Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Atlantic Ocean Club Closes; Glen Manfra Starts Pop-Up Restaurant in Its Site

May 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

News out of Delray Beach: The Atlantic Ocean Club on Atlantic Avenue, barely five months old, is closed. Noted chef Jamie DeRosa was briefly at the helm of the ship-themed spot that focused on seafood and transformed to a lounge late-night. Not enough seats filled nightly to sustain it, we hear.

In its place will be the Pop-Up Restaurant, run by chef Glen Manfra – no stranger to the downtown Delray area.

Pop-up restaurants are a trend for restaurateurs who want to recoup money after a restaurant closes – they tap chefs to open in the space until they can sell it or the chef decides to make it.

Manfra is well known for a number of restaurants, and says he’s glad to have a chance to return, after spending the last decade in Anguilla.

No money down

“I had the chance to walk into a restaurant with no money, so I thought it would be a great opportunity and a good way to ease back into the area,” he said.

Manfra opened the original Bice in New York City before coming to South Florida to open one in Palm Beach. “Then I had the opportunity to open Amici, Galaxy Grille, and Lido Mare on Singer Island. In off season, summertime, I had to move my family to Southampton, where I opened Savannah’s. I was working year round at the top of a season all the time. It got to be too much.”

He said he took some time off to get out of the rat race, then paired up with David Manero for Sopra, a wildly successful restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in its first three years. He takes credit for its menu (Manero disputes this). Manfra also helped open Vic & Angelo’s in Palm Beach Gardens, saying a lot of the menu ideas are his – again, a claim Manero denies.

Still, Manfra is hopeful he’ll be able to survive at The Pop-Up with a menu under $24 during the summer, then after that, “We’ll see, but I hope to stay, and start construction on a permanent restaurant of my own.”

Look for a June opening of The Pop-Up, which will be at 217 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. The Buddha Sky Bar, originally partnered with Atlantic Ocean Club, remains open and from all observations, lively.


Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

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