The painted walkway is a little bit faded, but the atmosphere at The YARD seems as vibrant as ever.
Formerly known as Eucalyptus Gardens, The YARD is located on Northeast 13 Avenue behind the former Old Florida Seafood House Wilton Manors. It’s a collection of restaurants, a coffee shop, and Lola’s Market – a warehouse in the back of the property where patrons can drink tea and buy everything from African shea butter to furniture to vintage clothing to handmade jewelry. In front of the restaurants are painted trees, canopies, lush landscaping, and plenty of seating.
“It has such a really nice vibe,” said Diva Name, owner of the Latin restaurant La Frutera Garden Bar. Either by accident or design, the two frozen hands of the clock in The YARD’s courtyard reinforce how time is viewed by those who come to enjoy a cup of coffee from The Alchemist, a dish of ceviche from Frutera, or a crepe from French restaurant Voo La Voo Café. “It’s not for people in a hurry,” Name said.
“You don’t even feel like you’re in Fort Lauderdale,” said Rick, co-owner of Elements by Rick and Gill, which sells furniture and housewares. “It’s like a backroad of Key West.”
With its plentiful patio furniture, a seemingly endless amount of random items strewn about, and art at every turn, the yard feels like a bohemian backyard. Janice Star, owner of Jannztiques, which sells vintage clothing, jewelry, arts, and kitsch, said it reminds her of “old Florida” because “it’s wild and not manicured. People come to take photographs and generally get the energy.” Star joked that she’s “an old hippy” who used to work the “flea markets up and down the East coast” so she fits right in at Lola’s Market.
Meghan Seyler and Victoria Bazar are two of those people who like taking photos. “It’s a really nice atmosphere. The people here are really nice,” Seyler said.
“Everybody knows everybody,” said Wesley Shaw, owner of 2 Spirits Meet. He sells jewelry, dreamcatchers, and other items, and is the coordinator of Lola’s Market. His sentiment on the neighborly feel amongst business owners is shared by his fellow merchants. To open a business in Lola’s Market, Shaw said the owner has to provide something unique not already sold by a current vendor. Handmade products are preferred. “It’s progressive. It’s also very selective.”
Lola’s Market was opened over a year ago and represents expansion and growth for The Yard.
The Alchemist, a popular coffee shop and The YARD’s oldest business, has also undergone an expansion – to its increased physical space and menu offerings. Ajno Molina, general manager, said he started as a customer. “I just really fell in love with this place. I came for just the love and energy.” Molina said he and his fellow customers would tell each other and staff members to keep the place a secret. “We would literally told each other ‘don’t tell anyone.’”
Parking is available on Northeast 13 Avenue, Northeast 24 Street, and at the former Lauderdale Lumber located next to The YARD.