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With all due respect to that food-wine-Guy Fieri tornado that blitzed South Beach in February, Broward County also craves a big culinary bash on its beaches. And one such festival — beneath a gigantic white tent, no less — is landing on Hollywood beach this spring.
The second edition of Savor SoFLO, returning April 30-May 1, will bring 80 acclaimed local chefs, restaurants, breweries and vendors to a 25,000-square-foot tent on the sands behind Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. Tickets went on sale March 2 for the two-day beachfront event parked next to the Hollywood Broadwalk, what organizer Tammy Gail dubs a “show-stopping celebration” with chef cooking demonstrations, talks and unlimited food, wine and beer tastings.
“[South Beach Wine and Food Festival] in Miami-Dade is world-class, but we wanted to create something that has that same ambition, and present it well and properly with local chefs,” Gail says.
The lineup is still being tinkered with, but participating restaurants so far include the sports breastaurant Twin Peaks, the Casino @ Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale ramen house Noodle Station, local chains Bolay and Vicky Bakery, and multiple downtown Hollywood restaurants, including pizzeria Gioia Eat and kebab shop Drastix. Margaritaville, the host hotel, will feature dishes from Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant. Local brewhouses Funky Buddha, Hollywood Brewing Co. and Islamorada Brewing Co. will supply suds, while national brands will sling high-end spirits, including Angel’s Envy, Crown Royal, Tanqueray, Chandon, Bacardi and Casamigos.
The city of Hollywood greenlit Gail’s second annual festival in November, giving her more time to invite more chefs and other tastemakers, she says. That wasn’t the case at the inaugural Savor SoFLO last June, when Hollywood’s city commission approved her festival plan less than three months before the event. It also came together amid pandemic delays, staffing shortages and travel restrictions that brought fewer tourists to South Florida’s shores, she says.
“We had issues with spirits companies not being able to travel to the event because of tight COVID rules,” says Gail, who also programs sister festivals Cocoa Beach Uncorked and Savor St. Pete. “We had to put our culinary competition on the shelf because restaurants were trying to survive and couldn’t do it properly.”
Some eight restaurants participated at the time; now, Gail is in negotiations to triple that number under the Grand Tasting tent. Also planned: live painting from local artists whose murals are splashed on restaurant walls around Broward County.
“There will be pop-up galleries next to the restaurant booths, sort of like Art Basel meets Savor SoFLO,” Gail adds. “The idea is to build up the festival slowly, and keep it loose. Bigger isn’t always better. It’s cooler to have the velvet-rope mentality.”
Hollywood’s citywide ban on single-use plastics used by city vendors also means Savor SoFLO must be mindful of conservation, Gail says. All dishes are served with plates made from compostable sugarcane and utensils made from avocado pits, while drinks are served with pasta straws and biodegradable cups made from corn.
The Savor SoFLO wine and food festival will return April 30-May 1 to the sand behind the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, at 1111 N. Ocean Drive. Hours are 1-4 p.m. each day. General admission is $85 and $125 for VIP, which includes early access at noon. Go to SavorSoFLO.com.