When E.F. Hutton called, restaurateur listened

Hutton Seafood & Raw Bar opening later this month in Northwood

Hutton Seafood & Raw Bar opening later this month in Northwood

There’s a new restaurant opening soon in West Palm Beach’s Northwood section.  The restaurant is called Hutton. The restaurant owner’s name is Tim.

But Timothy Hutton, the actor, is nowhere near this eatery.

Instead, owner Tim Klinefelter drew inspiration elsewhere.

Before delving into that story, however, it’s important to understand what Klinefelter was not going to name it: Klinefelter.

“I would never name a restaurant that,” he said, laughing.

Restaurant names should convey something about the place, be simple to remember and yet somehow, memorable.

Spouses or family members are easy names to turn to for a restaurant moniker. But many restaurateurs privately admit they default to naming their restaurants after their pets (Henry’s restaurant, named after a King Charles spaniel in suburban Delray Beach), or just inventing a word (Bolay, with locations in Wellington, Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens.)

Klinefelter wanted to go in a different direction.

He thought of his time spent on Palm Beach during the past two years. It’s a place he visited and then grew to love after giving notice to his employer/partner in Charleston, S.C. After 10 years, Klinefelter left his job at Pearlz Oyster Bar, where he was general manager and operating partner.

Klinfelter said he needed a break. He described Pearlz as “insanely busy,” where every seat is filled within 15 minutes of opening.

In Florida, Klinefelter said he was inspired by the elegance of Palm Beach. And he wanted to acknowledge its rising profile, thanks to President Donald Trump. Trump owns Mar-a-Lago, the ocean-to-lake estate built by Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband, financier E.F. Hutton, who co-founded a brokerage bearing his name.

So…Hutton.

“The name is synonymous and historic with Palm Beach,” Klinefelter said. Plus, he added, “It’s crisp.”

Look for fresh seafood items with an occasional hint of Klinefelter’s longtime career spent around Low Country cuisine: Sautéed shrimp with creole gravy and hoe cakes, or crayfish beignets, for example.

Shrimp and hoe cakes

Klinefelter said he’s taken care to design the space to be both elegant and inviting. He’s angling to attract not only Northwood neighbors but also Palm Beachers who might be inclined to drive over the new Flagler MemorialBridge, avoid downtown’s traffic and instead zip up Flagler Drive to dine.

Hutton Seafood & Raw Bar, at 407 Northwood Road, is slated to open Aug. 22.

Hutton artwork by Robert Shelton