Rants & Raves: Goodbye Humpy’s; welcome back free parking and more

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The Annual Taste of the Island. Photo: Facebook.

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good-bye

Following a dispute with its landlord, Humpy’s Pizza has gone out of business. The beloved eatery, known as much for its giant slices of New York style gourmet pizzas as for its delicious cupcakes, closed unexpectedly after Halloween. An auction, selling off the businesses equipment and furniture, was held a few days later, leading one to believe that there were no plans to reopen.

Humpy’s is just the latest business in the mall to close or move after a dispute with management of The Shoppes of Wilton Manors. In the past year; Out of the Oven moved to a new location and Salt This Way shuttered its doors after being open just a few months. Earlier, Steel Gym moved to another location before shutting down completely. Steve DeJong, owner of Humpy’s said of Rivercrest Realty, the management company for the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, “Basically, they’re raising the rent to the point where it’s unmanageable…It’s really just a shakedown of small businesses and we’re being bullied.”

Speaking of greedy real estate management, the complex housing Courtyard Café was sold last month for $6 million and management recently installed meters in its parking lot. I get it; parking is becoming increasingly difficult along the Drive, but why penalize the customers of the businesses in your mall? After outcries from the community and the mall’s businesses, parking is now free from 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nick Berry, co-owner of Courtyard Café has managed to arrange additional free parking for those dining at his restaurant (with a coupon, available in the café).

 

Flaming Out

In Oakland Park, Kelvin 3200 shuttered its doors, perhaps not as unexpectedly as Humpy’s but just as quickly. While the food was great (I gave it a rave review), what I put down to hiccups in service due to the opening were never corrected. Service issues weren’t the only problem. In order to create a great restaurant, food that comes out of the kitchen has to be consistent, both in quality and appearance. Sometime plates were beautifully presented, but more often they were a hot mess and portion sizes varied wildly from visit to visit. It also helps if every diner’s meal comes out at somewhere near the same time, which, more often than not, was not the case.

 

A Peter Pan Pan

I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers with this one; but why the hell can’t we have a 24-hour diner that combines decent food and good service? I’m specifically talking about one of our community’s favorites; Peter Pan. I generally find the servers at P.P. to be friendly and efficient; so I suspect the problems seem to arise in the kitchen. During recent visits, poached eggs arrived almost hard boiled, bacon requested crisp came out limp (and you know how we feel about limp things!), steaks ordered medium rare are served charred and everything looks like it was dumped on the plate from 10 feet above.

Recently, some friends and I stopped by for a late dinner. After waiting 10 minutes for anyone to appear at our table (the waitress blamed the hostess, saying “I was on break and she didn’t tell me I had a table.”) we placed our order. The soup that came with my dinner arrived promptly. Then there was a wait of almost 40 minutes before our entrees arrived, all of which were delivered with the wrong side dishes. The waitress explained, “We ran out of the escarole you ordered so the kitchen subbed corn.” We weren’t offered a choice of substitute beforehand. Our server apologized, but again, blamed someone else, the kitchen this time. Okay, mistakes happen, but complaints to the management each time have yielded a shrug and, “We sometimes run out of stuff” or an off-handed “Sorry.” Sorry is right. Peter Pan is a sorry excuse for a diner.

 

And, Now Some Happy News

The Annual Taste of the Island on Nov. 14 at Richardson Park, 1937 Wilton Drive, will tantalize your taste buds as diners sample a wide range of culinary delicacies from more than 20 local South Florida restaurants and bars in a festive party atmosphere. The $30 ticket is a bargain when you consider that those attending can sample the fare from more than two dozen vendors. This year’s participating businesses (as of this writing) include Angelo Elia Bakery Bar/Angelo Elia Pizza Bar, Another Perfect Party, Aruba Beach Café, BBQ Jack's, Blue Martini, Bubbles & Pearls, Burger 21, Chef Ray, Delacaseas, Dolce Salato, Edible Arrangements, Fitlife Foods, Funky Buddha Brewery, Gym Sports Bar, The Ice Pop Shop, Kelly's Landing, Krave Jerky, Ocean Liquor & Fine Wine, Pizza Fusion, Rumors, Tee Jay, Tijuana Flats, Trader Joe's, Tropics, Warsaw and Whole Foods. All event proceeds will benefit the Wilton Manors Historical Society, the Kiwanis Club of Wilton Manors, the City of Wilton Manors’ Leisure Services Department and the Wilton Manors Development Alliance. For tickets and more information, go to TasteOfTheIsland.org.

 

Bohemian Chic

The original 1930s guesthouse located at The Confidante, 4041 Collins, in Miami Beach has reopened as Nina’s House. The poolside outpost, with its own entrance on 41st street, brings a bohemian, vintage vibe to the historic home. Decorated with surf boards, local artwork and antique leather furniture, the new hangout will be open Thursday through Saturday evenings. Among the light bite menu offerings are; gator pibil with achiote, pickled onion, cotija cheese; and cauliflower tinga with chipotle tomato, oaxaca cheese and crema. Nina’s will invite local musicians, DJs and acoustic performers to the house on programmed nights.


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