Why isn’t there a greater LGBT presence in downtown Hollywood?
Hollywood’s main thoroughfare, Hollywood Blvd., runs a few blocks between the train tracks (20th St.) and Young Circle (Federal Hwy.). There are a few streets crossing and running parallel that are characterized by brick-lined walks, unique boutiques, shops, art galleries and dozens of excellent restaurants. It’s even on the National Register of Historic Places. There is some development, but nothing like it would be if it were a gathering spot for the LGBT community. So why isn’t it hopping with LGBT life? It’s only 15 minutes south of downtown Fort Lauderdale, at most a half-hour from Wilton Manors.
The area also features plenty of FREE parking along the main drag. If Wilton Manors wants to see how to reconfigure its main drag, they need look no further than this pedestrian friendly area. There’s even a convenient trolley service running seven days a week, which not only circles the downtown area, but makes runs out to the beach and Hollywood’s other dining and entertainment district, the Boardwalk. ArtsPark at Young Circle, situated between the two areas is the perfect spot for festivals and celebrations. In fact, every Monday, food trucks from across South Florida congregate in the park for a unique dining experience.
If the LGBT community is looking to spend some of its pink dollars, they’ll have plenty of variety available in downtown Hollywood. Asian options alone include Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Asian fusion at the following restaurants:
Go Bistro, 2035 Hollywood Blvd., 754-263-2826
Huang's Mandarin House, 2031 Hollywood Blvd., 954-923-1688, helensmandarinhouse.com
Iron Sushi, 1805 N. Young Circle, 954-927-1735
Nakorn Thai & Sushi, 1935 Harrison St., 954-921-1200, nakorn.us
Pho Vi ,1933 Hollywood Blvd., 954-367-7786
Red Thai & Sushi, 1924 Hollywood Blvd., 954-921-1988, redthaisushihollywood.com
For those craving French fare, the options range from simple bistro fare to haute cuisine:
Bistro 1902, 1902 Hollywood Blvd., 954-689-2229
Face, 2022 Hollywood Blvd., 754-263-2811
La Flambée, 2051 Hollywood Blvd., 954-613-5726
Le Comptoir 1902 Harrison St., 954-399-9519
Monaco 2033 Harrison St., 954-589-5744
There’s only one place serving up authentic Irish fare; Mickey Byrne's, 1921 Hollywood Blvd., 954-921-2317, mickeybyrnes.com. But there are so many places specializing in Italian cuisine that diners can visit a different one every day of the week and still have a few to sample for lunch.
Cinquecento, 1931 Hollywood Blvd., 954-927-1815
Fascino's, 1900 Harrison St., 954-589-0200, fascinos.com
La Vendetta, 1909 Hollywood Blvd., 954-404-6321, vendettarestaurant.com
Lino's Pizza, 1817 N. Young Circle, 954-929-7575
Mama Mia, 1818 S. Young Circle, 954-923-0555, miagrill.com
Mauro's Pizza, 1904B Hollywood Blvd., 954-929-4001
Perrone's, 1885 Hollywood Blvd., 954-921-7009
Unlike the real Middle East, the dining establishments representing that region co-exist peacefully in Hollywood. Among them are:
A La Turca, 1848 Harrison St., 954-925-5900, myalaturca.com
Caravan Grill, 1719 E. Young Circle, 954-246-0770
The Greek Joint, 1925 Hollywood Blvd., 954-929-9966, thegreekjoint.com
Shabo's Barbecue, 1840 Harrison St., 954-921-6667
Ginger Bay Café, 1908 Hollywood Blvd., 954-924-1844, gingerbaycafefl.com and R.E.D. Stripe Café, 2001 Harrison St., 954-818-0885 represent the Caribbean.
For Latin American cuisine, diners may select from a number of countries representing South and Central America, as well as Spain, the Caribbean, American Tex-Mex and Latin fusion:
Angus Bar & Grill (Argentine), 1917 Hollywood Blvd., 954-920-8118
Buleria (Spanish), 2051B Hollywood Blvd., 954-362-7026
Cabo Blanco (Peruvian/Cuban), 1936 Hollywood Blvd., 954-251-2230, caboblancorestaurant.com
Kussifay (Argentine), 2050 Hollywood Blvd., 954-842-2396
La Huaca (Peruvian), 2000 Harrison St., 954-239-8722
Las Delicias Peruanas (Peruvian), 2023 Hollywood Blvd., 954-923-2999
Los Pinchos (Colombian), 1940 Hollywood Blvd., 954-923-0200
Runas Peruvian Cuisine (Peruvian), 219 N. 21st Avenue, 954-614-2094
Sansushito (Peruvian Sushi), 121 N. 20th Avenue, 954-703-4770
Takitos Restaurant (Mexican), 1926 Hollywood Blvd., 954-921-1946, takitos.com
Tardes Calenas (Colombian), 2025A Hollywood Blvd., 954-391-7542
Those looking for a sweet dessert to top off your evening may want to stop in at Atelier 3, 1901 Harrison St., 954-505-3843, La Bonne Adresse, 2003 Harrison St., 954-927-6458 or the legendary Chocolada, 1923 Hollywood Blvd., 954-920-6400.
Or if you prefer to dance off all those calories, there are a number of clubs, including:
Hollywood Vine, 2035 Harrison St., 954-922-2910, hvine.com
Mystic Water Kava Bar, 1820 S. Young Circle, 954-496-6090
PRL Euro Café, 1904A Hollywood Blvd., 954-980-8945
Social Room 1916 Harrison St., 954-248-6950
Spice Resto-Lounge, 1934 Hollywood Blvd., 954-923-3888
Whiskey Tango, 1903 Hollywood Blvd., 954-925-2555, whiskeytangofl.com
This list is by no means inclusive; it doesn’t feature a number of sandwich shops and places only open for lunch. Nor does it include chains and franchises such as Pizza Rustica, Starbuck’s etc. As always, customers should call and check before visiting a specific location. Many of the places listed above don’t have a web site, but may have a Facebook page. It’s about time the LGBT community made its presence known in downtown Hollywood. Let’s spend some of those gay dollars and show them how to take the place from charming to fabulous.
The consumer survey company, Community Marketing & Insights, recently released the results of its latest survey and revealed that, no big surprise here, the LGBT community loves to dine out! Gay men tend to dine out more often than lesbians. The surprising result was that there was not much of a difference in the number of meals dined out when comparing generations. Millennials and Gen Xers dine out at about the same rates, although there was a slight decline in the numbers for those in the Baby Boomer generation (see chart below).
The amount our community spends when dining out far exceeds that of the mainstream community. Eater.com recently reported that mainstream Millennials spend, on average, $43 per week dining out and that others in the community at large (the study did not offer a breakdown between Gen X and Boomers) spent only, on average, $34 a week. Compare those results with the chart below and you’ll see that gay men spend far more than that amount when dining out. Lesbians tend to match the spending habits of the population at large.