Could a Carl’s Prime steak house be coming to PBC soon?

Robert Dickert of Carl Von Luger Steak & Seafood

Robert Dickert isn’t ready to give up on opening a steak house in Palm Beach County.

The owner of Carl Von Luger Steak & Seafood in Scranton, Pa., has been shut out of a deal to open two restaurants at a planned new clubhouse in North Palm Beach.

And due to an unsuccessful trademark infringement fight with the famous Peter Luger Steak House in New York, he’s going to have to change the name of his restaurant, too, to Carl’s Prime.

 

Dickert said on Monday he decided to surrender his trademark and change the restaurant name to avoid a costly legal fight. He says he’s kin to Peter Luger, but will give up using the name in his business.

The brouhaha over the Carl Von Luger deal for North Palm Beach, and subsequent national attention over his fight with Peter Luger, hasn’t been all bad, however.

The restaurant’s profile has been raised to the point where it now is in demand by Palm Beach County landlords seeking a Carl’s Prime steak house, Dickert said.

“I’ve been talking to people,” he said. “Now everybody knows who I am….Bad news is good news for me.”

Thus far, Dickert said he’s talking to a property owner in North Palm Beach as well as a hotel in Boca Raton about opening a Carl’s Prime.

Neither deal is baked, per se, but Dickert is optimistic he’ll have a reason to come down to Palm Beach County soon, and not just to avoid the upcoming winters up north.

For the record, here’s what Dickert posted on the Carl Von Luger website, which must remove all reference to Luger by Oct. 28:

“In recent months an issue has arisen regarding our name and branding due to similarities to the New York based Peter Luger restaurants,” the statement said.

“As you know, our owner Robert Dickert is a third generation restaurateur with over forty years of passion in the restaurant industry. While we are flattered by any such comparison, we’d like to clarify that our restaurant and its owner are in no way affiliated with the Peter Luger restaurants. To eliminate any possibility of confusion, we are changing our name to Carl’s Prime.”

 

When E.F. Hutton called, restaurateur listened

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

What new concept will take over Boca Raton deli?

Park Place shopping center in Boca Raton

Goodbye, pastrami. Hello, pasta.

Rappy’s Deli closed in May after just five months at the new Park Place shopping center in Boca Raton. The space subsequently reopened as a lower-priced deli, Park Place Deli.

Now the prime location at 5560 N. Military Trail will be turned into a different concept: An Italian restaurant, according to restaurateur Burt Rapoport.

The Italian theme is one the veteran restaurant operator knows well.

Restaurateur Burt Rapoport

Back in 1989, Rapoport and another venerable restaurateur, Dennis Max, opened Prezzo on Glades Road.

The casual Italian joint that was a smash hit among area diners.

Rapoport said Prezzo, which operated for 10 years, was the first place in South Florida to have a wood-burning pizza oven.

And soon the Park Place space will have a wood-burning pizza oven, too, as well as other casual, “approachable” Italian dishes, Rapoport said.

An Italian restaurant is a concept Rapoport is confident will have greater success than Rappy’s did.

Rapoport said delis with an upscale tilt are springing up around the country, and that’s what his goal was with Rappy’s: Classic deli items with a modern twist.

“But it turns out this is the worse place in the country to do that,” he said.

Diners have a fairly set concept of what they expect in a deli, and creativity isn’t on the menu, Rapoport said.

“I knew the first week when we were serving this good-quality French mustard, and everyone said, ‘Where’s your deli mustard? How can you have a deli without deli mustard?’ ” he said.

“When people hear deli, the old-school deli comes to mind and that’s what everybody wanted, in terms of price and quality.

“I just totally misread the demand for the marketplace,” Rapoport said.

In addition, people tend to think of delis as breakfast and lunch places, he said. So dinner at Rappy’s wasn’t robust.

Now Rapoport is turning to everyone’s favorite food, Italian, which also tends to do well at dinner.

Of course, there are plenty of Italian restaurants in downtown Delray Beach, and several in east Boca Raton, including the newest one, Louie Bossi.

But Rapoport said there are few Italian eateries west of Interstate 95 in Boca Raton, with the exception of some chain eateries.

So he thinks there’s demand for a casual Italian eatery in the area.

Plans are to open the as-yet unnamed Italian restaurant at Park Place in October or November.

 

NEW: Carl Von Luger owner in town for talks with North Palm Beach leaders

The owner of the Carl Von Luger restaurant from Pennsylvania has been in North Palm Beach for the past few days, and not for vacation reasons.

Robert Dickert and his team have been in damage-control mode, talking to village officials about a nasty lawsuit that threatens to derail the deal to bring Dickert’s steak and seafood restaurant to the village’s planned $15 million new club house at 951 US 1.

» Steak house with a fabled history coming to North Palm Beach

» Peter Luger Steak House sues eatery set for North Palm Beach

The goal is to assuage village officials caught off-guard by the lawsuit filed against their new club house restaurant operator, who has a contract with the village to operate two restaurants there.

Robert Dickert, owner of Carl Von Luger Steak and Seafood

In May, Dickert and his Carl Von Luger restaurant were sued by Peter Luger Inc. of New York in federal court. The trademark infringement lawsuit alleges Carl Von Luger is ripping off the famed Luger steak house brand by appropriating the name.

The Luger name does have allure, but Dickert said in a recent interview he’s entitled to it.

It is a name that he says is part of his family tree: Peter Luger was his great-uncle. He worked for a decade in the family restaurant, learning the trade in all manner of role.

https://twitter.com/CarlvonLuger/status/779039650862264320

And in 2009, he filed a trademark for the Carl Von Luger restaurant. Peter Luger didn’t object to the name and the restaurant, in business in Scranton since 2011.

Word is that’s what the Dickert team is telling village officials, who reportedly still want Dickert operating two restaurants at the club house, as per the contract with him.

Village manager Andrew Lukasik could not be reached for comment.

The club house is expected to be ready by December 2018.

Stay tuned for more details.

» RELATED: What’s driving spending on posh clubhouses in north county?

 

Carl von Luger owner in town for talks with North Palm Beach leaders

Robert Dickert, owner of Carl Von Luger Steak and Seafood

The owner of the Carl Von Luger restaurant from Pennsylvania has been in North Palm Beach for the past few days, and not for vacation reasons.

Robert Dickert and his team have been in damage-control mode, talking to village officials about a nasty lawsuit that threatens to derail the deal to bring Dickert’s steak and seafood restaurant to the village’s planned $15 million new club house at 951 US 1.

The goal is to assuage village officials caught off-guard by the lawsuit filed against their club house restaurant operator, who has a contract with the village to operate two restaurants when the new club house is completed.

In May, Dickert and his Carl Von Luger restaurant were sued by Peter Luger Inc. of New York in federal court. The trademark infringement lawsuit alleges Carl Von Luger is ripping off the famed Luger steak house brand by appropriating the name.

The Luger name does have allure, but Dickert said in a recent interview he’s entitled to it.

It is a name that he says is part of his family tree: Peter Luger was his great-uncle. Dickert worked for a decade in the family restaurant, learning the trade in all manner of roles.

And in 2009, Dickert filed a trademark for the Carl Von Luger restaurant. Peter Luger Inc. didn’t object to the name and the restaurant, which has been in business in Scranton since 2011.

Word is that’s what the Dickert team is telling village officials, who reportedly still want Dickert operating two restaurants at the club house, as per the contract with him.

Village manager Andrew Lukasik could not be reached for comment. Dickert declined to comment.

The club house is set to be ready by December 2018.

Stay tuned for more details.

 

Why Park Ave BBQ is going into The Gardens Mall

Park Avenue BBQ Grille

It’s been a long time coming, folks. But Park Avenue BBQ Grille owner Dean LaVallee is a patient man. He’s a happy one, too, because Park Avenue finally is going to be part of the The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens.

Park Avenue will take over the Counter Burger space in the mall. Expect a full bar and outside seating, with an opened slated for August.

LaVallee said he’s craved a high-profile location for years but was never prominent enough to win the attention of bigtime shopping centers.

But shopping centers are undergoing big changes now.

With sales pinched by online retailers and fickle shoppers, mall leasing managers are looking for creative and popular tenants that will create a sense of community — and draw people back to the malls.

Park Avenue BBQ fits the bill, said mall leasing manager Al Ferris.

“It’s the right place at the right time,” LaVallee said.

When you talk about Park Avenue, you can’t get more local or community-minded.

The eatery was started by LaVallee in 1988 in Lake Park, and it has  maintained a loyal following as it has grown to seven locations in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. The Gardens Mall will be its eighth store.

“Every city in the world has five Outbacks and they’re all the same,” LaVallee said. “Now the marketplace is swinging back to what’s truly local.”

Park Avenue has a very loyal fan base: It ranked #1 on a reader poll of Most Popular BBQ joints around.

Customers say the meat is tender, the sauces flavorful and the sides to die for, especially the cornbread.

But Park Avenue also is innovative and willing to live up to the Park Avenue in its name.

The farm-to-table method of dining, so popular at upscale eateries, is about to become a staple at Park Avenue, which actually has its own farm.

Look for pineapple, mango, avocado and various citrus fruits as part of menu items.

What can you make with pineapple? “Pineapple mango chutney, pineapple shortbread, pineapple a million ways,” LaVallee said.

LaValle offers this reminder: Some 100 years ago, the county’s plentiful sun and sandy land made the area a popular place to grow pineapples.

In addition to homegrown foods, Park Avenue is hopping onto another trend: The craft cocktail craze.

For instance, The Good Dean features white tequila and watermelon juice.

LaValle also is toying with the idea of offering some bespoke items, such as a delicate pork panini with “interesting greens.”

There may even be a vegetarian item on the menu to appeal to a greater variety of diners.

As for the future, LaVallee said he’s looking for new locations. He closed an east Boca Raton location but he’s on the hunt for a location in west Boca Raton.

And he’d like to open a store in Royal Palm Beach, too, he said.

 

 

See where Duffy’s is opening its 35th restaurant

Jason Emmett, president of Duffy’s Sports Grill

Duffy’s Sports Grill, the homegrown restaurant chain expanding throughout the state, is opening its first new Palm Beach County location in six years: At a prime intersection west of Boca Raton.

By the end of the month, Duffy’s will take over the TGI Friday’s restaurant at the northwest corner of 441 and Glades Road, said Jason Emmett, Duffy’s president.

The eatery marks the Lake Worth chain’s 35th restaurant. It also ends a 10-year search for a west Boca Raton location, Emmett said.

Although Duffy’s already has a restaurant in central Boca Raton, on St. Andrews Boulevard, Emmett sees west Boca as a different market. It’s surrounded by housing communities, including country club communities, but it doesn’t have a lot of restaurants.

“It’s dense with lots of housing and lots of Duffy’s customers,” Emmett said.

Emmett likened the spot to the chain’s location west of Boynton Beach, at Jog Road and Boynton Beach Boulevard. That store is the company’s best performer, with customers ranging from older diners to families, he said.

TGI Friday’s is expected to close by around May 21. At that point, Duffy’s will commence with its signature interior renovations, including adding more than 100 televisions, plenty of memorabilia and lots of green paint.

Plans are to open the space as a Duffy’s by early September.

This restaurant marks the chain’s 14th Palm Beach County location. Over time, Emmett sees the county’s western housing growth as an opportunity for new Duffy’s restaurants. But not right away.

In the meantime, the chain continues to grow throughout the state, opening a Sarasota location on March 10. That date is the birthday of Jason’s father, Duffy’s patriarch Paul Emmett, who died two years ago in February from cancer. He was 62.

 

Subculture Coffee finds new home in Delray Beach

Subculture Coffee

 

Subculture Coffee Roasters soon will be serving java once again to loyal downtown Delray Beach customers.

The popular coffee shop has leased space at 20 W. Atlantic Avenue, the southwest corner of Swinton and Atlantic avenues. The location formerly was home to Nature’s Way Café.

New home of Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach

The move comes after West Palm Beach-based coffee company closed its downtown Delray Beach space at 123 E. Atlantic Ave., after it lost an eviction lawsuit in March.

Subculture’s move to the south side of Atlantic Avenue is part of a long-term deal between the coffee company and Hudson Holdings, owner of property on the south side of Atlantic Avenue along Swinton Avenue.

The coffee shop will be in a temporary funky, green building along Atlantic Avenue until Hudson Holdings wins the city’s OK to do a restoration of six historic houses there.

If all goes to plan, Subculture then will move into one of those houses and take the entire space, as Subculture co-owner Rodney Mayo now has with his iconic Dada restaurant on North Swinton Avenue.

Mayo said Hudson Holdings’ Steven Michael called Mayo and pitched him the idea when he heard Subculture needed new space.

“It’s been my dream to have a coffee shop in an old historic house. This clinched the deal,” Mayo said.

The coffee company posted news of its temporary new Delray Beach location on its Facebook page Tuesday: “Say hello to our new home at the corner of Swinton & Atlantic. Construction is underway!”

Indeed, workers on Wednesday were sanding concrete floors and quickly readying the space for Subculture, which expects to be open by the end of May.

Mayo said the new location will be more akin to the main, West Palm Beach store, at 509 Clematis St. Subculture’s new spot will serve a range of food, including breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. There also will be a separate annex for juices.

But coffee will not be roasted at 20 W. Atlantic Ave., as it was in the old Delray spot and as it is now in West Palm Beach.

On the plus side, the new location will have substantially more seating. That’s because at 2,200 square feet, it will be three times as large.

“Everyone is ecstatic because it will have more parking and more seats,” said Mayo, who noted that some patrons found it frustrating to have to “pay $10 to park for a $5 cup of coffee.”

Mayo also plans to host events there, including poetry readings and live music.

The location is temporary because Hudson Holdings plans to tear down 20 W. Atlantic Ave. and rebuilt into a 22,000-square foot, four-story building. The building will featuring retail on the ground floor, office space on the second floor, and then residential space on the third and fourth floors.

A breezeway to an interior courtyard and walkway leading to the six restored historic homes, including Subculture’s house, is part of the design.

Mayo said the house will have five parking spots just for to-go orders, plenty of nearby parking and also, outdoor seating.

All of this hinges on Hudson Holdings’ plan to restore and reuse the historic homes, plus plans to build a new hotel and condo-hotel units across from the Sundy House on South Swinton Avenue.

For more on this story, check back with mypalmbeachpost.com.

Here’s the reason why Subculture Coffee closed in Delray Beach

Subculture Coffee

Note: This post has been updated.

Subculture Coffee blamed “greedy landlords” on its Facebook page for the coffee shop’s closure Monday in downtown Delray Beach.

But it was a trial verdict and judgment that turned off the coffee drips at the popular java hangout, at 123 E. Atlantic Avenue Monday night.

On March 6, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Edward Garrison issued a final judgment against 123 East LLC, the entity that leased the space from property owner William R. Burke. Owners of Subculture, based in West Palm Beach, owned shares of 123 East LLC.

In a trial held earlier this month, Garrison ruled the coffee shop had violated its lease with Burke. The trial ended a two-year legal battle between Burke and 123 East LLC/Subculture.

The main source of contention: The sublease of the upstairs floor to real estate brokerage The Knight Group, without Mayo first obtaining written permission from Burke to do so. Subculture occupied the downstairs space.

According to court records, the lease limited the use of the entire premises to a restaurant. It also forbade the sublease of space without Burke’s prior written consent.

But Subculture co-owner Rodney Mayo leased the upstairs 1,000-square-foot space to Knight anyway, according to court records. The Knight Group also was named in the eviction action, first filed in October 2015.

The trial and judgment were not mentioned on Subculture’s Facebook page, which announced the store would be closing its doors Monday evening.

Instead, the Facebook post referenced “greedy landlords looking for any excuse to kick out existing tenants despite them paying rent on time.”

“It’s not about greed. It’s about trying to get your tenants to comply with the terms of the lease,” said Burke’s Boca Raton lawyer, Howard DuBosar. “They didn’t want to comply, and they paid the price.”

DuBosar added: “A judge would not enter an order of eviction unless the judge found there were material breaches of the lease, and in this case, that’s exactly what occurred.”

Garrison’s March 6 order gave Burke the right to take possession of his prime downtown Delray Beach space. It also ordered 123 East LLC to pay an accelerated rent of $366,708, plus attorneys fees and costs.

In an email, Mayo said the landlord won on a “technicality” based on an oral representation “versus a written.”

An oral agreement typically isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Nonetheless, Mayo, a sophisticated commercial real estate owner, investor and restaurant/nightclub operator, said he relied on a broker saying a sublease was OK.

And despite the lease language allowing for an upstairs restaurant, that was “virtually impossible” due to city rules, Mayo added. An upstairs restaurant would have required installation of an elevator and two stairways, which would have used up pretty much all of the first floor, Mayo said.

Mayo concluded Burke wanted the property back “most likely due to the increase in values and his ability to rent the property at a higher rent.”
Caught in the middle of all of this is the Knight Group’s Jim Knight, a prominent commercial real estate broker in Delray Beach.
Knight said he responded to a sign in the Subculture window about the available upstairs space. And he said he did what he could to make sure the deal was OK, including obtaining a letter from the city that the space could be used as a commercial real estate office.
Furthermore, Knight said he also relied on a broker’s oral OK about the deal.
“The Knight Group was assured by the listing broker that all parties, including the property owner, approved the sublease,” Knight said. “Knight Group was not aware there was an issue with the sub-lease until being notified after taking occupancy.”
The listing broker, Christian Prakas, declined to comment, as did his father, Tom Prakas. Both men are with Prakas & Co. in Boca Raton.
Knight Group now had taken moved back to its former offices, at 10 S.E. 1st Avenue, second floor, Knight said.
And despite Subculture’s closing, Mayo tried to remain upbeat about the store’s Monday closing.

“We went out with a bang and everything was free all day,” Mayo wrote. “The support from the community was overwhelming and very much appreciated.”

Mayo said he’s actively on the hunt for a new location, and already he’s found a couple of possibilities in the immediate area. But an appeal of Garrison’s decision is unlikely, due to the legal expenses involved, he added.

In any event, hope–  and coffee — spring eternal as spring nears.

Mayo said Subculture will be doing a “pop up” store Friday at Mizner Park in Boca Raton for St. Patrick’s Day.

Meanwhile, Subculture’s original location at 509 Clematis St. remains open.

 

 

Your neighborhood Outback, Carrabba’s or Bonefish Grill may not close

Local fans of the three popular chains may soon be able to stop worrying. It doe snot appear– at least for now — that any Outback Steakhouses, Carrabba’s Italian Grill or Bonefish Grill locations in the Palm Beach County are going to close.

Bloomin’ Brands, which owns the three chains, hasn’t publicly disclosed 40 locations it will shutter. But an unofficial count from media sources suggests the list will not include local spots.

RELATED: Hhgregg to close 88 stores, including all of its Palm Beach County

Outback Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse

Here is a compilation of the restaurant locations reportedly slated to close.

 

Alabama 

Carrabba’s in Montgomery

Arizona

Outback Steakhouse in Chandler

California

Fleming’s in Beverly Hills

Connecticut 

Bonefish Grill in Newington

Bonefish Grill in South Windsor

Carrabba’s  in Manchester

Florida

Carrabba’s in Jacksonville

Carrabba’s in South Miami

Illinois 

Carrabba’s in Naperville

Massachusetts

Bonefish Grill in Westwood

Carrabba’s in Tyngsboro

Outback Steakhouse in Framingham

Outback Steakhouse in Westborough

Michigan

Carrabba’s in Kentwood

Carrabba’s in Grand Rapids

Outback Steakhouse in Rochester Hills

Minnesota 

Bonefish Grill in St. Louis Park

Missouri

Outback Steakhouse in Hazelwood

New Jersey 

Bonefish Grill in Middletown

Carrabba’s in Egg Harbor Township

Carrabba’s in Evesham

Carrabba’s in Middletown

Outback Steakhouse in Lawrenceville

New York

Bonefish Grill in Colonie

North Carolina

Carrabba’s in Charlotte

Outback Steakhouse in Morehead City

South Carolina 

Carrabba’s in Columbia

Outback Steakhouse in Hilton Head

Texas

Outback Steakhouse in Houston (2 locations)

Bonefish Grill in Webster

Bonefish Grill in Katy