chocó crepe. It’s made with M&Ms inside and out, along with some brownie, then drizzled with both chocolate and caramel syrup, topped with both vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

For a nutty flavor, there’s the Rome crepe. It’s made with walnuts and chocolate ice cream, drizzled with caramel and chocolate syrup. The London crepe is layered with Nutella, banana slices, vanilla and chocolate ice cream with whipped cream, while the Paris crepe also uses Nutella and banana, but mixes it up with graham crackers and vanilla ice cream.

For a chocolatey fruit combo, check out the Monaco crepe, made with Nutella, strawberries and blueberries. Not looking for dessert? A savory option is the America crepe. It’s made with ham and cheese, either Swiss or cheddar, and butter.

Complement your crepe with one of several smoothie options.

The Dubai is a rich and filling choice made with sweet peach slices, passion fruit and pineapple. The Sidney has blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, making it nutrient-rich on top of really tasty.

The Colombia — where Sierra hails from — features a mix of blueberries, strawberries and a twist of pineapple, while the Peru — which is Eifert’s heritage — has fresh-cut chunks of watermelon, passion fruit and banana.

If crepes and smoothies aren’t enough choices, there’s even more.

Rich, thick, handmade milkshakes feature flavors from strawberry and cookies and cream, to chocolate with drizzled syrup or classic vanilla.

Boba tea is also on the menu. Create your own delicious mix with either bursting balls or tapioca balls. Frozen drinks round it all out with some spectacular flavors. Pineapple, passion fruit and mint make for a flavorful mix in the Hawaii drink. A different twist on a classic is the Coconut Lemonade with lemon, coconut cream, condensed milk and coconut milk. For that coffee craving, try the Frappé made with coffee, chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Still looking for more choices? There are tasty waffles on the menu, too! The signature Banana Split waffle is made with Nutella, banana slices and strawberries, while the Tartufo features Arequipe and strawberries. Both come with vanilla ice cream.

It’s a personal indulgence of sorts for Sierra to turn his passion into a profession after leaving an accounting job and side work to help his parents who became ill. After only six years in the United States, he has learned English, got married and just welcomed a new baby boy. He’s living the American dream, working hard alongside his wife, while making his creations that represent a melting pot of flavors from around the world. Flavors they hope will sweeten your life.

Keywa’s is inside the food court at the Mall at Wellington Green, located at 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd. Check out the menu at If you’re not ready to eat immediately, you can order carry out, as well as delivery through Uber Eats and Grubhub.


Take A Journey To Sardinia

Take A Journey To Sardinia
Zona Blu Brings The Unique Cuisine Of This Mediterranean Island To Life

Story and photos by Melanie Kopacz

Dare to be enlightened through an exploration of flavors from the Italian island of Sardinia in a culinary journey at the new local restaurant Zona Blu. The Sardinian style cuisine features an eclectic magic that makes for delectable culinary art with Mediterranean seafood, fresh-baked breads, unique cheeses and imported ingredients.

“We love our island,” co-owner Debbie Marras Bautista said. “We wanted to do something that reflected our cuisine in Sardinia, our culture.”

The restaurant is celebrating that uniqueness with the grand opening at its new location on Okeechobee Blvd., following a thriving first location in Broward’s Weston community. Sisters Debbie Marras Bautista and Sheila Marras David partnered with the menu’s creator, co-owner and Corporate Chef Andrea Fadda.

“The common thread for all of us is that we’re from the island of Sardinia, and that was Andrea’s vision. After traveling the world as a chef, to have these dishes unique to the island on our menu, and that’s what sets us apart,” Bautista said. “We seem to have tapped into a niche. We’re not your typical Italian.”

This is a cuisine that originated from a place in the world that’s so unique, it’s considered a “Blue Zone.” Sardinia is one of only five designated places in the world deemed by researchers as an area where people are known for their longevity, living 100 years and older.

“The food that they eat and the wine that’s made from grapes that are grown in Sardinia that have antioxidants,” Bautista explained. “They have benefits attributed to the longevity of the people who live there, so we wanted to incorporate that into the concept, and that’s why we named it Zona Blu.”

The illuminating and tranquil blue hues throughout the dining room set the tone, reflective of the Mediterranean Sea where Sardinia is situated above Sicily, making for a serene dining experience. An extensive outdoor patio is complete with blue shade awnings. Sardinian wines and varieties from around the world fill racks around the restaurant.

“Our maître d’ is from Sardinia and is basically our sommelier,” Bautista said. “He selects all of our wine, so we have an extensive wine selection from Sardinia, but also all over Italy, France, California, Washington. On Wednesdays, we have 50 percent off our wines that are up to $100.”

Paintings by a Sardinian artist are spaced around the restaurant portraying the people of the region, giving a feeling of who these recipes represent and the fishermen who reel in the fresh catch.

Like Octopus alla Griglia, for starters. The crispy grilled Mediterranean octopus is presented atop arugula salad and aromatic roasted potatoes.

A must-try is the Soufflé al Pecorino. It’s the signature appetizer — a creamy delight made with pecorino cheese from Sardinia with truffle sauce and mushrooms topped with a crispy traditional flat bread.

To help navigate the menu is a knowledgeable staff that helps make the culinary experience one to savor. Also on board is Executive Chef Nico Zallu, who not only loves being in the kitchen, but he also loves singing to the customers.

A huge tableside flaming cheese wheel is also an interactive favorite and a tasty experience.

“They prepare the pasta in the cheese wheel and scrape the cheese from the aged big wheel onto the plates. People love the show, and it’s delicious,” Bautista said. “They have all this fresh cheese. It’s something that’s not on our menu, but we have it, and it’s very popular.”

Another experience for the senses is the Spaghetti al Cartoccio with mixed seafood, fresh tomato sauce and pasta covered in a pastry dough baked in a wood-burning oven.

“It comes out as a big puff of pastry, and then they open it in front of the guest, and all they have is the aroma of the fresh seafood,” Bautista explained.

Freshly served Salumeria comes displayed on authentic Sardinian cork serving trays. “One of the main resources is cork, so when you drive around the island, you see all these trees, where the bottom of them is bare because people shaved the cork, and it grows back, and artisans use the cork to make shoes and purses. We wanted to bring that to our restaurant,” Bautista said.

The Salumeria platters come with a choice of meats, including Prosciutto Crudo and Salame Felino, and cheeses like Pecorino Semi Stagionato, with sprinklings of fresh olives served with a side of jam and giardiniera. “It’s a beautiful presentation and very unique,” she said. “People always ask us if they can buy the tray.”

Another plate with a beautiful presentation and full of flavor is the Fregola Sarda ai Frutti di Mare — a Sardinian couscous-style pasta with mixed fresh seafood.

You can pair any dish with a drink from the stocked bar, and happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m. Zona Blu even has signature drinks specially created for them by a mixologist from Bacardi with a Sardinian twist. “We use a liqueur called mirto, and it’s grown only on the island, kind of like a licorice,” Bautista said of the spirit that comes from myrtle bushes growing wild all over the island.

One of those is the bestselling Wild Sardinia Martini, made with Wild Sardinia gin and mirto. Another favorite is the Cora Sardu, which means “Sardinian Heart.”

An array of desserts makes it hard to choose, including pistachio sorbet coated with pistachio crumbles and a tiramisu layered dessert dusted with cocoa powder. The most popular is a family secret recipe.

“Our parents are from Sardinia, and they’re the ones who make the traditional Sardinian dessert Seadas con Miele Sardo, a homemade puff pastry filled with sweet cheese, lightly fried and drizzled with Sardinian honey. I don’t think my mom will ever give up that recipe,” Bautista laughed.

It truly is a family affair, right from the beginning when their uncle, a restaurateur from Michigan, suggested the sisters help Chef Andrea Fadda find a location for his talents in Weston. The sisters used their expertise in marketing and advertising to create a concept that has since exploded with community support. “It’s not only that we work well together, but we’re also having fun,” Bautista said. “Andrea is like a brother, and we’re so excited about this second location.”

In true Sardinian style, Zona Blu does stand out like an island of its own.

Zona Blu is located at 8170 Okeechobee Blvd., Suite 1, just west of Benoist Farms Road. For more information, call (561) 323-4799 or visit


Tasty Delights From Colombia

Tasty Delights From Colombia
El Rinconcito Colombiano #2 Offers Patrons Flavorful Latin Food In A Casual Atmosphere

Story and Photos by Melanie Kopacz

It’s Colombian food as authentic as being in the coffee-growing capital of Pereira itself. The mountainous coffee-growing region of western Colombia is known for mild Arabica beans and a number of traditional flavorful foods. It’s those delectable recipes and other regional Latin dishes that can be found at El Rinconcito Colombiano #2 here in the western communities.

Rinconcito Colombiano is nestled at the southeast corner of Southern Blvd. and State Road 7 in the Western Plaza shopping center with Home Depot. The tricolors of Colombia’s national flag with yellow, blue and red painted outside the restaurant proudly welcome customers as they walk in.

The doors at this location opened four years ago to complement its original West Palm Beach restaurant. For many longtime customers, like Patricia Recalt and her son Giovanni, the food here feeds their soul.

“We’ve shared a lot of special meals over the years. My husband, Arnaldo, who was from Cuba, passed away two years ago. We would come here for the traditional soups,” Patricia Recalt said.

She and her friend, Marielena Hotusing, agreed it’s that soup and the many other Colombian dishes that they find both so comforting and appetizing.

“If we can’t make it, we will come and get it here, because it’s the same thing as making it,” Recalt said. “It’s home-cooked food, and it’s delicious.”

It’s delicious — and also as fresh as you can get.

“Everything is freshly made daily. We even have our own private butcher,” Rinconcito Colombiano’s General Manager Gladys Restrepo said. “We’re always busy because of the natural food and fresh ingredients.”

Fresh ingredients, like in Colombia’s national dish, Bandeja Paisa, from the Antioquia region.

The hearty meal includes grilled steak, fried egg, pork belly, sausage, sweet plantains, beans and rice, as well as a half an avocado. It and other platters range around $13.

The menu also includes flavorful seafood dishes and several chicken options, like Pechuga De Pollo Asada. The marinated and tenderly grilled chicken breast comes with rice and salad.

Tasty and very filling empanadas are enough for a meal in itself. While other areas of South America make the pockets with dough, Colombian empanadas are made from corn meal and deep fried, making for a soft-yet-crunchy bite into the full chunks of lean beef and potato mixture steaming hot inside. Aside from beef filling, you can get them with either chicken or cheese, and they are $1.59 each.

Sandwiches include the Colombian Burger topped with bacon, pineapple, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and oozing with ketchup, mustard and mayo, with a topping of potato chips and served with a side of fries.

The restaurant’s walls feature the typical street art in the city of Pereira, where Restrepo hails from, with a brightly painted mural of the mountainous landscape as a traditional bus travels along the Andes mountainside. A trellis hangs above with greenery. TVs fill the corners set to stations from the home country.

The restaurant is often filled with people from all ethnicities and ages enjoying the food and conversation. The cozy dining room features a mixture of tables of four to some booths and high tops. There’s seating for 55, as well as an outdoor patio. Or sit up at the bar and grab one of the traditional coffees, like cafe con leche, or a frothy cappuccino. There are also a number of fresh juices, like passion fruit with milk. Several imported libations are also available with a running special of a bucket of beer or Cubetazo at $19 for five.

A number of bakery items will tease your tastebuds, including cheese-filled breads like Pandebono. About a dozen delectable pastries are on display for the choosing. There are also gourmet desserts, like creamy rice pudding and more.

If it’s a meal to start out the day, breakfast is served every day until noon with a number of popular dishes. The Tamal Paisa, a breakfast tamale, is a favorite for many. A corn cake stuffed with chicken, pork, potatoes, peas and carrots, it is then wrapped in banana leaves with a side of rice or corn cake.

Latin music fills the background as people enjoy the cultural culinary delights. For many, it truly is a taste of home.

“Our staff is like family,” Restrepo said, adding that the nationally recognized Colombian food at Rinconcito Colombiano comes from many family recipes.

She wants all who eat there to feel the same love in those recipes, too.

El Rinconcito Colombiano #2 is located at 9900 Southern Blvd. in the shopping plaza at the southeast corner of State Road 7 and Southern Blvd. near Home Depot. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with breakfast served from 7 a.m. to noon. For more information or takeout, call (561) 304-8650 or (561) 469-1689.


Great Food With Amazing Entertainment

Great Food With Amazing Entertainment Newly Renovated Boonies Wild West Saloon Serves Up Great Food With A Country Flair

Story and Photos by Melanie Kopacz

Boonies Wild West Saloon is like an old friend waving to drivers along a road, not so less traveled anymore. But the longtime hangout along busy Southern Blvd. in Loxahatchee Groves is seeing a vibrant rebirth. It’s bringing in a multi-generational crowd that can enjoy a variety of live music, mouthwatering American cuisine with a southern twist and an all-around down-home vibe.

“Our staff is the heart and soul of this place and takes care of everyone who walks through that door,” General Manager Jim Wallace said. “We try to focus on treating everyone like they’re family from the minute they walk in.”

Since its re-opening under new ownership in September 2021, a new vision has come to life for Boonies.

“It’s a vision of having a western live venue. The area needed it. A local place they can go to dance, listen to live music and enjoy a great family friendly experience,” Wallace said.

Larger-than-life prints of country icons like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash welcome you in, while an array of flickering hues ranging from electric blue to green and pink along a stage backed by an American flag plays host to out-of-town bands as well as local acts.

“It’s almost electric when you walk in on a Friday or Saturday night, and you have the live bands playing, and you see people up and dancing and just having a great time,” Wallace said. “We recently had a Toby Keith Tribute band. That was really exciting.”

Just as exciting as the live entertainment is the wide-ranging menu. Part steakhouse, part southern pub, Boonies is a blend that has an array of options for anyone’s taste.

For meat lovers, there’s a number of options. From hand-cut filet mignon to Delmonico hand-cut boneless ribeye, or the Chairman’s Reserve New York Strip, which happens to be the chef’s favorite. “I cut all the steaks by hand, and we grill to order. People love them. My favorite is the New York strip, but this crowd loves the ribeye,” explained Arturo Lorenzo, the chef at Boonies Wild West Saloon.

The crowd also loves the Lollipop Lamb Chops. This delicacy is a huge seller. “They’re French style,” Lorenzo said. “We marinate them overnight with garlic, rosemary and mint, and grill them to the customer’s taste, then add a balsamic glaze.”

The redskin whipped potatoes with gravy along with steamed asparagus are two of the most popular pairings. Two sides come with each entrée, with a number of choices.

The Wild West Burger comes made to order topped with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, sizzling applewood bacon and a trio of beer-battered onion rings on a brioche bun accompanied by light, crispy French fries.

Boonies’ Gator Bites are also a top favorite. Deep fried, locally sourced gator is made to order and served with the house special sauce. The Stacked Nachos are also a crowd-pleasing appetizer piled with homemade chili, queso, pico de gallo, jalapeños and cilantro crema.

For greens, salad options include Boonies’ House with mixed lettuce, cucumbers, cheddar jack cheese, tomatoes, red onions, croutons and a choice of dressing. Options of lightly blackened shrimp, salmon, mahi-mahi or chicken can be added.

“Our chef is phenomenal,” Wallace said. “He’s gifted and cares about every ingredient in everything that’s made. We have an incredible team in the kitchen. They have a dedication to putting out great food.”

A fully stocked bar and friendly bartending staff is ready to serve from open to close. Order your favorite or choose from signature cocktails, which can be served in a Boonies’ 20-ounce souvenir LED cowboy boot mug with colors beaming through drinks like in the Boot Scootin’, which is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Malibu Rum, Creme De Banana, pineapple and orange juice, with a touch of grenadine. The Southern Mule has its own spin made with Jameson Orange Whiskey, Fever Tree Ginger Beer and lime juice.

The weekly event schedule is packed. Each day and night of the week there is action. Mondays are open for various community events with a big focus on charity.

“We’re very big into giving back. We try to sponsor as much as we can,” Wallace said. “Every month, we do a different charity event where we do a quarter auction option in addition to a portion of proceeds from sales.”

Tuesdays are always for karaoke, so warm up those vocals and grab the mic. Wednesdays are Bingo Night, popular and friendly for all ages with payouts. Thursday night is Ladies Night with line dancing lessons, an in-house DJ until midnight and discounted drinks.

Fridays and Saturdays are all about live entertainment with bands from near and far taking center stage. Finally, on Sundays, it’s poker at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.

There are a number of specials each week. Monday through Friday, happy hour runs from open until 6 p.m. with two-for-one well drinks, domestic drafts and house wine, as well as 25 percent off appetizers. Early bird specials run from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., when entrées are the same portion size at a discounted price.

“We didn’t want to change the portion, but allow for those who don’t want to be out late to still get to try our most popular items, without sacrificing size,” Wallace explained.

For the really early birds, breakfast is also now being served both Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7 to 11 a.m.

A kids menu ranging from burger bites to meatball marinara with several sides make for a well-rounded selection.

For sweet treats, desserts include Killer Key Lime Pie, as well as a Turtle Cheesecake topped with chocolate ganache, creamy caramel and pecans.

Aside from the food and drinks, it’s game time with a billiards area to the left of the bar, which offers additional seating, relaxed lighting and bar games. The pool tables extend outside under the large patio area, which will include an outdoor bar come late spring. Both smoking and non-smoking outdoor areas are available. Corn hole is also on hand to play.

With so many options, Boonies strives to be an all-in-one, early morning and late-night place for everyone.

“We’re really all about the community, not just giving back, but trying to make them feel this is a place they can call their own,” Wallace said. “From regulars to those trying for the first time, we want to exceed their expectations.”

Find Boonies on Facebook and Instagram for the daily schedule and specials. Take out is available, as is delivery from DoorDash. The restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 2 a.m. Thursday, and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Boonies Wild West Saloon is located in the Palms West Plaza at 14555 Southern Blvd. in Loxahatchee Groves. For more information, call (561) 855-7405 or visit


Palm Beach Meets New York City

Palm Beach Meets New York City
Maxwell’s Plum Restaurant Brings A Piece Of History To Life In Wellington

Story by Jennifer Martinez  |  Photos by Libby Volgyes

Wellington just got a little sexier with the opening of Maxwell’s Plum, a new restaurant on South Shore Blvd. The vibe: think Palm Beach meets New York City. The food: tantalizing tapas, a delectable raw bar and entrée options for every taste. The cocktails: handcrafted, thoughtful and always craveable. And, of course, an entertainment lineup that has already solidified its place on the social scene.

“We are excited to have opened with season here in Wellington,” owner Jenny Oz LeRoy said. “I grew up in the original Maxwell’s Plum and loved what the restaurant meant to so many. In day-to-day travels, we always hear the most incredible stories from those who visited. It became a dream of mine to open a new Maxwell’s Plum, and what better place than Wellington?”

LeRoy, the great-granddaughter of Jack Warner, a legendary Hollywood director, producer and one of the founders of the film studio Warner Brothers, spent her youth in New York City’s iconic Tavern on the Green, the Russian Tea Room and the original Maxwell’s Plum, all of which her parents Kay and Warner LeRoy owned and operated. And, her middle name, that is no accident. With a life of adventure and excitement, it was only fitting to incorporate a little of her grandfather’s heroine, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz.

In this new venture, LeRoy, an avid equestrian who has been visiting and competing in Wellington since 2001, and her team have captured the original New York City restaurant vibe while crafting a new dining experience. The focus was a marriage of creating a destination for locals and knowing the importance of events that complement Wellington’s equestrian season.

The restaurant has quickly become a must-visit for world travelers and, year-round, South Florida residents. Aside from the weekly drag nights and polo after parties, the culinary team has designed a menu of locally sourced ingredients presented among impeccable tablescapes.

The menu already has standout favorites, including the house-made chips and Truffled French Onion Dip; Steak Tartare with wagyu terres major, smoked egg yolk, traditional garnish and crostini; and Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper with olives, capers and lemon confit. Pizzas, steaks, chops and a full raw bar round out the menu.

Leading the beverage program is Christian Hartmann, who hand selects each and every ingredient being served in the cocktails. While his talents speak for themselves, it is his warm and energetic personality that puts guests at ease while encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones to try new cocktails. His hand-curated wine list is not to be missed, nor is the Rosé Café, which will soon feature a drive-through option.

Just as important as what is being served, is the setting. As the original Maxwell’s Plum was known for being a showcase filled with Art Nouveau decor, kaleidoscopic stained-glass ceilings and walls, Tiffany lamps, ceramic animals, etched glass and crystal, LeRoy knew that opening a new location without several pieces of art from the original location would be a miss. Using her stylistic eye, she was able to incorporate pieces into the new look, while keeping that fresh, South Florida feel.

“My dad was very theatrical and larger than life in his trademark paisley suits. Maxwell’s Plum is where he met my mom and basically where I grew up,” said LeRoy, who noted that the family’s popular restaurant was once serving an average 1,200 customers a day. “He hand-selected so many of the décor pieces, and I wanted to honor him by bringing them here.”

Following her father’s passing in 2001, LeRoy successfully managed Tavern on the Green until 2009 when she married two of her biggest passions — horses and events. She founded Shale Hill Hospitality and turned her 82-acre Hudson Valley working horse farm into a magical wedding and unique event venue specializing in outdoor dining.

That experience is the perfect addition to the offerings of Maxwell’s Plum’s off-site catering and experiences, which can be brought to life from Wellington to Palm Beach and everywhere in between and beyond.

“My father often quoted director Elia Kazan, who told him, ‘You’ve got to go out on a limb, and if you don’t fall off the limb, you haven’t gone out far enough.’ I’ve remembered this at the start of every new challenge,” said LeRoy, whose love of horses also led her to Wellington, where she continues to offer private events to clients both on and off-site.

Maxwell’s Plum is currently serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 5 p.m. Happy hour/social hour is 5 to 7 p.m. daily, and special nightly events happen weekly. Stay tuned for lunch and brunch service coming soon.

Maxwell’s Plum is located at 12300 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington’s Mizner Place plaza. To learn more, call (561) 793-2110. For up-to-date information, visit and follow @maxwellsplum for updates.


Fine Dining With Innovative Twists

The Clubhouse At Palm Beach Polo Brings Unforgettable Flavors To Wellington At A Venue Great For All Occasions

Story by Callie Sharkey  |  Photos by Jenny Schartner

The Clubhouse at PBPCC, located in the Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club, offers dishes that are both creative and traditional in a setting fit for any occasion.

With beautiful views of the golf course and elegant décor, guests can enjoy a relaxed meal with friends or colleagues, or reserve larger spaces for special events.

Following years of success as the seasonal venue Patio at Polo, husband and wife owners Sheila Motley and Chef Mathew Allen committed to a year-round concept, opening the Clubhouse in the fall of 2019.

“After three years, the Patio at Polo lease was finished,” Motley said. “We were lucky enough to build a relationship with the owner, and we shifted to a larger space and are now open year-round.”

The Patio at Polo was consistently selling out during the equestrian season, and the couple decided to transition to a full-time concept, which remains busy enough that reservations are recommended.

While popular with Palm Beach Polo residents and members, the restaurant is open to the public.

“The Clubhouse offers the best event venue in Wellington. We have numerous outdoor spaces, as well as a variety of indoor options,” Motley said. “Our staff is well-versed in hosting small and large groups, as well as team members with successful careers in event planning and catering.”

Having trained staff at your service means that any occasion can be transformed into the event of the year. From quiet dinners to large receptions, the Clubhouse has a dedicated space for any need. The private dining room is perfect for groups of 12 or less, and patrons have options seating up to 100 guests without even having to book the full venue.

Guests do not have to be country club members to enjoy the amazing cuisine and exceptional service available. Looking for that special place to celebrate? The Clubhouse has you covered.

“The terrace tables make a perfect location for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner,” said Motley, who suggests a 6 p.m. reservation to enjoy the stunning sunset view. The Clubhouse’s outdoor seating was so coveted even before the pandemic that the restaurant has expanded the amount of available terrace space with golf course views.

While the location is lovely, it is the food that makes this restaurant spectacular. The menu is designed around classic dishes with an upscale twist and flawless execution.

“The short rib with potato puree and roast Brussels sprouts is very popular here, as well as the salmon with Mediterranean flavors of tomatoes, olives and capers,” Motley said. “My personal favorite is the goat cheese with caramelized onions and honey — it is so delicious it could be a dessert!”

Allen hails from Britain, where the cuisine is known for being hearty, but don’t expect to find any casual pub fare at the Clubhouse. The dishes are designed with a community of athletic patrons in mind. Catering to avid golfers and tennis players, along with dedicated equestrians, the menu is bursting with healthy, protein-packed options to keep one fit and feeling satisfied.

Allen was born in Colchester, England, and has always been passionate about creating classic American dishes with a contemporary twist. He came to the U.S. at age 18 for an internship with the Orient Express Group at the prestigious Keswick Hall in Virginia. He moved to Palm Beach County in 2010 and then traveled the country as a personal chef, serving many celebrity guests.

“We met while working together at the same restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I worked as the special events and catering manager, and he was the head chef,” Motley said. “We worked together then and still do. When we were ready to leave, I immediately wanted to come to Wellington.”

Motley grew up spending winters with her parents here in Wellington, while showing and competing during the equestrian season. “My parents started coming down when I was a child, so I’ve seen it grow from a tiny town with a little polo to what it is now,” Motley said. “We are so happy to be in this community and raising our son here in Wellington.”

The restaurant is more than just a local hotspot. It is becoming a culinary icon in Wellington and in the greater equestrian community.

“The Clubhouse offers intimate spaces for 12 guests up to large event capacities of 250-plus guests. The earlier the client books a space the better, so we may customize any needs they may have,” Motley said.

From weddings and bar mitzvahs to private dinners, patrons can rest assured they will receive outstanding treatment and there will certainly be something on the menu for everyone to enjoy.

The Clubhouse at PBPCC is located at 11630 Polo Club Road in Wellington. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served the same days from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are required for non-members and can be arranged by calling (561) 660-3300. For more info., and to view the menu, visit


Enjoy Polo At Its Best With Fieldside Dining The International Polo Club’s Sunday Brunch Brings Some Elegance To The Weekend

Enjoy Polo At Its Best With Fieldside Dining The International Polo Club’s Sunday Brunch Brings Some Elegance To The Weekend

One of the International Polo Club Palm Beach’s most popular traditions is returning to Wellington this season, offering polo enthusiasts a chance to liven up the end of their weekends. Say goodbye to boring Sundays, because Sunday brunch at IPC will be the most exciting part of your week, setting the tone for the next seven days.

Every week of the 2022 high-goal polo season in Wellington, which begins Jan. 2 and runs through April 24, guests have a chance to get close to the polo action with champagne in hand and a delicious brunch spread to enjoy.

IPC’s flagship events are the Sunday feature polo matches, which showcase some of the best players and polo ponies in the world as they vie for the top prize in seven separate tournaments.

The season opens with the Iglehart Cup, Joe Barry Memorial Cup and Ylvisaker Cup in January, and then continues with the coveted Gauntlet of Polo series in February, March and April, which includes the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Every Sunday at 2 p.m., the doors open to the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion for eager brunch-goers, and the match starts at 3 p.m.

The best part? No horse sense or polo know-how is necessary. The thrill of the game, paired with the elegance of the outfits and the wonderful hospitality offerings, combine for a uniquely memorable experience for everyone, regardless of their knowledge of the “sport of kings.”

“We are proud to showcase some of the best hospitality that Palm Beach County has to offer at IPC. Our chefs and caterers are second to none, and I would encourage everyone to spend a Sunday afternoon with us to try the food, drink champagne and enjoy the incredible sport,” said Paul Regal, vice president of operations and catering services at IPC.

On the east side of the field, the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion can fit up to 300 people on the covered patio, a perfectly comfortable setting for a respite from the sun, while staying close to the equestrian action — sometimes just feet away. The chefs create beautifully crafted food stations that range from shrimp and steak to fruit and desserts, so your plate will surely be full. And as with any great brunch, don’t hesitate to get seconds and thirds!

At halftime, brunch guests are invited to participate in the divot stomp, where fans walk onto the field and flip the grass divots back into place that have been kicked up from the horse’s hooves. Take advantage of the champagne truck, which drives the length of the field during the divot stomp to pour free champagne.

Tables for brunch can accommodate two to eight people, with upgrade options available for bottles of champagne, VIP seating or to ensure a front row seat in order to have an unobstructed view of the amazing polo action. Ticket sales close the Friday before each Sunday match, so don’t wait until the last minute.

The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit


Bright Colors & Delicious Flavors Eat Like A Local At For The Luv Of Food, Which Opened Recently In The Original Wellington Mall

Bright Colors & Delicious Flavors Eat Like A Local At For The Luv Of Food, Which Opened Recently In The Original Wellington Mall

By Callie Sharkey

Foodies know that the best way to find memorable meals is to find where the locals go. For those who grew up in Wellington, nothing says local more than the original Wellington Mall. One of the newest additions to the familiar site is a smart little café called For the Luv of Food.

The menu is filled with bright flavors and lots of healthy options, but a highlight is the variety of taste-tempting bubble teas. Not sure what makes a bubble tea? Owner Kim Seow is happy to provide some insight and help you find the perfect drink to match your mood.

“The whole concept of bubble tea is milk-based, so it’s creamy, but not heavy or as thick as a smoothie,” Seow said. “We have the milk-based ones and the fruit teas, that’s the difference. They also come with boba toppings, like a chewy tapioca boba or mango popping boba.”

These refreshing teas are highlighted by the boba pearls that burst with flavor in a way so satisfying it reminds one of finding the prize in the bottom of a cereal box. Popular bubble teas at For the Luv of Food are the taro (a sweet and delightfully purple concoction), mango dream, and strawberries and cream.

“Bubble tea people often ask me, ‘Why doesn’t this taste like the ones I find down the street?’ I explain that it’s all about the ingredients. I’m very picky with our products and won’t accept anything that tastes chalky or artificial,” Seow said. “It is lighter than a milkshake — creamy but light. We also do almond milk and oat milk for people who want the creamy taste, but not the milk.”

Light, refreshing options are a must-have in South Florida, and Seow’s café also is a great resource for those dealing with dietary restrictions. Instead of being bored with the same flavor profiles, she has made it her mission to bring new, fun flavors that anyone can enjoy.

“Years ago, my diet changed a lot. There are things I cannot eat, and I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Seow said. “That’s how I learned about gluten free and dairy free. So, we are sure to offer gluten free and vegan options. We are trying to make everything healthier but tasty, because if something doesn’t taste good, I know I can’t eat it.”

With Jamaican and Chinese heritage, Seow’s passion for food developed to include signature recipes for a made-from-scratch Asian aoli, cilantro lime, Asian vinaigrette and jerk sauce. She embraced a menu of subs, wraps and sandwiches, but quickly found that the healthier cauliflower crust paninis stole the customers’ hearts.

“The cauliflower panini is off the chain!” laughed one repeat customer stopping by to grab a quick lunch. “Oh, and the matcha tea — you have got to try the matcha tea.”

Grab-and-go meals are ready for those who find themselves in a rush, but don’t be surprised to find locals asking for specials like a banh mi sub or Seow’s one-of-a-kind chai bread. The latter is often ordered by the loaf.

“I made chai bread for a family dinner years ago,” Seow recalled. “I saw something on the internet, played with the ingredients and recipe, and then made it into a bread. Now our family always requests it, and my kids said I had to sell it. The minute I tried it, people started ordering it by the loaf.”

Seow originally opened For the Luv of Food in a different location two years ago, but still customers follow and order some of their favorite goods, like brilliant purple ube cupcakes. After two years in Royal Palm Beach, Seow finds herself finally at home, back in Wellington.

“I’ve always wanted to be here. I grew up here. I graduated from Wellington High School,” she said. “I’ve been a Realtor for 22 years out here, but I’ve always loved food. I’m always the one cooking — everyone who comes over, they know they’re gonna eat. My friends said if you love it so much, why wouldn’t you just open a place?”

Seow has always been inspired by “mom-and-pop” eateries and supported them whenever possible, but she never expected to be running one.

“We are food people, we travel everywhere. We did a trip when my boys were younger and went from Maine to New York,” she recalled. “It was literally based on restaurants I found — mom-and-pop places I’d researched.”

Since opening its doors at the end of September, Seow continues to adapt the menu and explore a love of textures and color while listening to what her customers want. Her growing team not only laughs like a family, but also incorporates family, including her talented and experienced brother-in-law, Rod Seow, who has been a chef for years.

For the Luv of Food is located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 5B. The café is currently open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the most recent offerings, find For the Luv of Food on Facebook and Instagram @LuvofFoodRPB, or call the café at (561) 408-2113.


Classic Flavors And So Much More Chicken Salad Chick Brings A Taste Of Home To New Location In Wellington

Classic Flavors And So Much More Chicken Salad Chick Brings A Taste Of Home To New Location In Wellington

By Callie Sharkey

In the land of endless summer, finding a fresh spot to enjoy light but filling food is a prize worth seeking. Now that Chicken Salad Chick has opened in Wellington, the chain’s first location in Palm Beach County, the search is over. This restaurant is more than just traditional chicken salad — it offers 12 different varieties throughout the year, plus seasonal versions of the classic dish.

How can there possibly be more than a dozen versions of chicken salad? Allie Royal has the answer.

“Most homemade recipes are just a version of our classic chicken salad, which is chicken, mayonnaise, finely minced celery and seasoning. Sometimes at home, you’ll add grapes or pecans, but we have something really different, like buffalo chicken salad,” she said. “You don’t normally make that, or a barbecue chicken salad, at home. People can be intimidated by that sometimes, but I tell them, ‘Just try it. I promise it will surprise you.’ More often than not, they fall in love with flavors that they weren’t coming in to order.”

All the versions of chicken salad found at Chicken Salad Chick have unique namesakes. Each flavor profile is inspired by a real-life “chick” too. Traditional styles are the Classic Carol and Olivia’s Old South — the latter embracing southern flavors, including sweet pickles and egg.

“The Kickin’ Kay Lynne is the one I normally get,” co-owner Bryan Royal said without hesitation.

He loves the spicy mix of buffalo sauce, ranch, bacon, shredded cheese, jalapeño and sriracha. Other spicy options include the Jalapeño Holly.

Allie is partial to the Fancy Nancy and Lauryn’s Lemon Basil. The Fancy Nancy is a sweet concoction with the crunch of apples and pecans paired with the sweetness of seedless grapes. Lauryn’s Lemon Basil is on the savory side with basil and lemon flavors.

But there is more to Chicken Salad Chick than, well, just chicken salad. Every day there are hot and fresh soups to choose from, including loaded potato and a rotation of other comforting flavors, such as tomato bisque and broccoli cheese. Not in the mood for chicken? You can also enjoy grape, pasta or egg salads, and mac n’ cheese.

Patrons aren’t likely to get bored anytime soon with the option to take their favorite flavors and have them served as a scoop with crackers, atop a salad or on a sandwich. Dressings range from their signature poppy seed to classics like ranch and Italian.

One great feature of the restaurant is the Quick Chick — a spot where guests can grab various-sized containers of any version of chicken salad, pimento cheese or one of the other salad options, to go.

“Even if it’s not out there [at the Quick Chick kiosk], we can make it for you fresh and fast. If your favorite flavor is sold out, don’t worry. Just let us know what you want, and we will make it just for you,” Allie said.

Founded in Auburn, Alabama, by Stacy and Kevin Brown in 2008, Chicken Salad Chick has grown to more than 200 restaurants in 17 states.

Bryan and Allie Royal met in college at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Allie was familiar with the brand and loved it, but Bryan wasn’t introduced to it until much later. Now the couple has settled back in Florida with their three children, not far from Bryan’s roots in Belle Glade.

Joining them in the business is brother Kevin Royal, who also operates a Chicken Salad Chick location in Gainesville.

“It’s a total family business,” Bryan said. “Siblings, parents, in-laws, cousins — you never know which Royal family member you’ll see when you come in.”

As a Palm Beach County native, Bryan now lives minutes away from the new franchise store and can’t deny the great location. “Our brand fits the Palm Beach market well. It’s close distance-wise from our main office, so it made sense to start here before we expand into north county or south county,” he said.

The Royals are also looking forward to adding a full catering service in the future.

Chicken Salad Chick is located at 12792 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in front of the original Wellington Mall. It offers dine-in, drive through and takeout orders both by phone and online. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, and to check out the lively menu, visit or call (561) 623-3437.