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George Koulouris named his restaurant Borsalino after the jaunty Italian fedora. He thinks your weekend breakfast outings have become old hat.
Chicken and waffles? How about crispy duck wings and pancakes?
Koulouris just signed a deal to bring the second location of Borsalino to downtown Fort Lauderdale, and expects to open in September in the Waverly Building, at Broward Boulevard and U.S. 1 (the old Café Collective space).
The original Borsalino debuted in downtown Miami about a month into pandemic closures last year, staying afloat on takeout and word-of-mouth Yelping about its distinctive menu until its casually chic dining room and patio captured a growing clientele in the fall.
Serving premium cups of Julius Meinl coffee, Koulouris describes Borsalino as a “high-end European cafe with an American twist.”
The timing and location are perfect for a new Borsolino, says Koulouris, who grew up in Athens, Greece, and became familiar with South Florida during visits to see his father, who ran a construction company in Boca Raton. He and his wife live in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood.
“I was always a fan of Fort Lauderdale. There are a lot of young professionals in the area. The next couple of years, there’s gonna be huge development in Fort Lauderdale, so I wanted to be a part of that,” says Koulouris, who is considering future locations in Boca Raton and Coral Springs.
A world traveler, Koulouris once operated two restaurants in Athens, then owned the Greek restaurant Meraki in Coconut Grove. Prior to opening Borsalino, he spent two years in Dallas.
Which brings us to Koulouris’ provocative duck wings and pancakes.
You may be familiar with duck in combination with savory so-called Chinese (or moo shu) pancakes, which are almost tortilla thin. Borsalino’s dish is nothing like that.
It all begins innocently enough with thick buttermilk pancakes — Koulouris is a fanatic — topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup, plus bacon and crumbles of chocolate brownie. Then things get interesting, with fresh sliced jalapenos, scallions and the star of the show, crispy duck wings.
“I used to eat a lot of chicken and waffles, but I like duck a lot, so I tried to make it with pancakes, and it turned out nice,” Koulouris says. “I wanted jalapenos, because when I used to live in Dallas, I loved jalapenos, you know? I was trying to put jalapenos everywhere.” [Laughs]
Of the duck wings, Koulouris says: “We slow-cook them in the oven and we finish them in a pan, so it has this nice crust.”
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Signature breakfast menu items include avocado toast enlivened with feta cheese, the smoked salmon croissant (baked in house) and keto French toast. For lunch and dinner, there’s a duck wing bowl, a coffee-infused short rib sandwich and salmon pasta, among other entrees.
The Miami location, at 119 SE First Ave., closes at 5 p.m. daily (4 p.m. on Sunday), but the Fort Lauderdale restaurant will be open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Along with top-shelf coffee and teas, there will be a menu of wine and beer. A DJ will entertain on weekends.