In the past few years, we’ve seen the proliferation of several upscale food courts.
They may be called Culinary Centers, Food Halls, or whatever, but they were all basically, upscale versions of shopping mall food courts; individual vendors gathered under one roof.
It didn’t take long for the cracks in the foundation to show. First, there were the pressures of decreased customer base due to the pandemic, and its accompanying supply chain issue. Finding reliable help also proved difficult as people realized they could work from home and ease childcare and traveling expenses. Customers also realized that these vendors were not asking quite the bargain prices they had expected.
Delray Marketplace has already lost several of its food vendors and Sistrunk Marketplace has had to struggle under not only the pandemic-related issues but the upcoming demolition of its neighbor, FAT Village. The most recent Food Hall to take a punch was Pompano Beach’s The Bite Eatery. The dining destination, already open for nearly two months, is owned and operated by developer Richard Gollel. He had to open many of The Eatery’s food providers on his own, and one of those, the popular Deli Shack, had to close when its employees walked off the job in protest.
Voodoo Bayou, a Cajun café, is expected to finally open on Las Olas this spring, replacing the former Café de Paris. It will showcase New Orleans staples; gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp, and crawfish étouffée, po’ boys, as well as an 18-ounce, bone-in Cajun ribeye and gator tail. This is Voodoo’s second location. It opened in Palm Beach Gardens in 2020.
The Baked Bear coming soon to Miami (there’s already one in Sawgrass Mills), will feature 13 baked-from-scratch-daily cookies and 13 premium craft ice cream flavors for made-to-order ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, and Bear Bowls, a warm cookie and brownie served with a scoop of ice cream.
Watch for a rainbow-hued mural on nine repurposed steel containers on Hallandale Beach Blvd. near Dixie Hwy. It will be home to KAO Bar and Grill, set to open in late April or early May. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant will bring Argentine-style pizzas to the area. With a blend of three different flours, then baked in a convection oven and finished on the plancha, the South American treat is crunchier and has a more evenly cooked bottom than the traditional Italian pie. Typical toppings include a mozzarella-Monterey jack blend, ham, olives, roasted red peppers, and oregano.
Local favorite Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill will be knocked down to make way for a new high-end hotel along the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale. The demolition is still a couple of years away and a new BoKamper’s will open in the hotel. There‘s still a lot of red tape, so you’ll still be able to stop by for the time being.
Norm Kent: Anything but Average
As you no doubt have read by now, our beloved Co-founder Norm Kent passed away earlier this month. In my 40 years writing for the LGBT press, I’ve worked for many, shall we say, “colorful” publishers and editors. Some were wonderful people, some were a bit more mercurial, but none compared to Norm. He was a man of strong opinions, and he had no trouble voicing those. But he was also a generous and jovial man. He, and by extension, SFGN, is one of the most professional publications for which I have had the opportunity to work. We’ll miss you, Norm.