Category Archives: Wellington Table – Signature Dish

The Trophy Room Pairs Sophisticated Dining With A Dynamic Nightlife Experience

The Trophy Room Pairs Sophisticated Dining With A Dynamic Nightlife Experience

The Trophy Room, opening this fall on South Shore Blvd. in Wellington, is in for the win. It promises a sophisticated dining experience that combines a wide variety of New American cuisine, a lux atmosphere and dynamic nightlife, all in one.

“We want to create something that isn’t just a good meal — it’s an experience,” Trophy Room co-owner Rob Gray explained.

Gray and his team hope to score big, taking over the location that formerly housed the Grille Fashion Cuisine, a hotspot popular with locals and visiting equestrians alike.

Gray, who grew up in a family of equestrian riders, has teamed up with his friend and business partner, Teddy Vlock. The two formed T&R Development — first focusing on real estate, and now, a newly formed hospitality division. The duo hopes to win over the hearts and appetites of both the Wellington community, and those who visit the winter equestrian capital of the world, by offering a global menu.

“The menu is a great mix of what you would call New American,” Gray said. “It’s a broad term, giving you the freedom to touch on so many different areas. It has the steak house side to it, then Asian, mixed with some Italian flair. So, it’s a great combination of cuisines.”

Gray wants the entire experience to be desirable to people of all ages.

“Something that appeals to a younger crowd that wants to come in and have a meal that they’re sharing, and maybe later dinner,” he explained. “But also be able to cater to an older crowd that wants to have the traditional appetizer, entrée and dessert.”

Designing the menu is Executive Chef Joseph Bonavita Jr., a New York native who brings to the kitchen more than 12 years of experience. Bonavita studied at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago under world-renowned chefs. He was most recently executive chef of the Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa in Palm Beach, as well as executive chef of 50 Ocean in Delray Beach.

“He has a lot of experience, and he’s very versatile,” Gray said. “He has a passion for food. He loves cooking with all fresh ingredients.”

On the menu are a variety of sharable options.

“We have an extensive sharable menu, like steak tartare with octopus. We have a snacks menu with items like onion dip, as well as shaved Brussels sprouts,” Gray said. “Also, a sweet corn bisque, as well as everything from steak and seafood, a raw bar, to homemade pastas. We’re really going to utilize the brick oven for pizza and a few other dishes. It’s a great asset.”

Gray and his team are also trying to source products locally. “We’re trying to work with as many local people as possible,” he said. “We’re also bringing in oysters from Island Creek Oyster Farm in Massachusetts, which is one of the best oyster providers in the country.”

This isn’t Gray’s first experience with the hospitality business. The 27-year-old entrepreneur began working in the equestrian business at age 18. He developed the Gallery nightlife venue at the Winter Equestrian Festival back in 2015. After much brainstorming, he and his team came up with the name Trophy Room.

“There’s no escaping the equestrian culture in Wellington. I didn’t want to play directly off of it. It seemed a good balance of embodying what we wanted to achieve, which was a lux rich interior with high-quality finishings. A great experience, classic food, but keeping with what you imagine to be in Wellington without being so direct about it,” Gray explained.

The restaurant space has undergone a complete transformation. It seats 175, which includes outdoor seating and the bar, along with a private dining room for 35, with the goal of streamlining it all together to give it a feeling of synergy.

A color scheme of black, white, navy and gold fills the restaurant. To give it a lounge feel, banquette seating fills the space with tufted navy leather and white Carrera tables with brushed gold bases. The private dining room is designed with navy velvet chairs. The tables in the room are an ebony-stained wood with white director’s chairs.

A fully custom back bar has also been built with black-and-white marble.

“The bar is now directly in front of the kitchen with mahogany shelves, an antique mirror, gold accents and an LED-lit back bar. It’s going to be really beautiful,” Gray said.

The full bar includes an extensive and diverse wine list.

“We’re at 110 bottles. It’s a lot of American vineyards, but because of Wellington being so international in the winter months, we have a great international selection of Spanish, French and Italian wines, among other countries,” he said.

An upscale cocktail list to suit all tastes was also created. “We really would love to bring an elevated cocktail culture with specialty cocktails ranging from your traditional margaritas to your classics like your gin fizz,” Gray explained.

The team plans to offer a regular happy hour to keep the Wellington community engaged and close to home.

“I think it’s something that will be a great addition to the community,” Gray said of the new restaurant. “Our goal is to bring something that isn’t currently in Wellington and wasn’t in Wellington before, which is a fine-dining restaurant with a lounge-type atmosphere and an upscale dining experience. There’s so much more to a great experience, a great meal, than the quality of the food. It’s the overall atmosphere, and so much of that comes from a great staff, from the moment you walk in the door to when you leave — it’s so important.”

The Trophy Room is located at 12300 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 793-2110 or visit



Dive In To ‘Asian Cajun’ Seafood At New Submarine Crab

Dive In To ‘Asian Cajun’ Seafood At New Submarine Crab

“Asian Cajun” is taking seafood to a whole new level at Submarine Crab, a new eatery located in the Pointe at Wellington Green.

Owner Tai Le is fusing his Vietnamese roots with Louisiana-style seasoning, hoping to make a big splash in the Wellington area. It’s his second South Florida location of Submarine Crab.

“This type of food has been around for 10 years. It started out in California, which is where I’m from,” Le said. “Because I go back and forth, and we live here, we always noticed the real lack of flavorful seafood, because the traditional model for seafood is, you boil the seafood, steam it and dip it in butter. For us, it’s just not flavorful. So, that’s where this type of concept came about.”

The Cajun seasoning and the sauce are what make all the difference, Le explained. “Typically, in Louisiana-style seafood, you hear of seafood boils. We do that as a first process, and we can serve it that way like Louisiana, but we sauté it first in our sauces. It’s really our sauces that differentiate us versus what traditional seafood is,” he said.

Everything is made with a blend of garlic butter and a variety of seasonings, all at different spice levels. The torpedo sauce is hugely popular.

“Our lemon pepper, our classic Cajun, our torpedo sauces are all Cajun-based sauces,” Le said. “It does have cayenne in it, so it does have a little bit of spice. Those three sauces come standard as mild, and then we can spice it accordingly.”

The seafood takes center stage. Always live, never frozen. “Our most popular items would be our shrimp, as well as our snow crab,” Le said.

The crawfish at Submarine Crab comes from Louisiana during season, which runs from December to about July. When crawfish season ends, they get it from a farm in California.

“Because we are Louisiana-style and Cajun-based, crawfish is something that we really focus on. There’s not a lot of places that do crawfish,” Le said, adding that fresh crawfish tastes much better than frozen. “If we can’t get it fresh, we don’t offer it.”

Food is served up family style with three combo meals to choose from, with samples of all the different offerings, designed to suit any seafood lover’s palate. All come with a choice of clams or mussels.

Combo number one also includes shrimp, crawfish or both. Combo two includes shrimp or crawfish, as well as a choice of lobster tails, Dungeness crab, snow crab or king crab. Combo number three — the biggest of the combos — comes with a little bit of everything, including two pounds of snow crab legs.

“Typically, a customer will eat one pound of seafood. Combo one or two are three pounds. That will feed two to four people. Combo three could feed a family of four,” Le said.

All combos include sausages, corn, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and bread. “It’s a good counter between the sweetness of the corn and the savory sauces,” he explained.

You won’t see a “market value” on the menu. All seafood is priced.

“We want to offer a very fair price for what we do. Although the price of seafood continually goes up, we’ve absorbed a lot of the price increase, because we want to be sure that we’re offering a reasonable price,” Le said.

Side dishes vary from traditional hush puppies with a hint of jalapeño peppers, to Cajun fried rice and crab Rangoon with a twist.

“We put crab meat in with fried shallots. All made in-house. We use our honey mayo dipping sauce, which is the same as we use for our wings. It gives it a sweet taste with a kick,” Le said.

Other traditional Cajun dishes include gumbo with okra. Also, seafood pasta with a Cajun-based sauce. There’s a selection of po’ boy sandwiches, from shrimp or catfish to oyster or sausage — all served up with a side of Cajun fries.

“Most po’ boys come with lettuce. We use cabbage instead. It tends to have a better texture because it’s crunchier. With our po’ boys, it’s all about our sauces,” Le said. “Sauce is everything.”

To wash it all down, there are “Ocean Fog” specialty drinks that come complete with a foggy effect. They’re a fusion of Asian green tea mixed with flavorful jellies and basil seeds for texture. Dry ice is added to give it a fog mist. Teas come in three flavors: the Mermaid, a passion fruit; Captain Andy’s, a strawberry green tea; and the Seahorse, which is mango flavored.

There’s even a soapy treat for your hands when you’re done digging in.

“We developed a whole hand wash to remove the garlic smell,” Le explained.  “Instead of using a wet nap, you use suds to wash your hands, and the fragrance helps to remove the garlic smell.”

Le’s first Florida location is in Pembroke Pines. His location in Wellington opened Aug. 1 and already has quite a following. This is the fourth location in all, including two in California.

The 80-seat restaurant offers eat-in or take-out, where the food to go is triple-bagged to prevent breakage.

Originally a pre-med student, Le and his business partner, a chemistry major, stumbled into the restaurant biz. Something that he feels is working out well. “For us, whatever we do, we really pour our energy into it, to make sure it’s successful,” he said, adding that they strive to regularly get feedback, and tailor the menu to meet customers’ needs.

Submarine Crab is located at 10140 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 170, in the Pointe at Wellington Green. Hours are Monday through Friday from 3 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. For more information, call (561) 355-0533 or visit


Tasty Treats and More At Glazed & Confused Eatery

Tasty Treats and More At Glazed & Confused Eatery

Glazed & Confused Eatery owner Sean Upson has been serving breakfast, lunch, coffee and donuts to the families of Wellington since January 2017. Glazed & Confused is not your average donut shop, which is made evident by the restaurant’s inviting staff, fun décor, and full breakfast and lunch menus.

Upson, who has been in the restaurant business since his early 20s, opened Glazed & Confused to offer Wellington residents a fresh, new spot to grab high-quality food, coffee and donuts.

“We aren’t just a donut shop,” Upson said. “In reality, we are a full restaurant that also happens to make good donuts.”

Glazed & Confused not only has a full menu, but it also has some of the best breakfast and lunch specials available. Throughout the summer, customers can purchase a full breakfast of two eggs, home fries, a bagel and coffee for $3.99 every Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. For lunch, patrons can choose from a burger, a chicken sandwich, a tuna salad sandwich or an egg salad sandwich for $6.99. “It is the best deal in town,” Upson said.

Along with the breakfast special, Upson highlighted some of the dishes that have turned Glazed & Confused into a favorite for Wellington locals.

The two versions of a traditional avocado toast are big favorites. The original avocado toast is served on multigrain bread with thinly sliced tomato and two over-medium eggs. Glazed & Confused adds a twist to the traditional dish by also offering its nova avocado toast, which is served just as the original, but topped with fresh nova salmon.

The “Jono” — named after one of Upson’s menu and business collaborators — is another frequently requested dish. It features challah French toast made with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, granola and topped with a strawberry drizzle.

Upson is currently working on expanding the featured portion of the menu to include a wider variety of French toast options.

The menu also includes several dishes, such as the Irish Benedict, that are accompanied by corned beef hash, which is freshly made in house.

“We make all of our corned beef hash,” Upson said. “We don’t use any processed ingredients, so that we can make a very high-quality dish.”

For lunch, customers can order from a variety of available sandwiches, such as a classic grilled cheese, a tuna melt or a smoked brisket sandwich, or from a list of popular wraps, like the sundried chicken salad wrap or the California turkey wrap.

Of course, Upson’s menu would be incomplete without the vast variety of homemade donuts.

Upson has developed more than 60 donut flavors and offers about 15 of them daily. The donut part of his menu, Upson explained, offers more options for a young and family-based clientele.

“The cool and neat thing about this restaurant is that families have the option to come here and give their kids a treat, like a donut, while they can relax and enjoy good food for themselves,” Upson said.

Though donut flavors change seasonally, some crowd favorites are the maple bacon donut, the PB&J donut and a classic sprinkle donut.

Aside from the appealing breakfast and lunch items, Upson credits the overall ambiance of his restaurant to be the thing that keeps people coming back.

“I think people appreciate the fact that we are a family business and that they can really adopt all of us as part of their own family,” he said.

Upson currently runs the restaurant with a small staff, which includes his three children.

“This truly is a local and family-run operation. My 10-year-old, Ryan, can make donuts from scratch now, and my two older ones, Evan and Kayla, help out serving tables,” he said. “We also hire a lot of high school students, which is really cool because it allows us to give a lot of them their first job opportunity.”

Upson believes that the most individual aspect of his restaurant is that he, because of his high customer retention and return rate, can greet many of his guests by name.

“I probably know about half of our customers by name, which is such a special and neat part of all of this,” Upson said.

The restaurant is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Dine-in or take-out services are available daily, and private party inquiries are also accepted.

Glazed & Confused Eatery is located at 2803 State Road 7, Suite 300, in the plaza with Trader Joe’s. For more info., visit or call (561) 847-4346.


Enjoy Affordable And Delicious Japanese And Thai Cuisine At Kabuki

Enjoy Affordable And Delicious Japanese And Thai Cuisine At Kabuki

Kabuki has brought its affordable and delicious Japanese and Thai cuisine to Wellington. The third location of the local restaurant chain opened on State Road 7 in April.

Owner Ting Yamsiriwong opened the first Kabuki location in downtown West Palm Beach on Clematis Street in 2011. A Palm Beach Gardens location opened shortly thereafter.

Because many customers who dined in the West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens locations work in those areas but live in Wellington, Yamsiriwong eyed this area for his latest venture.

“I like to spread my business out,” he explained. “Many of my clients in the other locations had asked when we would be opening in Wellington.”

The Wellington location has already proven to be quite different than the other two locations, mainly due to the many families filling the restaurant’s tables every night. “I love it here,” Yamsiriwong said. “It’s a totally different crowd. We serve a lot more families here.”

Aside from the full menu of dishes ranging from hand-crafted sushi rolls to different stir-fry dishes and pad Thai dishes, a key reason why many Wellington families are dining at Kabuki is the several affordable specials offered every day.

Kabuki’s lunch special is particularly enticing. From 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., patrons can choose any of the available entrees for a discounted price starting at $8.95, or a you-pick-two special in which customers can choose two different sushi rolls or one entrée and one sushi roll for $12.95. All lunches also include a soup or salad to start.

Some of the available lunch entrees are Kabuki’s variety of curries — red, panang, green, pineapple and massaman — stir-fry, teriyaki chicken and sashimi. The available sushi rolls for the lunch special are Kabuki’s California roll, spicy krab roll and spicy tempura roll.

“We wanted to have a way to draw people in and make sure to do so in a reasonably priced way,” said Ann-Marie Sementelli, the restaurant’s manager. “This is a lunch you can do and not break the bank.”

For those looking for a way to unwind after work or enjoy time off on a weekend, Kabuki offers a long-lasting happy hour every day of the week starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. Select cocktails, sakes and well drinks are offered at half price. Beers, such as the Singha, are offered for as low as $2.50. Kabuki’s signature Pom Margarita — made with Jose Cuervo Silver tequila, triple sec, pomegranate liquor and lime — is offered for $6 during happy hour.

“I would say these are all classic drinks that we’ve made into our own. For us, it’s all about the pricing, presentation and quality,” Sementelli said.

Also during happy hour, select small dishes and tapas are all $5 or $6. Signature sushi rolls are available for $5, while unique dishes like Kabuki’s fried empanadas — filled with stuffed minced chicken, sweet potato, curry powder and plum sauce — are available for $6.

“My goal was always to be in the restaurant business,” Yamsiriwong said. “I like having a business [in which] people don’t have to spend a lot of money and they can have a comfortable place.”

On the regular menu, some of Kabuki’s most popular dishes are the Tuna Yukke, the Pineapple Fried Rice and the Kabuki Lobster Roll.

The Tuna Yukke — Kabuki’s most popular appetizer — is best described as a tower of tuna. It is made beautifully with stacked and diced raw ahi tuna, a layer of avocado, a layer of orange, smelt roe and kimchee sauce on top. The simple dish is a restaurant and customer favorite.

The Pineapple Fried Rice is famous for its many appetizing ingredients and beautiful presentation. The mixture of rice, shrimp, chicken, pineapple, onions, tomatoes, cashews and raisins is served ready to eat inside of a half of a pineapple.

Also known for its elaborate presentation, the Kabuki Lobster Roll is as impressive as it is rich in flavor. Served on a small sushi boat, or large plate, the sushi roll is made with lobster tempura, asparagus and avocado with red tobiko, eel sauce and spicy mayo on top. On the side is a portion of kani lobster salad and a martini glass filled with fried lobster.

For Yamsiriwong, owning Kabuki and serving the people of South Florida has been an ongoing dream. But what truly fulfills and rewards him is making customers happy by serving them good quality food.

“I like the concept of what we’re doing here,” he said. “I’ve been in the restaurant business for 30 years, but there’s nothing like South Florida. I want to have the Kabuki name out there, but it’s more than just the profit. I like to see customers smile and be happy about our food.”

Kabuki is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is located at 2465 S. State Road 7, Suite 100, in Wellington. For more information, visit or call (561) 323-4888.  


Meat Over Matter The Beauty And The Beeeef Opens at Wellington Green

Meat Over Matter The Beauty And The Beeeef Opens at Wellington Green

After much anticipation, The Beauty and The Beeeef finally opened at the Mall at Wellington Green last month. On May 10, the innovative burger joint opened its doors to “burger savages” of all ages, bringing a variety of burgers, poutines, eclectic mason jar cocktails and more to hungry folks in Wellington.

The restaurant, which prides itself on “making people feel better, one burger at a time,” is located on the upper level of the mall between Paragon Theatres and Macy’s.

“We’re just three guys from Montreal who are sick of the cold,” owner and restaurateur Sam Salah said. “We’re ready to enjoy South Florida and share our passion for comfort food, cocktails and culture. Palm Beach County has terrific energy, and we know The Beauty and The Beeeef will be a nice complement to an already awesome area.”

Since childhood, Salah and business partner Mario Habre grew up ensconced in their family’s restaurants. Today, the two friends are each second-generation restaurateurs who credit their culinary philosophy to their fathers.

“Our fathers were chefs and co-owned restaurants together,” Salah recalled. “We would debate whose dad was the better cook!”

Recently, the two men were introduced to Mark Miessels. “We knew it was a business trio made in heaven,” Salah laughed.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, The Beauty and The Beeeef has a guest capacity of 300, including al fresco dining. The spacious floor plan has an industrial vibe with a mix of warm fabrics coupled with funky street art murals with a rock ’n’ roll flavor. A curated collection of novelties picked from the Hillsboro Antique Mall adds a splash of whimsical charm. Even the restrooms are aesthetic works of art.

The restaurant features an oversized, wall-mounted Scrabble board where guests can have fun playing with the magnetic letters, as well as vintage board games and a massive “wall of books” rivaling the local library.

In addition, a number of television screens strategically situated throughout the restaurant will ensure that guests can easily enjoy everything from live sporting events to classic films.

“Everything we do for our guests is over the top, from reinventing classic cheeseburgers and crafting cool cocktails, to spelling ‘beef’ with four vowels,” Salah said. “We’re pretty unconventional, and we like it that way. We’re not like any other burger place you’ve been to before.”

In addition to more than 20 types of burgers — including one called “nuclear,” which is presented by the server wearing a gas mask and requires the signing of waiver — The Beauty and The Beeeef’s menu includes a wide selection of globally inspired flavors, including salads, poke bowls, grilled cheeses, a dozen varieties of poutine and several “non-beeeef” items, like the Woodstock Veggie Burger. Desserts include everything from the Fat ’n’ Furious chocolate chip cookie to boozy milkshakes.

Adult beverage offerings are anchored by the restaurant’s staple mason jar cocktails, which come in “Smallz” and “Biggie” sizes. Traditional cocktails, along with unique tiki cocktails, sangria and punch are also offered. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and features beer, sangria and select cocktail specials.

Restaurant hours are Sunday through Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Bar hours are Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to close.

The Beauty and The Beeeef is located at 10300 W. Forest Hill Boulevard, Suite 239, in Wellington. For more information, visit or call (561) 612-4511. Follow the restaurant on Instagram @beautyandbeeeefwpb and Facebook @beautyandbeeeefwellingtongreen.  


New Kaluz Restaurant Features A Fresh Look At New American Cuisine

New Kaluz Restaurant Features A Fresh Look At New American Cuisine

Kaluz Restaurant, an upscale dining experience serving New American cuisine, recently opened its doors for business in Wellington. Serving a full menu of classical New American entrées and offering a wide selection of wine to please any palate, General Manager Patrick O’Keefe aims to create and deliver a fresh and unique experience to the Wellington area.

Five years after the opening of its original location in Fort Lauderdale, Kaluz opened its new Wellington location late last month on Forest Hill Blvd. in front of the Mall at Wellington Green, creating a new setting perfect for locals to enjoy intimate lunches and dinners.

The restaurant is set to provide those in the Wellington area with an exceptional experience each time they visit. O’Keefe’s goal is to make sure that all those who dine at Kaluz feel relaxed, cared for and, of course, satisfied with their choice of dining experiences.

This, O’Keefe said, is one of the restaurant’s unique attributes that will set Kaluz apart in Wellington.

“We hope to provide a great food and service experience in a warm and friendly environment where every guest feels like they are the most important person in the building,” he said.

Wellington was a fitting community for Kaluz’s second branch, O’Keefe said, bringing a distinct new dining option to the area. The sleek, modern and clean-looking aesthetic of the building is inviting to diners looking for a restaurant to enjoy anything from a quiet romantic dinner to a comforting lunch with friends.

The restaurant’s success in Fort Lauderdale has earned Kaluz the reputation of a restaurant that people go all out for, dressing up in their best clothes and making an event out of their dining experience.

The Wellington restaurant will hold a total of 275 guests, with an open 45-table dining room, a 35-seat island bar and 15 tables on a covered outside seating area. Those dining at the restaurant will have views of calming waterfall features, the open-exhibition kitchen and the many architectural focal points throughout the facility. “Every seat in the restaurant has a view,” O’Keefe said.

Along with its standout environment, Kaluz provides a high-quality menu designed to satisfy the desires of most people. The menu duplicates Kaluz’s Fort Lauderdale menu, which includes daily featured dishes during every lunch and dinner.

Kaluz’s menu is highly influenced by the Fort Lauderdale location’s proximity to the water, which has resulted in a menu containing a wide range of skillfully designed seafood dishes.

“Because of Fort Lauderdale’s location, one out of every two plates leaving the kitchen is seafood generated,” O’Keefe explained.

Popular Kaluz appetizers include the smoked salmon dip, tuna tartare, sweet ginger calamari and chicken drum lollipops.

One of the restaurant’s most popular seafood dishes has been the Chilean sea bass. The plate consists of a hardwood-grilled nine-ounce portion of Chilean sea bass, served over a bed of sautéed asparagus, topped with sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts and finished with a touch of citrus.

The dish, O’Keefe said, started out as a special featured item but was so popular and often requested that it was incorporated into the regular menu.

“It became one of our signature dishes,” he said.

Another popular plate is the scallops pomegranate. The scallops are pan-seared, paired with a mango compote and pomegranate reduction, and served with a chilled quinoa medley.

With its modern American theme, the restaurant serves a variety of other non-seafood entrée options, as well. The menu also features items ranging from different types of burgers, entrée salads, flatbreads, sandwiches and more.

“While the menu is seafood dominated, there are many options outside of the seafood realm,” O’Keefe explained.

One highly demanded item on the Kaluz menu is the lamb rack. The plate includes four New Zealand double-boned and herb-crusted lamb chops, served on a bed of shiitake polenta and heirloom carrots, finished with a balsamic pork reduction.

No matter what you order, you will not leave Kaluz wanting for more. “All of our entrees come with sides, and our dishes come in pretty large portions,” O’Keefe said.

Because a restaurant meal is not complete without dessert, the Kaluz menu lists a variety of warm and rich desserts to choose from, including a salted caramel brownie, bread pudding and key lime pie.

Chef Ian Carpenter fashions all of the menu items to perfection, aiming to cater to everyone individually, including those who have dietary restrictions, such as guests who require gluten-free meals or those who are vegetarian.

The bar offers, along with the extensive wine list featuring bottle or glass selections from across the world, 18 crafted cocktails, including mojitos, martinis and more, and a variety of scotches, cordials and cognacs to accompany dessert.

O’Keefe believes that Kaluz will please and satisfy the people of Wellington, just as it has been doing in Fort Lauderdale since 2013. He, and the restaurant’s 90-person staff, aim to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience that will keep them returning for more.

The new restaurant regularly serves lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Happy hour is available from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kaluz Restaurant is located at 2025 Wellington Green Drive just off Forest Hill Blvd. For more information, call (561) 784-5500 or visit


Master Chef Chris Paul Enjoys Sharing His Unique Culinary Creations

Master Chef Chris Paul Enjoys Sharing  His Unique Culinary Creations

When you are one of only seven certified master fusion chefs in the world, its culinary cuisines become the paints upon your palette, to mix and contrast, then artfully place on a plate — your canvas. Art, however, is not truly appreciated until it is shared, which is Master Chef Chris Paul’s favorite part of what he does.

Chris Paul Falci grew up on a five-acre farm in Sussex County, N.J. Raising animals and working in the garden, he had an early relationship with food and its natural sources. After milking cows, collecting eggs, pulling up carrots and digging for potatoes, he would watch his mother cook family meals, helping where he could. His favorite pastime was eating the ice cream he made with her, using fresh cream.

When he was young, Chris had extensive food allergies and a diet that consisted of mostly chicken and applesauce. His allergies to additives, food coloring and sugar were such a problem that his mother made him his own ketchup and chewing gum. The health challenges he had to overcome as a child laid the foundation for the compassion he now feels for others, and why he always happily accommodates dietary restrictions in his cooking. It is also the driving force behind his unwillingness to compromise on quality, and his insistence on making every single recipe ingredient from scratch.

Not every five-year-old insists on sitting his parents down with a written menu, candles on the table and music on the radio while serving them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a towel over one arm. Even at that young age, Chris perceived eating as an experience, not a bare necessity.

“Food, for me, has always been a way to connect to nature, family, friends and my own sense of discovery. From the joy of picking fresh berries as a young boy, to hunting through markets for the freshest ingredients for my recipes as a chef, I have somehow always been aware that nourishing the body can also be a way of feeding the soul,” he explained. “Nature provides the mix of colors, textures and flavors that delight our senses. As a fusion chef, I take that array of palettes from different cultures and create innovative dishes that excite me as a culinary artist. Sharing that excitement with diners is what feeds my soul.”

Chris’ family is a mix of Italian, Irish, Scottish and German backgrounds that found its way to the family table. His grandparents were excellent cooks and provided him with a rich culinary background, but it was not until he arrived at culinary school that his taste buds were really set on fire.

It was when he studied in Australia, Mexico and New Zealand that fusion-style cooking attracted his interest and started his experimentation. He also found that most American couples he cooked for came from different ethnic backgrounds, which formed their food preferences. By combining the cuisines, he realized he was able to please both while finding his own “voice” for his food.

Chef Chris Paul’s family moved to Florida when he was 16 years old to help take care of ailing grandparents. Now, he is a longtime Wellington resident with his wife, Marisa, and three children: Madison, 16; Skyler, 14; and Gabriela, 12. He provided catering services in the local area for 14 years under the name Wild Orchids Catering. His many awards for his unique food and creative programs have brought him recognition far beyond Wellington’s borders.

For four seasons, Chris was a guest chef on the Lifetime Cable Network show “The Balancing Act.” When his son, Madison, was seven years old, he joined his father on an episode wearing a chef uniform and, as a teenager, shares his interest, cooking for the entire family.

Now Chef Chris Paul’s focus is mainly on intimate in-home dining, private parties and wine pairings. Local residents have had the opportunity to experience his cuisine through his Taste & See pop-up restaurants at the Polo West Club, Village Music Café, You Farm and Downtown at the Gardens.

With a culinary education that includes Johnson & Wales University, the Florida Culinary Institute and the New England Technical Institute, and certification in a wide variety of cuisines, Chris embodies none of the stuffiness and formality that one might expect from such credentials.

His love for both food and people, combined with his humor, humility and warmth, can probably be credited for the popularity of his interactive dinners.

“On a very personal level, I have experienced the importance of food to one’s health,” he said. “I will never compromise on the quality of my dishes, but I also want my food to please all the senses and, most of all, to be a joyful experience.”

For more information, contact Master Chef Chris Paul at or visit


Wellington National Golf Club Opens New Champions Bistro

Wellington National Golf Club Opens
New Champions Bistro

Wellington National Golf Club recently added to its repertoire with the grand opening of the new Champions Bistro. Already a Wellington staple in terms of country club living with its manicured 18-hole golf course, an active member social calendar and plenty of amenities, the club further increased its appeal with the addition of the new full-service restaurant.

Held in January, the grand opening was attended by more than 500 people, and the club is eager to continue to feed and entertain members and their guests. The opening comes after a successful year of growth and development for the club under owners Chip Smith, Andy Apple and Doug Marty.

“We have envisioned Champions Bistro for quite some time, and I know I speak for all of us at the club that we are thrilled to see it in its completion,” Marty said. “The restaurant has been met with great success, and we are grateful for the warm reception by our members, their guests and all who attended the grand opening. I’m looking forward to welcoming even more people to Champions Bistro to experience what it has to offer.”

Located on the pristine Travertine terrace just steps from the beautiful main clubhouse, Champions Bistro offers casual and classy indoor and outdoor dining for the sophisticated palate, with a spectacular view overlooking the 18th green rewarding diners seated at the specially crafted bar.

Interior features of the venue include an open-air kitchen element, as well as bold colors, and ample table and booth seating. The entirety of the club was recently enhanced by the addition of more than 100 curated pieces of hanging and standing art, and Champions Bistro was no exception. The restaurant’s modern concept is complemented by the golf and equestrian-themed luxury pieces from Chisholm Gallery.

Diners need not worry about a limited selection, as the extensive menu features a wide selection of hand-crafted foods with vegetarian and gluten-free selections, American fare, signature dishes and tantalizing desserts.

With a full-size bar and four large flat-screen TVs, Champions Bistro is the ideal locale for special happy hour events or simply catching up with friends over a drink. Featuring a beautiful and brand-new Napolitano pizza oven imported from Italy, diners are treated to personally brick-fired pizzas, which they can watch bake, thanks to the inviting open kitchen.

Open for business only a short time, the restaurant is already thriving under the supervision of Director of Food & Beverage Jordan Naftal. Bringing decades of expertise in the hospitality and culinary fields, he has the right ingredients to provide guests with outstanding food, innovative cocktails and superior service. “Members of Wellington National know to expect standout service around the club, and Champions Bistro is no different. We strive to provide delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere, and so far, our menu has been a big hit with our patrons,” Naftal said. “Though I enjoyed working on Champions Bistro as a project while it was being constructed, now that it is open, I love that I am able to spend my days serving our members in a new and exciting way.”

The grand opening took place the evening of Jan. 11, with many local celebrities, club members and others present for the unveiling of one of the best new restaurants in town. Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, WPTV news anchor Roxanne Stein and famed polo player Nic Roldan were but a few of the high-profile names in attendance.

Over the course of the evening, the grand opening featured multiple complimentary food and beverage options, including elegantly crafted hors d’ oeuvres, a signature butterscotch pecan whiskey cocktail and a unique pizza station utilizing the restaurant’s new pizza oven. The festive atmosphere was complemented by elegant outdoor lighting and an inventive laser show, as well as local performer Tom Blake’s smooth crooning. During the grand finale of the evening, the audience gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The grand opening of Champions Bistro marks one of the final chapters of turning this property into one of the finest private clubs in South Florida,” General Manager Ted Strelec said. “The club owners had a three-year goal, of which we are well ahead of schedule. The bistro adds another amenity that club members can enjoy: a relaxed family-friendly dining experience with fantastic views of the 18th green and resort-style pool area.”

Wellington National owners and staff are thankful to have opened the doors to the new restaurant, and are grateful for all the positive feedback. The club looks forward to a fruitful 2018 and invites all community members to stop by for a visit and tour the country club.

To learn more about Champions Bistro, or view the menu, visit www.wellingtonational To learn about membership and events at Wellington National Golf Club, contact Julie Pickens at (561) 718-9656 or


New Polo Bar & Grill Pays Nostalgic Nod To Vintage Wellington

New Polo Bar & Grill Pays Nostalgic Nod To Vintage Wellington

For Gary Fellers and Jeanette Sassoon, Polo Bar & Grill is more than Wellington’s newest restaurant, it is a labor of love. Long-time residents, equestrians and owners of the iconic apparel store PoloGear USA, the husband-and-wife duo has seen the community evolve across the span of decades, from the very first polo game, in which Fellers played, to the village’s ever-changing skyline, shops and restaurants.

It is their love of the community that spurred the creation of Polo Bar & Grill, designed to pay a nostalgic nod to vintage Wellington and its equestrian roots.

The newly renovated restaurant, located at Polo West Golf & Equestrian off of South Shore Blvd. in the epicenter of Wellington, fuses modern décor, sweeping views and small-town comforts with the excitement of world-class horse sport events, such as arena polo, show jumping and dressage.

Polo Bar & Grill is ideal for the eclectic diner or the local foodie, featuring stellar farm-fresh cuisine, locally sourced produce and hand-crafted cocktails, with a sizable menu that is a compilation of farm-to-table lunch, dinner and brunch plates with a California West Coast twist.

The kitchen at Polo Bar & Grill is run by Executive Chef Victor Irizarry, a graduate of the prestigious Disney Culinary Institute and a master sommelier. He has worked at the world-renowned California Grill and Yachtsman’s Steakhouse, and served as executive chef at Seasons 52 and the Hard Rock Cafe. His mantra is simple, but reflects in each dish served at Polo Bar & Grill — “cook from the heart.” And so he does.

Ingredients are sourced locally, and vendors are chosen based on their quality and proximity to the restaurant. The difference is in the taste, and the dishes do not disappoint.

“Everything you see is a la carte, it’s prepared daily and it’s fresh,” Irizarry said. “We don’t even have a microwave in the kitchen. There are no preservatives, no antibiotics and everything we cook is the way it’s supposed to be eaten.”

Each menu item is perfectly crafted with a blend of flavors that represent Irizarry’s vast international background. The menu features several standout dishes, from the one-of-a-kind flatbreads, to appetizers such as the Ahi Tuna Tartare, a dish of beautiful presentation with hues of green, fresh ahi tuna set amidst an avocado mix, wasabi and cilantro microgreens and served with toast points. The Beef Empanadas boast strong flavors, stuffed with picadillo, and are accompanied by a chipotle ranch sauce — the perfect pairing.

The top entrees include a fan-favorite of Steak & Fries capped with garlic butter, a Wild Caught Red Snapper with seasonal vegetables, New York Strip Steak and the highlight of the menu, a 12-ounce Grilled Pork Chop basted with a guava barbecue sauce and accompanied by a unique and delicious horseradish sweet potato mash.

No matter what you order, each dish leaves the palate craving more.

The restaurant is also host to an array of special events, from an outstanding weekday happy hour to a fabulous weekend brunch featuring reasonable set-priced unlimited mimosas and bloody Marys. The Polo Patio can seat more than 200 guests, offers far-reaching views of the expansive polo field and driving range, an outside bar, and is the perfect location to enjoy live performances from local, talented musicians, such as country musician Tom Blake.

It is also dog-friendly, and Polo Bar & Grill is the only restaurant in Wellington to offer a dog menu for four-legged diners.

“We want Polo Bar & Grill to be a welcoming space for the community by offering an exciting, approachable menu, hosting weekly events open to the public, and giving back to the community through our partnerships with local charities,” General Manager Leslie Hill explained.

Polo Bar & Grill stands out with its weekly events, as well as close ties to the equestrian community and local fundraisers. Positioned on the only remaining public golf course in Wellington, the restaurant offers seasonal golf events, show jumping on Wednesdays and Fridays during the winter season, Big Dogs Night Out benefiting Big Dog Ranch Rescue, arena polo every Sunday evening, and Western in Wellington on Saturday nights, with the J.C. Cowgirls taking the limelight and capping off the night with the sounds of country music during Southern Rock Saturdays.

“We want the new Polo Bar & Grill to be a taste of the past; a throwback to the original Wellington, which was fun and filled with good camaraderie,” Sassoon said. “We want our restaurant to be a place for jumpers, polo players and dressage people, as well as non-equestrians, to decompress and enjoy a relaxing night out. It’s a place where they can come and have a great meal, a couple of cocktails, have fun, and just mingle with people in and out of the equestrian and polo world, just like the old vintage Wellington, the way it used to be.”

Polo Bar & Grill is located at 2470 Greenview Cove Drive in Wellington. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information, visit or call (561) 429-2049.


Don Chepo’s Taco Shop Takes Mexican Food To A New Level

Don Chepo’s Taco Shop Takes Mexican Food To A New Level

Fashion Cuisine Group co-founders Dustin Parfitt and Juan Gando have completed the creation of their new Wellington taco eatery. Don Chepo’s Taco Shop is a restaurant that they created to offer a laid-back, Florida-style Mexican restaurant for families and locals to enjoy.

Parfitt is the executive chef of the local restaurant group, while Gando is the restaurateur. They both pride themselves in what Don Chepo’s has to offer, from fresh ingredients to its family atmosphere.

“Everything in this restaurant has a history,” Gando said. “We built it with our hands, like the tables, the frames, everything you see is with a little bit of love. Everything has a story.”

The choice to venture into a taco eatery was a chance to continue working with different styles of cuisine and break away from what the Fashion Cuisine Group already offers in the community.

“Something that I’ve always been good at is making delicious food, as I’ve been a chef for, gosh, 16 years. I’ve developed my own style,” Parfitt said. “I can kind of have different flavors at each place.”

So, when the two co-owners decided to create a new dining experience, they knew they wanted it to be based around tacos.

“We have so many fine dining restaurants in one town,” Parfitt said. “We’ve got Oli’s, the Grille, White Horse, and we wanted a more casual, laid-back, atmosphere, with games for the kids to play, and just a more reasonable price point.”

While the other Fashion Cuisine restaurants cater to a high-end diner, Parfitt and Gando want Don Chepo’s to be a place where families with children feel welcome to come by for a bite to eat.

The first thing to make note of are Don Chepo’s house-made corn tortillas.

“It’s something really special. They have to be made fresh every day,” Parfitt said. “Right now, we’re cooking them. It’s right before lunch, and we store them hot, and as soon as they’re gone, we make more.”

Parfitt said the corn tortilla is something both he and Gando take tremendous pride in.

“There is no comparison to a corn tortilla that you can buy in the store,” Parfitt said. “Once you cook those tortillas down, the texture is just not the same. The texture of our corn is more of like a flour texture. It’s really soft, and it’s delicious.”

For $29, the Small Platter is a great way to have a first experience of what Don Chepo’s offers on the menu.

“It’s a chef’s choice of tacos, usually it’s pollo, al pastor and usually the asada, which is a steak,” Parfitt said. “Smoked pork with a little bit of chorizo, pineapple and some pickled red onion. You get rice, beans, cucumber salad, a tamale, the grilled corn and also our house-made hot sauce.”

While Parfitt serves as executive chef, Gando designed the drink menu at Don Chepo’s. A special cocktail on the menu is the Mercadito, a margarita with muddled berries and more. Mercadito isn’t just a name; it’s an action.

“When you go to the flea market, you take your basket, and you go and buy a lot of berries, or you buy a lot of fruit,” Gando said. “This is pretty much a fresh berry margarita, which is blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and you put two ounces of tequila, any preference that people have, and ice… We make our own sour mix and shake it really hard. It’s all about the shake.”

Parfitt said it pairs great with the tacos al pastor. “Smoky pork — cool it down with a little bit spicy margarita,” Parfitt said.

Meaning and history is a theme at Don Chepo’s, and it’s in the name.

“My dad used to call me that,” Gando said. “It’s a guy in Ecuador. I am from Ecuador. My name is Juan Gando, and since a baby, he used to call me, ‘You are the chepo.’ It’s like the cool guy in the United States.”

So, the moniker is a family name, and that is what makes Don Chepo’s come together in harmony, Gando said.

“The whole thing about me and Dustin, we are like a family,” Gando said. “We have a great team. The team we have is amazing. It’s all pretty much family.”

Gando also takes responsibility to build rapport with all the people who dine at the restaurant.

“My place is to make sure people come happy and leave happy,” Gando said. “So, that is always our goal. Since the day we met, it’s the service. We provide service, and of course amazing food, decent prices, kids welcome. This is a family place. It’s not just a bar. It’s for a family. It’s Wellington.”

Don Chepo’s Taco Shop is located in Wellington Green Square at 10660 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 170, in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 660-7391 or visit