Now open: Carousel Club at Gulfstream Park, Skunkworts Brewing in West Palm Beach

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Apr 06, 2022 2:10 PM

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An outdoor lounge area at Carousel Club in Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.

An outdoor lounge area at Carousel Club in Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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Carousel Club at Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach

Described as an “open-air gathering spot” for food, cocktails and entertainment, this dining destination had a celeb-filled sneak peek at the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 30. But plans to open at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in February were delayed until April 1. So named because of the antique carousel bar at its center, the trackside venue has pop-ups by Spris Artisan Pizza, Los Altos Taqueria and Ms. Cheezious with more to come. Carousel Club is open noon until late evening (with DJs spinning) Fridays-Sundays. 901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach; 954-228-3378,

Gelato & Co, a new high-end gelateria, has landed on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Gelato & Co, a new high-end gelateria, has landed on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. (Gelato & Co. / Courtesy)

Gelato & Co., Fort Lauderdale

This high-end gelateria chain opened its 14th worldwide location on Las Olas Boulevard in March, following outposts in Portugal, Puerto Rico, Italy and the Cayman Islands. The sweet shop, registered to Luca Saponaro and Carlos Duarte, features 23 flavors including Stracciatella, tiramisu, Nutella and cherry cheesecake, along with coffee cakes, pastries and lemon-spearmint vegan sorbet. 1201 E. Las Olas Blvd.; 754-701-4825,

This chicken shack devoted to comfort foods of the crunchy and deep-fried variety opened in March on the corner of Commercial Boulevard and 441. Wow – whose slogan is “We will WOW! you at the first bite & keep you WOW! until the last bite” – is registered to Coral Springs wingmen Dilip Jambhekar and Raveendran Sambanthan. Along with 123 flavors of wings from spicy garlic parm to “Bubba’s Butt Blaster,” there are sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas and nachos, breaded shrimp and calamari, and 25 types of French fries and poutines. 4231 W. Commercial Blvd.; 954-900-9890,

Skunkworts Brewing Concern, West Palm Beach

This oddly named brewhouse and taproom debuted in March inside West Palm Beach’s funky Northwood neighborhood, and comes from Steve Karlson, a pilot who flew cargo planes around the Caribbean before retiring. The brewery takes its moniker from Skunk Works, the cutting-edge Lockheed Martin laboratory that produces some of the world’s most sophisticated aircraft, and features aviation-themed brews like Kill Devil Pils (a German-style pilsner) and Bird Strike ( an American IPA). 525 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach; 561-855-1603,

Mercato Italiano, Boca Raton

This gourmet market just opened in Royal Palm Place. From the same family behind Cosa Duci Homemade Italian Bakery (also in Boca Raton at The Shops at University Park), the retail offshoot offers pastas, olive oils, deli meats, sandwiches (panino), cheeses, ready-to-go dishes and, of course, breads and pastries. “The ladies at the counter are Italian, the products are Italian… the vibe is Italian,” explains Silvia Fausto, who co-owns both businesses with her mother, Giovanna. “We are unique because we offer unique Italian imported items such as guanciale, which is made to make the classic ‘Carbonara’ dish.” There is patio seating where you can enjoy coffee drinks, wine and soft drinks imported from Italy. 501 SE Mizner Blvd. #80, 561-306-8807,,

This Mediterranean-Turkish restaurant from owners Sabah Doksoz and Rain Sahutoglu opened in March a block west of Young Circle with live music and a menu of cold and warm meze and kebabs under chef Resat Aydin. The restaurant, whose name translates to “all good things” in Turkish, features mixed seafood kofte (balls of minced meat blended with spices), stuffed eggplant dolma and lahmacun, or Turkish pizza topped with ground meat, onions, tomatoes, cheese and spices. 1900 Harrison St.; 954-251-2555,

The Bautista family at their newly-opened John the Baker franchise in Davie. This is the third location in South Florida with others in Pembroke Pines and Coral Springs.

The Bautista family at their newly-opened John the Baker franchise in Davie. This is the third location in South Florida with others in Pembroke Pines and Coral Springs. (John the Baker / Courtesy)

There was a ceremonial “lighting of the ovens” on Monday, April 4, signifying that a new John the Baker franchise was open in the Plaza 7601 shopping center. The Bautista family owns the latest location of the venerable concept that enjoys a sizeable and loyal fan base. With another franchise in Coral Springs and the original (dating back to 1996 with a precursor Mario the Baker opening in 1960) in Pembroke Pines, the boutique-brand is known for generous portions, signature garlic rolls and, of course, pizza. “This is a dream come true and I know customers are going to love it here,” says patriarch Gilmer Bautista. The new 2200 square-foot eatery will seat 45 and will offer dine-in, take-out, delivery and catering. 7613 Davie Road Extension (between Stirling and Griffin), Davie. 954-404-9143.

This casual cafe chain is known for its acai bowls, green bowls and fruit smoothies. Already there are franchises in Wellington and Boca Raton (which, like the Boynton Beach restaurant, is owned by South Floridians Rob and Michelle Meadows). 6691 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach. or

Cork & Barrel Wine Bar and Tapas, Tamarac

Replacing the old Tamarac Diner is this upscale neighborhood restaurant next to the Paradigm Cinemas movie theater, which opened March 28. Cork & Barrel 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;

Rossano’s Pizza, Delray Beach

When Delray Beach pizzamaker Marcelo Rossano lost his vintage pizza camper in a car wreck last spring, the Delray community he served raised over $13,000 to help him buy another one. After spending the past year turning that new trailer into Rossano’s Pizza 2.0, his mobile pizzeria reopened March 28 and is back to slinging 900-degree-fired Neapolitan-style pies. The pizza truck is parked outside Eclectic Eats, a caterer north of downtown Delray Beach. 1731 N. Federal Highway; 561-406-0101,

Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Plantation

Tacocraft became the first restaurant to open in the shiny new shopping/restaurant/entertainment/residential/hotel center Plantation Walk on March 18. There are other Tacocrafts in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and South Miami, but the latest location in Plantation will be the largest and the first to have both indoor and outdoor bars, as well as two patios. The concept is owned by Handcrafted Hospitality and has A-list partners, including gridiron great Dan Marino, radio star Paul Castronovo and restaurateurs Anthony Bruno, Pat Marzano and Marc Falsetto. 321 North University Drive.

Addiction Kitchen, Lighthouse Point

Lobster tails, baby back ribs, fried pork chops, penne alla vodka pasta, lemon pepper-seasoned wings, Parmesan-crusted hamburgers and other surf-and-turf comfort food is on the menu at this restaurant, which debuted in March. The kitchen, which is registered to owners Ernso and Dumersie Dorvilus, also features hot subs, rice bowls and six desserts. 2131 NE 48th St., Lighthouse Point; 954-782-4238

Calvin Dumplings, Fort Lauderdale

When Fort Lauderdale’s Calvin Shea started an Instagram dumpling shop with his mother, Shirley, at the height of pandemic quarantines, 80,000 followers fell in love with his tantalizing tapestries of potstickers — and his 80-year-old mom. Now, two years later, the duo have opened this takeout-only restaurant in an unusual place, a commercial kitchen called 1315 Kitchen at Jack & Jill Children’s Center. The shop, which opened this month and accepts pickup orders only, serves six types of dumplings (including pork, chicken, shrimp, shitake mushroom), along with scallion-based dumpling sauces. 1315 Kitchen at Jack & Jill Children’s Center, 1315 W. Broward Blvd.;

Niran’s Kitchen and Sushi Bar, Deerfield Beach

A hub of Laotian cuisine — which is practically nonexistent in South Florida — this restaurant from owner Vatsana Nirandone opened in March on Federal Highway, a block south of East Hillsboro Boulevard. The menu features fried meatballs (with fish sauce and chili dip), larb (a Laotian minced meat salad), stir-fry noodles, curried dishes, fried rice and lettuce wraps such as sakoo yat sai, peanut-stuffed tapioca dumplings with fried garlic. 61 S. Federal Highway; 954-708-2169

The Gringo Empanadas and More, Delray Beach

This takeout-only Tex-Mex eatery opened this month and replaces the old Surf Shack Subs Smoothies & Bowls, which permanently closed last December after struggling with staff shortages. Along with acai and pitaya bowls, the Gringo specializes in seven empanadas stuffed with trendy beef birria, lobster mac and cheese, Buffalo chicken, fajita veggie — and even dulce de leche. 916 SE Fifth Ave.; 561-455-2533,

Casa Monarca Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar, Fort Lauderdale

This Mexican restaurant and spirits hub replaces the short-lived TooJay’s Deli along a busy stretch of North Federal Highway. Casa Monarca is owned by Cristian Mejia and four New Hampshire-based partners, and leans on a fusion of trendy Mexican (birria tacos, fried ice cream) and traditional dishes, including molcajetes and chori pollo (layers of chicken, grilled onions and chorizo topped with cheese). 2980 N. Federal Highway; 954-765-6864,

HoneyBelle, Palm Beach Gardens

James Beard Award-semifinalist Lindsay Autry (The Regional in West Palm Beach) brings this all-day Mediterranean-meets-Southern kitchen to PGA National Resort and Spa. Along with wood-fired pizzas and breakfast buffets, entrees include lemon and rosemary-brined fried chicken, butter-poached lobster and trofie pasta, and Berkshire pork chop with stone-ground grits and cider gastrique. Autry’s restaurant joins the recently opened Butcher’s Club steakhouse from Jeremy Ford – another chef with James Beard bona fides – as part of PGA’s $100 million makeover. 400 Ave of the Champions; 561-627-2000,

Buoy One Seafood, Fort Lauderdale

After a year and change of dishing salty-sweet New England eats out of its distinctive seafood shack on Commercial Boulevard, Buoy Bites picked up anchor and reopened March 15 as the rebranded Buoy One Seafood on North Federal Highway, in the space formerly occupied by Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen. Buoy One shares its name with founding chef Dave Girard’s seafood markets on Long Island, and Buoy’s menu is filled with fresh catches, clam chowder, clam fritters, clambakes and fish-fry baskets. 4391 N. Federal Highway;

Matchbox and Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, Fort Lauderdale

Two Thompson Hospitality restaurants are opening side-by-side at Society Las Olas along the New River. Big Buns Damn Good Burgers debutedin late February with 40 indoor and 75 outdoor seats, and offers all types of stacked burgers or burger bowls with side options like fried Brussels sprouts and milkshakes that can be boozy or not. Matchbox, the other restaurant scheduled to open April 8, will take on a larger space with 90 indoor and 124 outdoor seats, serving items like the “ginormous meatball” and “hangover burrito.” 221 SW 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale;,

Mamma Mia Italian Bistro, Wilton Manors

Expected to open in early May, this is the first U.S. eatery from Federica Priolo, who comes from a family of restaurateurs in Italy. “Mamma Mia is gonna be an Italian bistro, not a gourmet restaurant,” she says. “Here people can taste the traditional Italian recipes. But the signature is going to be 100% the handmade fresh pasta that we are sure Americans will love.” True to its name, Mamma Mia will have Federica’s mother Lory helming the kitchen. The restaurant is opening in the same space as the recently shuttered Via Vai Italian Deli & Wine Bar (and before that, Wolsen Caffe). 2043 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors.

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 April 7 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;

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 April 12 and will specialize in takeaway dishes that are easy to reheat. 4802 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach,

La Piazzetta, Hallandale Beach

Wood oven-fired pies distinguish this upscale pizzeria scheduled to reopen in the summer after moving from its former perch near Little Haiti to the trendy Atlantic Village shopping complex in Hallandale Beach. There are 33 Neapolitan-style pizzas on the menu, some with unusual toppings (homemade pistachio and artichoke creams, pecans, oven-baked potatoes, spicy ‘nduja), along with fresh burrata, paninis, carpaccio and insalata. 801 N. Federal Highway;

Ela Curry Kitchen, Palm Beach Gardens

After two years of global small plates at his Stage Kitchen & Bar, chef Pushkar Marathe (Ghee Indian Kitchen, 3030 Ocean) veers into traditional Indian entrees with Ela Curry Kitchen, opening this May inside the Donald Ross Village plaza. The 65-seater, which Marathe is opening with Stage business partner Andrew Dugard, will serve a la carte Indian street food and thali-style entrees, in which small bowls of chutneys, naan, rice, lentils and protein are served on a large platter. 4650 Donald Ross Road

Billing itself as Wilton Manor’s “elite elixir bar,” Kava Jive will offer a variety of specialty botanically infused teas and, of course, kava when it opens in June. Owners Anthony Kessler and Vincent Russo say that Kava Jive will be “an upscale bar conducive to productivity during the day … where you can vibe and jive at night.” The space located in the people-magnet Shoppes of Wilton Manors strip mall will feature local art and live entertainment (bands, DJs, spoken word artists, etc). 2242 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors.

This Tampa-based build-your-own-bowl chain is opening five new Florida locations, with the first debuting early summer in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Bowls, salads, wraps and quesadillas begin with a base of kale, spinach, brown rice or cauliflower and include proteins (garlic-herb chicken, salmon, ahi tuna), mix-ins and sauces. The chain also serves smoothies, pressed juices and lemonade. 506 N. Federal Highway;

I Heart Mac & Cheese, Fort Lauderdale

The Fort Lauderdale-born franchise that made its name elevating elbow macaroni from side dish to gooey main course will open its latest location on April 14 in the Cypress Creek Station plaza, adding to its deep roster of fast-casual eateries in 24 states. Customers here can customize their mac and cheese bowls or grilled-cheese sandwiches in assembly-line fashion with a choice of vegetables, eight cheeses and nine proteins including short rib, Buffalo chicken and mojo pulled pork. 6317 N. Andrews Ave.;

Walt’s American Grille & Bar, Plantation

Rising in the space once occupied by a Carrabba’s Italian Grill, which closed after a Plantation gas explosion destroyed a strip of businesses behind it in 2019, Walt’s will debut later this spring in the Market on University plaza. The American restaurant comes from Steve Swanson’s Nosnaws group, which is also planning to open three Big Whiskey American Restaurant & Bar locations in South Florida, starting in Sunrise. Walt’s dishes a farm-to-table-style menu including New York strips and honey-glazed salmon, along with a happy-hour menu that includes habanera chicken wings, tuna nachos and shrimp ceviche. Walt’s opened its first location in Boca Raton last May. 1003 S. University Drive;

The Salty Donut will open its seventh location in West Palm Beach's Rosemary Square this spring.

The Salty Donut will open its seventh location in West Palm Beach’s Rosemary Square this spring. (Courtesy of The Salty Donut via Yelp)

The Salty Donut, West Palm Beach

Started in 2015 in Wynwood by Amanda Pizarro and Andy Rodriguez, with recipes from itinerant pastry chef Max Santiago, the Salty Donut will open its seventh location this summer at trendy Rosemary Square. The Salty specializes in over-the-top, brioche-raised treats such as horchata, prickly pear margarita, brown butter and “churro + dulce de leche.” The shop, dubbed one of the “31 best donut shops in America” if you ask Thrillist, has been teasing its presence in West Palm Beach since October, with a camper pop-up parked in the square. 700 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 200;

This new gastropub replacing the former Mellow Mushroom off Atlantic Avenue will debut this spring. In a testament to how fast Delray Beach’s dining scene moves these days, Bar 25 owners Nick Laudano and Anthony Giovanniello – who operate Boca Raton’s Nick’s New Haven Style Pizzeria & Bar – snapped up the lease last summer, just five days after Mellow Mushroom closed. No menu is available yet. 25 SE Sixth Ave.;

Planta Queen, Fort Lauderdale

This Asian-inspired offshoot of South Beach vegan hotspot Planta will bloom on Las Olas Boulevard in April. The upscale menu, from restaurateur Steven Salm, will feature spinach shiitake, potato truffle and crab Rangoon dumplings without a trace of meat or fish, along with plant-based sushi, cauliflower tots and dan dan noodles tossed with szechuan kamut, cilantro and coconut milk. 1201 E. Las Olas Blvd.;

Santiago’s Bodega, Fort Lauderdale

The Key West stalwart for the last 17 years will open a fourth location in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s booming Flagler Village sometime this spring. Founder and operator Jason Dugan says, “Flagler Village is a neighborhood on the move — art, restaurants, music, great energy and walkable, everything one can ask for in a neighborhood. We are excited to be a part of the growth.” The latest Santiago’s Bodega can handle 160 people inside and another 30 on the patio. There will also be a full bar, weekend brunch service. two happy hours daily and the kitchen will remain open until 1 a.m. 445 NE 4th St., Fort Lauderdale.

Antonella and Simone DiLuca photographed on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at Via Vai Deli Wine Bar in Wilton Manors.

Antonella and Simone DiLuca photographed on Tuesday February 11, 2020 at Via Vai Deli Wine Bar in Wilton Manors. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Via Vai Italian Deli and Wine Bar, Wilton Manors

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Located in a cluster of shops and restaurants across the street from Wilton Manors City Hall and Police Department, this deli/wine bar was a longtime dream of Antonella Diluca and Simone Raccanello. The couple opened Via Vai two months after emigrating here from Italy in December 2019. But they say their American dream isn’t dead yet. Though they sold Via Vai when they got an offer too good to pass up, Raccanello tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “We are just looking [to] open in another location.” 2043 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors,

Spatch Peri-Peri Chicken, Fort Lauderdale

The Restaurant People’s fast-casual chicken restaurant has clucked its last in downtown Fort Lauderdale, closing its final location in March after four years. Spatch specialized in sandwiches, salads, chicken platters and bowls spiced with African peri-peri peppers, but struggled to maintain a strong customer base throughout its run. 468 N. Federal Highway

Pizza Cucinova, Fort Lauderdale

This short-lived pizzeria abruptly closed inside the former Hot Tomatoes space in mid-March, with an eviction notice for failure to pay rent tacked to the front door. The Columbus, Ohio, pizza chain began its life as an upscale offshoot of shopping mall chain Sbarro’s until Vivaria Group bought it in 2018, but since the pandemic, many locations have closed without warning. A Pizza Cucinova location remains open at 2915 E. Las Olas Blvd. 401 E. Las Olas Blvd

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