Grato eatery owners buy building next door

The Peggy Adams thrift store in West Palm Beach, purchased by Grato restaurant owners in January
The Peggy Adams thrift store in West Palm Beach, purchased by Grato restaurant owners in January

Grato means grateful in Italian.

And the owners of Grato trattoria in West Palm Beach must be feeling plenty grateful for their ability to buy the building next door to their new eatery.

In January, the Grato ownership group quietly paid $600,000 for 1905 S. Dixie Highway, the former Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League Thrift Shop, according to county property records.

That’s the same month Grato opened its doors for business next door at 1901 S. Dixie Highway.

So is this new space for a future expansion of Grato?

Not necessarily, said Sam Slattery, Grato’s operating partner.

But Slattery also wouldn’t rule out a restaurant use in the future.

Right now, the group plans to use the building for retail space. At 4,500 square feet, the property can be split into two, 2,200 square foot stores, he said.

“Our plan is to stick to our knitting and work on Grato,” Slattery said.

Down the line, however, Slattery said it’s possible Grato might build a sister restaurant in this space, perhaps with a different concept.

The idea has precedent.

The group owns the popular Buccan bistro at 350 S. County Road on Palm Beach. Next to it is a sister eatery, Imoto, which serves Asian cuisine.

The side-by-side eateries share the Buccan kitchen, an arrangement that could be copied if Grato turns the old thrift shop into an eatery, too, Slatter said.

In the meantime, plans are to fix the exterior, install glass doors in the front and the back and start leasing the space by the end of the summer, Slattery said.

The purchase of the Peggy Adams thrift store marks the second purchase by the Buccan group of land on sizzling South Dixie Highway, which during the past three years has attracted an increasing number of investors and business owners.

The group bought the 1901 S. Dixie Highway building in November 2014. The building previously was home to Reward Lighting, so the space needed to be completely retrofitted to accommodate a restaurant.

The Grato group includes Slattery, chef Clay Conley and Piper Quinn, who handles marketing and development.

 

 

 

 

 

Yesteryear Village now opened weekly

Yesteryear Village, The South Florida Fair’s 10-acre history park, is now opening its doors to the public on a consistent basis.

The village had traditionally allowed the public to explore its historic buildings only during the South Florida Fair and other special events. But this month, the village began opening its doors on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The 1935 woodframe Loxahatchee Groves Elementary School schoolhouse in Yesteryear Village Monday, January 26, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
The 1935 woodframe Loxahatchee Groves Elementary School schoolhouse in Yesteryear Village Monday, January 26, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Admission rates are $7 for seniors and children ages 5 to 11 and $10 for those 12 or older. Children under 5 are free.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for April 15 to mark the change.  The gates open at 10 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Admission during the ribbon cutting ceremony weekend (April 14-16) will be free for the first hour — from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The ceremony will include first person interpreters portraying a character from the pre-1940s and old-fashioned refreshments.

“This is a unique opportunity to interact with town residents as they portray a character of early Florida living from more than 75 years ago,” said Yesteryear Village Manager Paige Poole.

The village, which was started in 1990 in response to a similar attraction at the Florida State Fair in Tampa, features a large collection of original and replicated early buildings from the area including an old schoolhouse, a farm, a blacksmith shop, a general store and several houses. It is also home to the only big band museum in the United States, the Sally Bennett Big Band Hall of Fame Museum.