New restaurants: Meso Beach House in Delray, Matchbox and Big Buns Damn Good Burgers in Fort Lauderdale

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jan 06, 2022 6:00 AM

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Throw Social is a new entertainment village on Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue featuring ax throwing, darts, shuffleboard tables, an outdoor stage pumping live music and a menu of gastropub fare.

Throw Social is a new entertainment village on Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue featuring ax throwing, darts, shuffleboard tables, an outdoor stage pumping live music and a menu of gastropub fare. (John McCall / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Stay up to date with the South Florida dining news:

Meso Beach House, Delray Beach

With a craft-cocktail bar, patio raw bar and seafood-focused Mediterranean menu that spans grilled octopus to whole roasted branzino, Meso’s trendy fare is designed to hook tourists and the local boating set, owner Bobby Khorrami says. The restaurant, which opened in early January, is the first sister location to the original in Westchester County, N.Y. 900 E. Atlantic Ave.; 561-562-6416,

Batch New Southern Kitchen and Tap in Fort Lauderdale.

Batch New Southern Kitchen and Tap in Fort Lauderdale. (Rod Stafford Hagwood / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Batch New Southern Kitchen and Tap, Fort Lauderdale

Flagler Village is home to a second location, after West Palm Beach, of the restaurant serving Southern favorites, craft cocktails and an “epic brunch party.” The 5,500 square-foot restaurant opened Dec. 30 with an outdoor patio in the former Mellow Mushroom location. The locally sourced farm-to-table, comfort food menu includes slow-smoked burnt ends, shrimp n’ grits and a BBQ jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwich. 525 N Federal Highway;

Throw Social, Delray Beach

A 12,000-square-foot entertainment village on Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue is now open inside former clubby Italian grill il Bacio. The project is the second location of Throw Social’s Washington, D.C. flagship, and features ax throwing, darts, shuffleboard tables, an outdoor stage pumping live music and a menu of gastropub fare. 29 SE Second Ave.; 800-561-0755,

One Lebanese Cuisine, Sunrise

The storefront cafe opened in mid December serving modernized family recipes originating from the south of Lebanon, a region known for its olive oil. Vegetables and olive oil form the foundation of every dish. The slim menu features hot and cold small plates, salads and entrees such as lamb and tenderloin kebabs, and kibbeh nayeh. 1396 SW 160th Ave., Sunrise; 954-870-6986,

This healthy fast-casual franchise specializing in salads, wraps, grain and acai bowls, sandwiches and flatbread pizzas has debuted its first Florida location (and 12th overall) on North Federal Highway. The 1,500-square-foot storefront, which opened in late November, also has Coolgreens Market, a refrigerator filled with healthy grab-and-go items. A Coral Springs location will next open by summer. 1841 S. Federal Highway, Suite 400; 561-865-5673,

Paisa Bites, Oakland Park

A rainbow of garlic mayo, pineapple sauces, crushed potato chips and even quail eggs top the hot dogs, hamburgers and empanadas at this Colombian street-food shack in downtown Oakland Park. The restaurant, which opened in November and comes from owners Tatiana Vasquez and Alejandra Canaveral, also serves salchipapas (pan-fried hot dogs and French fries) and maizitos (a bubbling dish of melted cheese and corn), along with tres leches cake and Colombian-style milk pudding. 3499 N. Dixie Highway; 860-985-2188,

Dos Amigos Tacos has opened at the Delray Marketplace in Delray Beach.

Dos Amigos Tacos has opened at the Delray Marketplace in Delray Beach. (Brustman Carrino / Courtesy)

Dos Amigos Tacos, Delray Beach

Founded by Derek Mazer and chef Michael Jameson, two employees from Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ next door, this fast-casual taqueria slings 18 house-made tacos ranging from familiar (chicken, carne asada) to trendy (sliced tenderloin) to adventurous (Philly cheesesteak). The 2,303-square-foot restaurant at Delray Marketplace also serves quesadillas, burritos and salad bowls. 14917 Lyons Road; 561-908-2161,

Angelo’s Craveable Italian, Fort Lauderdale

A to-go restaurant dishing entrees designed for takeout, Angelo’s serves Italian classics such as meatball heroes, oven-baked lemon oregano chicken, eggplant Parmesan, fettucine alfredo, salads, cannolis and “nonna’s cheesecake.” Angelo’s replaces the former Empire Pizza and comes from Angelo Landi (formerly of Miami-based Southern comfort food eatery Yardbird). The first Angelo’s debuted earlier this year in Boca Raton’s Mizner Plaza. 15 N. Federal Highway, 954-467-9997;

Bandolero Taqueria y Mas, Fort Lauderdale

A quaint, festive location is taking shape in Himmarshee Village serving tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Cocktails include La Bruja (Grey Goose, watermelon, hibiscus, pineapple and lemon) and Señor Bandoleros (Patron Reposado, honey and lime juice). For dessert, Nutella nachos and “a really good flan.” 208 SW Second St.; 786-913-9307

Pura Vida, Fort Lauderdale

This Miami-based chain opened its ninth location — its first in Broward County — on Dec. 17 in the Society Las Olas building downtown. Its all-day breakfast and lunch menu features juices and smoothies, kombucha, baked goods and a range of avocado toasts, free-range egg sandwiches, wraps, bowls and salads, with a variety of gluten-free and vegan sweet treats. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 221 SW First Ave.,

Palmyra Lounge, Wilton Manors

Ahmad Alkhaldi opened his restaurant and hookah bar in Wilton Manors because “this is my community. I’m gay. I wanted a Middle Eastern place I can go to with my boyfriends and not be judged.” Palmyra, open since October, seats about 100. Popular dishes are kebobs ($18.99-$25.75), kibbeh ($9.99) and hummus ($8.99). This is his first restaurant, after working for AT&T in South Florida and previously living in Syria and Saudi Arabia. Why call it Palmyra, a city in Syria? Alkhaldi’s family owned farms there, but more importantly, it is where his grandparents fell in love. “Palmyra means love to my family.” 2031 Wilton Drive; 754-216-2727.

La Capricciosa, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

After opening last March, the pizzeria and wine cellar from married owners Liz and Massimo Restrepo has rebranded from Due Compari to La Capricciosa, after the style of pizza blanketed in mozzarella, Italian baked ham, mushrooms, artichokes and tomato. The restaurant reopened in December and the menu, still being retooled, will feature paninis, charcuterie boards and pinsa, an oblong-shaped Roman-style pizza made from a blend of high-protein flours. 4331 N. Ocean Drive; 786-301-9493,

Taj Indian Grill, Cooper City

Almost from the moment this restaurant had a soft opening about two weeks ago, it has had lines for takeout. And that’s based on nothing but word of mouth and glowing online customer ratings. So far the popular dishes are the garlic naan, butter naan, tandoori chicken as well as butter chicken, aloo gobi and masala dosa, according to one of the owners, Melepurackal V. Chacko. 5602 S Flamingo Road, Cooper City. 954-314-7314.

Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen, Hollywood

From the family who founded Outback Steakhouse, this build-your-own-bowl concept is adding to its list of Florida locations. The 2,391-square foot restaurant officially opened Dec. 16 offering indoor and outdoor seating. Pick your protein, veggies, sauce and go. Vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free selections are on the menu. 3255 Hollywood Blvd Suite 1;

Holly Blue, Fort Lauderdale

Corvina Seafood Grill, Boca Raton

Acclaimed Washington, D.C., chef Jeff Tunks’ new ocean forward menu offers locally sourced daily catches, seafood towers and a selection of oysters. The 235-seat indoor/outdoor restaurant also has a separate happy hour menu that includes Rock Shrimp Nachos, Tito’s Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters and Crispy Smashed Potatoes Patatas Bravas with a spicy smoked paprika sauce. 110 Plaza Real South;

Drift Kitchen & Bar, Delray Beach

Bruno’s Eats, Fort Lauderdale

Owners Bruno “Chef Max” Maxino and Peggy Ann Blain, who’ve been a food-truck power couple since 2013, have opened their first storefront on Fort Lauderdale’s 13th Street for take-out. Dishes, which mash up Haitian, Jamaican, Latin American and New York street-food influences, include the griot burrito stuffed with pulled pork, red and green peppers, mushroom rice and secret sauces. 603 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-864-9679

Carrot Express, Coconut Creek and Weston

A 2,350-square-foot outpost of this Miami-based health-focused chain will simultaneously opened Dec. 10 at the Promenade at Coconut Creek and at Weston Town Center. The restaurant, which features salads, wraps, power bowls, vegetarian burgers, soups, stuffed sweet potatoes and spinach pie melts, is expanding into Broward and Palm Beach counties. Locations are planned for west Boca Raton, Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Plantation and Pembroke Pines. 4443 Lyons Road, Suite F-106, Coconut Creek, and 1732 Main St., Weston;

Dune by Laurent Tourondel, Fort Lauderdale

The elegant beachfront restaurant inside the Auberge Beach Residences and Spa that closed in June has reopened under new owner Laurent Tourondel, the Michelin-star chef best known for his BLT Prime and BLT Steak brands. Dinner and happy hour are available now while lunch and brunch are still coming soon. 2200 N. Ocean Blvd.; 754-900-4059,

Night Owl Cookies and Cream, Pembroke Pines

Eighteen months after announcing its first Broward location, this Miami-spawned cookie monster finally baked its first batch for the public on Nov. 23 in Pembroke Pines. Night Owl comes from Andrew Gonzalez, who dropped out of Miami Dade College to fire up his cookie empire and earned a ranking on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of top young entrepreneurs for his effort. On the menu are 12 gourmet cookies including Ave Maria (guava, Maria cookies, white chocolate chips) and Plantain Papi (plantains and Nutella topped with Nutella drizzle). Along with three Miami locations, future bakeries are planned for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. 217 N. Hiatus Road; 954-505-4143,

Spadella Restaurant & Café, Delray Beach

This Italian fast-casual comfort food from partners Felletti Max, De Lorenzo Maurizio and Habona Fuad had its grand opening Dec. 1 in western Delray Beach. Spadella uses Italy-sourced ingredients to flavor 14 styles of pizza, eight kinds of paninis, build-your-own pasta bowls and Italian classics, such as cannelloni with ricotta and spinach. 15280 Jog Road; 561-270-3442,

Eve on the Water, Fort Lauderdale

You may have seen this fairly new restaurant’s Chicken à la Eve dish featured on WSVN-Ch. 7’s “Bite with Belkys.” The recipe is indicative of the menu changes that owners Vandana and John Janho made when they bought what was formerly Asia Bay, only to be shut down by the pandemic on their opening day, March 11, 2020. They spent the next year re-tooling the restaurant to more of a curated food and beverage service to cut down on the number of staff needed. The two also own Posh Lounge at the Waverly at Las Olas condos. 1111 East Las Olas Blvd; 954-848-9900;

The Fricken Good Fried Chicken at Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, opening in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The Fricken Good Fried Chicken at Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, opening in downtown Fort Lauderdale. (Brustman Carrino / Courtesy)

Matchbox and Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, Fort Lauderdale

Two Thompson Hospitality restaurants are coming to Society Las Olas along the New River in January. Matchbox will take on a larger space with 90 indoor and 124 outdoor seats, serving items like the “ginormous meatball” and “hangover burrito.” Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, with 40 indoor and 75 outdoor seats, will offer all types of stacked burgers or burger bowls with side options like fried Brussels sprouts and milkshakes that can be boozy or not. 301 SW First Ave., South Tower;,

Ya Mas! Taverna, Fort Lauderdale

The Greek eatery opening in January from Memphis Garrett’s hospitality group (No Man’s Land, Poke House, Blue Wave Sushi) promises to be a lively indoor/outdoor taverna focusing on classic and modern interpretations from Greece, Turkey, Israel and more. Executive Chef Austin Hull’s menu includes mussels, farro salad, lamb meatballs, harissa Buffalo wings. 1103 E Las Olas Boulevard,

Monarch New American Kitchen & Bar, Oakland Park

This family-owned restaurant and cocktail bar inside Oakland Park’s growing Culinary Arts District will take flight this spring and comes from married owners Brice and Leona Williams, whose dishes will include pulled pork sliders, black truffle potato salad plus a blend of Caribbean and Latin cuisine inspired by South Florida. 3492 NE 12 Ave.; 305-204-1001,

The SoSo, West Palm Beach

At this “fast-fine” café – which we hope isn’t named after the quality of its food – owners Kye Akavia, Alex DiSchino and chef Cesar Brea will bring modern American dishes such as Sichuan-seared tuna salads, herb-marinated chicken sandwiches, soups and other light entrees. The restaurant will open later this spring and will specialize in takeaway dishes that are easy to reheat. 4802 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach,

Cork & Barrel Wine Bar and Tapas, Tamarac

Replacing the old Tamarac Diner will be this upscale neighborhood restaurant next to the Paradigm Cinemas movie theater. Cork & Barrel, opening in January, comes from partners Santese Gatlin, Wendell Robbins, Lakedra Howard and Adrienne Hibbert, and features light bites, flatbreads, charcuterie boards and many varieties of wine and craft beer. 10052 W. McNab Road. Tamarac;

Colorado lamb rack will be on the menu at Morea when it opens in Januray 2022 at the Paramount Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale.

Colorado lamb rack will be on the menu at Morea when it opens in Januray 2022 at the Paramount Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale. (Brustman Carrino / Courtesy)

This Mediterranean restaurant with its expansive oceanfront view is slated to debut in February along the terrace of Paramount Fort Lauderdale condo. Expect small dish mezze/appetizers and wood-grilled meats and seafood in the 275-seat eatery. The concept comes from Lou Moshakos, the restaurateur whose LM Restaurants also includes Two Georges at The Cove Restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Oceanic in Pompano Beach and the upcoming Lucky Fish Dania Beach. 701 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

Kachi Afro Caribbean Lounge, Fort Lauderdale

I Heart Mac & Cheese, Fort Lauderdale

The fast-casual chain specializing in build-your-own macaroni and cheese bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches will have six South Florida locations when this spot north of Cypress Creek Road opens in the spring. Other locations are in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines and Jupiter. 6317 N Andrews Ave.;

Baires Grill, Fort Lauderdale

This Argentinean steakhouse hopes to open by Feb. 1 on Las Olas Boulevard, making Fort Lauderdale the fifth location after Weston, Sunny Isles, Brickell and Coral Gables. “We’ve been wanting to expand further north,” says Alejandro Koenig, chief financial officer for Baires Grill. “There is a lot of potential there, a lot of young people.” Baires Grill will fill the space formerly Talento Restaurant. 1307 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

Giorgio’s Bakery & Bistro, Fort Lauderdale

Owner Peter Tsialiamanis’ European-style restaurant-bakery, which has dished Greek and American classics on the Hollywood Intracoastal since 1996, will debut its second location this winter on Fort Lauderdale’s Galt Ocean Mile. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant, replacing the old Whale’s Bar & Grill, will offer the same menu as its flagship: wood oven-fired pizzas, 11 sandwiches on house-made baguettes, and entrees such as moussaka and baby back ribs. 3537 Galt Ocean Drive;

Blue Dog Cookhouse & Bar, Boca Raton

Billed as “New American fare with New York City roots,” this Florida offshoot of JM Spear and Morgan Nobles’ Manhattan restaurant will debut in January inside Boca Town Center, next to the Container Store. The restaurant will dish braised short rib and grilled octopus entrees, 11 types of hamburgers, brunch and craft cocktails. 6000 Glades Road, Suite 108, Boca Raton;

Rob’s Family BBQ, Plantation

Rob Scruby, the former owner of longtime pit stop Scruby’s BBQ, is now smoking meats at Rob’s Family BBQ, and plans to open a second location this February inside Plantation’s Vizcaya Square. The Plantation Rob’s, at 2,100 square feet, will mostly cater to carryout crowds and feature 14-hour slow-smoked brisket sandwiches, along with pulled chicken, smoked turkey and sides that include sweet corn nuggets, crispy breaded okra and fresh cornbread. 837 N. Nob Hill Road;

Truli Italian Food & Drink, Coconut Creek

This modern Italian trattoria and bar will open in January inside the Promenade at Coconut Creek, replacing the former Ciao Cucina space that shuttered this spring. Truli comes from Parkland restaurateur Doug Zeif (former senior vice-president of the Cheesecake Factory) and features build-your-own pasta bowls (with 10 pasta types and nine sauces from alfredo to “Sunday gravy”), build-your-own pizzas, and old-school entrees such as chicken Parmesan and steak tagliatta. 4443 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek;

Coyo Taco, Fort Lauderdale

This clubby high-end taqueria from Wynwood is migrating north to Las Olas and expects to debut in mid-January inside the former SuViche on the ground floor of the downtown Bank of America building. The 2,905-square-foot restaurant won’t feature a speakeasy lounge like its Miami counterparts, co-owner Sven Vogtland says, but the taqueria will serve hand-pressed corn tortillas filled with cochinita pibil, alambre, pollo al carbon and crispy duck, plus salads and burrito bowls. 401 E. Las Olas Blvd.;

Phat Boy Sushi and Kitchen, Davie

The trendy Japanese mini-chain from chef-owner John Maser, which has been on a roll recently, will open its next location in Davie in January, replacing the former Burger 21 on University Drive. The new location, which had a “Coming Soon” banner posted above the door, will feature shoyu ramen bowls, yakitori skewers, katsu sliders, a full-liquor bar with craft cocktails, and sushi staples including toro and Hamachi. 2451 University Drive, Davie;

Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza, Pembroke Pines

The name of this Miami-spawned pizzeria may sound boastful, but the proof of Renato Viola’s pizza supremacy comes straight from the U.S. government. Viola, who grew up in the Italian province of Salerno, gained entry into the United States under an 0-1 visa, handed to “individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement.” Food & Wine shouted out Mister 01 in this year’s ranking of “The Best Pizza in Every State.” Viola’s 13-inch Neapolitan pies are star-shaped, with a pouch of ricotta cheese in each of the eight points, and come with ingredients such as gorgonzola, local honey, spicy salami and imported coffee. The Pembroke Pines location, opening Jan. 11, is his sixth Florida pizzeria, and more outposts will follow in 2022 in Boca Raton, Aventura and Melbourne. 10640 Pines Blvd, Suite F101, Pembroke Pines;

Tacocraft Taqueria and Tequila Bar, Plantation

Expanding Tulum vibes into west Broward, this Mexican-themed eatery’s fourth location is set to open in February inside the new Plantation Walk complex. The restaurant from Handcrafted Hospitality (Henry’s Sandwich Station, Pizzacraft) touts an expansive tequila selection and homemade tortillas expected to hit booths and bar counters inside the new 4,000-square-foot space in January. 333 N University Drive;

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The Katherine, Fort Lauderdale

A Japanese strip-mall sushi haven and a fixture in Parkland’s Riverstone Shoppes for 10 years, Japango permanently closed at the end of December. The restaurant specialized in sashimi and vegan rolls, bento boxes, hibachi fried rice and entrees that included New York teriyaki strip and chicken katsu. 7367 N. State Road 7

Hollywood Brewing Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale

Owner Johnny Quinones’ taproom, which debuted a month before pandemic lockdowns, closed in early December on Las Olas Boulevard. The sports-themed brewpub, an offshoot of the Hollywood Brewing Co. brewery on the Hollywood Broadwalk, poured 10 brews on tap including the tropical fruit-punched Mango IPA, a full-liquor menu and pub grub, such as hamburgers and fried calamari. The brewery’s original location on the Broadwalk will remain open. 1103 E. Las Olas Blvd; Hollywood.Beer

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