Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: New BBQ, John G’s, Zuccarelli’s PGA, White Apron Catering

September 4th, 2008 · 8 Comments

There’s a new name, face and style of barbecue at the old Tom’s Place for Ribs on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.
It’s now Memphis BBQ and Blues restaurant, owned by Ron Goforth.

This is his first barbecue spot, but he’s a native from Memphis, so has some credibility.
His style is typical of Memphis – they use a dry rub on their meats and then slow-smoke them. The sauce is served after-the-fact at your call.
Along with ribs and chicken and beef, they have fresh seafoods – clams, oysters and seafood gumbo.
Their bread is called Island bread – a sweet white loaf popular in the Caribbean, where some of the staff hails from.

Sides? All Southern: collards, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese (with or without bacon), hush puppies, rice (with or without gravy), fries and slaw.
They have both a walk-up window and drive-through, so you can get it to-go (call ahead and save time).
Blues fans: Check them out on the weekend when live blues guitar, sax and some jazz is free with your meal.

Memphis BBQ and Blues
1225 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach
(561) 832-8774
Open seven days, 11 a.m. till close (8 p.m. or later) weekdays; noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

It’s Official: John G’s To Leave

We were working on slim information last week when we posted about John G’s leaving within six months.
“It’s horrible,” said Wendy Yarbrough, daughter of founder John Giroges and now manager of the popular Lake Worth beach eatery. They are being evicted so the old Lake Worth casino building can be demolished.

“My dad found out about at the (city) commission meeting,” she said. “It was his 80th birthday.”
He’s taking it better than his kids who now run the restaurant known for it’s wrap-around-the-building lines and fish and chips. The Detroit native opened and put recipes on the menu he liked personally. Most remain today.
“I thought he’d blow a gasket, but he’s really taking it well. We’re a wreck, though,” Yarbrough said.
“We’re looking – we have people helping us look – for another spot. We’d love to stay on the beach, of course, but I don’t see how that will happen.”
She doesn’t think the building’s in such bad shape as the city claims, though, she said, “They haven’t done much if anything to improve it. They barely painted it. They basically just left us out to dry.”
The Giroges family has leased the building for 35 years, but the city has threatened before to tear down the structure that once was part of a beachside casino.

“This is the big one,” Yarbrough said. “They’ve said they were going to do it before, but now, it’s for real. It’s a punch in the stomach the way they’re doing it. Lake Worth doesn’t care about us,” she said. We’re been evicted. It’s their building, though. I don’t mean to sound like we’re giving up. We’ll find something, but as time goes on, I’m getting more and more scared. I don’t know where we’ll go.”
They will have to be out in February.
“It’s just sad. I don’t know what to tell our customers.”

John G’s
10 S. Ocean Blvd., Lake Worth, on the beach
(561) 585-9860; www.johngs.com
Open daily, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Note: Cash only.)

Zuccarelli’s Opens on PGA

Olimpia Zuccarelli is weary, but still plugging away. “I’ve been working seven days a week all day again,” she said. “It’s one thing after another. It’s getting there, though.”

She’s talking about the new Zuccarelli’s Italian in PGA Commons. It’s been building out for a while in the old Allegro restaurant spot. “We’re open, sure. Just in time for (Hurricane) Ike,” she said.

The sibling restaurant to the original on Military Trail and Okeechobee is done up in a Tuscan motif, with wine barrels and terra cotta walls giving it a warm feel. The menu is the same from the original, with signature rigatoni Romana, pignoli-crusted sea bass over spinach, housemade meatballs, tiramisu and ricotta cheesecake. “It’s all made in-house — no prepared stuff.”

She bottles her popular marinara sauce and sells it for $7 a jar at the restaurant.

An outdoor bar gives this location a late-night menu, a scaled back simple version of some of the pasta dishes, pizzas, calamari, clams and salads. A piano player provides the music; there are cigars available for after-meal smokers on the patio.

Zuccarelli’s PGA
5530 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens (PGA Commons West)
Open weekdays for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, dinner only from 4 p.m. Late-night bar open till midnight on Friday and 1 a.m. Saturdays.



White Apron Goes Retail

Charlie Crawford’s finally opened his catering shop, White Apron Catering, on Dixie Highway in Lake Worth.
“We opened Tuesday,” Crawford, owner, said. “We’ve got lunches and dinners to go, and our menu changes week to week.”
It’s mostly a take-out spot, but there are tables if you’re inclined to sup there.

This week’s sandwiches include a bronzed skirt steak sandwich with chimichurri sauce ($8.50), a Mediterranean chicken wrap ($7.50), and a bufalo Mozzarella-heirloom tomato and pesto sandwich on a focaccia ($8.)
The upscale entrees are probably enough for two diners if you add a side. They are, this week: Wild mushroom lasagna, braised boneless beef short ribs ($16) and curried free-range chicken ($12 a pint and it includes a side of jasmine rice).
Sides offered include assorted grilled fresh vegetables, a bufalo Mozzarella-basil salad, braised green beans with fennel, orchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, and fresh fruit salads.

As a caterer, Crawford’s been around town, serving high-end parties (you’ll see a photo of him with President Clinton on his web site), and other affairs in the Hamptons and beyond.
A number of foods suitable for parties can be picked up at the store – they have a “smoked halibut hash,” hummus, and numerous pates they make daily, along with assorted hors d’oeuvres and Ciao Bella sorbets in the case. Some gourmet items pepper the shelves.
White Apron Catering
1710 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth
(561) 832-7175; www.whiteaproncatering.com
Open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Saturdays in season.)

Quick bites

From the ashes:Sonny’s BBQ in Clewiston, a favorite stop on the way back from the west coast along State Road 80, recently burned to the ground, but they vow to rebuild…
From the storm: The Drawbridge Café in Belle Glade, completely decimated along with much of Belle Glade’s Torey Island in Hurricane Wilma, has reopened in South Bay. It’s on U.S. 27, in the old Terry’s restaurant location. Summer hours are 5:30 a.m. (!) to 8:30 p.m. They feature Southern cooking at its South Florida best. They’re also giving away $300 in gas: go here to get details.

Morikami Museum’s Sushi & Stroll: If a hurricane doesn’t hit first, they’ll wrap up the summerlong Sushi & Stroll tasting and entertainment night at the Morikami Sept. 15. The noted Taiko drum troupe, Ronin Taiko, is set to perform in the auditorium. to perform in the auditorium from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.; you can stroll the stunning gardens otherwise (dress comfortably; they’re sultry this time of year). the sushi menu is a set $14.95, admission is $7 and gets you into the drum show.

The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach
(561) 495-0233; www.morikami.org

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Sep 4, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Wow… thanks for all of the updates. I have eaten at every one of the places mentioned and appreciate knowning their new locations, changes, etc.

    I am thrilled for Olimpia. I have eaten there for years. One of the reasons I love the place is the fact my picture hangs on the wall associated with a visit from my friend, Tara Holland (Miss America). We had dinner there one evening and Thom Smith wrote about it. Olimpia and family framed it.

  • 2 Jan Norris // Sep 4, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I welcome any news from any quarters — so when you hear of restaurant news, let me know so I can put it in the Eat Beat!

    – Jan

  • 3 Jan Norris // Sep 4, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I think we fans sh0uld start a campaign to SAVE JOHN G’S!

    Institutions don’t come along all that often, especially in today’s world of corporate restaurant ownership.

    The Giroges family has shown a dedication to their customers for so long, we should give back!

  • 4 fsutoby // Sep 4, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks Jan…Tom’s brings back so many memories for me, so I think I’m going to have to try the new place!

  • 5 leila // Sep 5, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    It is very sad to hear about family owned, non corporate businesses being forced to close without even given another option! My boyfriends parents go to the Green Market every Saturday and eat at John G’s after. As for Tom’s Place, being a native and growing up in Boca my family would go to the original Tom’s, which was a white shack, no kidding, seeing all those fancy cars parked outside was always a big kick for me and when they grew bigger, no shack, it was exciting but when they closed it was disappointing! I hope the family at John G’s put up a fight, you know their customers will stand behind them!

  • 6 Jan Norris // Sep 8, 2008 at 3:52 am

    My regular readers know I’m all for the local owners and one-off restaurants. “Corporate” food has no appeal for me.
    Ask people what they miss most from their hometowns, and it’s these types of restaurants they talk about: You don’t hear much nostalgia for chains.

  • 7 Jon // Nov 23, 2010 at 2:36 am

    I have eaten there for years. One of the reasons I love the place is the fact my picture hangs on the wall associated with a visit from my friend. They use a dry rub on their meats and then slow-smoke them.

  • 8 Steven // Nov 23, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I have eaten at every one of the places mentioned and appreciate knowing their new locations. The upscale entrees are probably enough for two diners if you add a side.

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