Trevini Ristorante, a fixture for a decade in the Esplanade in Palm Beach, will close at the end of June. The Coniglio family, owners of Cucina dell’Arte, E.R. Bradley’s and Nick & Johnnie’s – will open Cha Cha’s in its place.
Nick Coniglio talked to us about the plan for Cha Cha’s. “We’re doing a clean, Latin authentic (restaurant) – more Spanish than anything,” he said. “We’ve gone to a couple of places in New York City and Los Angeles that are doing what we want.”
They want to keep away from the Mexican that everyone’s doing now, he said. “We’ll have tacos with corn tortillas, but we’ll be more focused on the cheffy kind of Latin foods – more authentic Spanish tapas. Sharing paellas, shashito peppers, and traditional tapas – cured meats and cheeses, the classics. There’s nothing like that around here, so we’ll be filling a pretty big void.”
The club-like atmosphere prevalent at the other restaurants won’t be here, however. “We will have the same vibrancy, we want to create a new excitement on this end of the avenue, but we don’t want to scare anybody off. This will close at 11 or midnight. Then, we hope the crowd will just move on over to Cucina or Nick and Johnnie’s for late-night partying.”
All about the guest
Lunch, he said, will be a mix of traditional and the new Spanish. “We’ll have cheeseburgers or you could order tortilla soup with a Cobb salad. We want to appeal to the ladies who shop on Worth Avenue and the beach crowd and all the locals on the island, too.”
The main priority will be the focus on the food. And for that, they’ll open slowly – perhaps by Nov. 1, he said. “I don’t want to make the mistake we did with Nick and Johnnie’s. We opened that in 35 days with no trials. It was insane – we ran out of every food on the menu and had to tell the diners, ‘No, we’re out of that, so eat this instead.’ It was my worst nightmare — I swore I’d never do that again.”
A decorator will come in and extend the bar for the expected happy hour crowd, he said, but they will keep the classic feel that’s there. “It’s the first time we’re working with a decorator. The whole restaurant is about the guest.”