Lilly Pulitzer lovers in South Florida get early access to new summer items

Lilly lovers in South Florida have the chance to score the company’s latest summer items a week before anyone else.

Photo provided by the Lilly Pulitzer store in Boca Raton.

The store in Boca Raton is the first location in the country to offer the retailer’s new summer items, including dresses, strapless tops and resort evening wear.

RELATED: These new stores are coming to The Gardens Mall

Assistant manager Sara Mignano said the Boca store was selected by the company to be a model for visual displays for the last summer delivery, and as a result those items are already available here.

You won’t be able to get the items online or in any other Lilly store until July 5, Mignano said.

“We have the product out,” Mignano said. “It is the only place people will be able to shop this brand new line.”

The store is located at the Town Center at Boca Raton.

New food tour in Delray Beach offers taste of Atlantic Avenue

Delray Beach-based Craft Food Tours opened its doors in December, offering both tourists and locals a chance to eat their way through a 1.1-mile tour of the city.

The company, run by owner Matt Guidice and his business partner Anthony Guzman, offers three-hour walking tours with stops at six restaurants in downtown Delray Beach.

MORE: Culinary tours bolster Palm Beach County’s tourism menu

Since opening six months ago, Craft Food Tours has hosted roughly 45 groups. Public tours are offered on weekends.

Now the company is looking to expand.

Guidice, who recently decided to quit his full-time job with a bank in Miami to focus on growing the tourism business, said he plans to launch a Thursday night tour for locals this summer. By the start of the winter tourism season, he plans to offer tours Tuesdays through Sundays.

Guidice also hopes to begin offering private tours for large groups.

Since opening last year, the tour company has built up its reputation on the tourism-related website TripAdvsior. The site now ranks Craft Food Tours among the Top 10  “Things to Do” in Delray Beach.

Craft Food Tours is one of four local businesses seizing on a growing trend in the tourism industry — food-themed travel.

RELATED: New beer bus offers tours of Palm Beach County’s local breweries

“The great thing about these tours is that a lot of them introduce you to local restaurants you may not have experienced on your own,” said Ashley Svarney, the Director of Public Relations and Communications at Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s tourism marketing organization.  “That is what more and more travelers want. They want to know these local places that they can only experience when they visit a place like The Palm Beaches.”

As many as 40 percent of U.S. travelers plan their vacations around food, according to the World Food Travel Association. In Palm Beach County, 28 percent of all tourists cite culinary motivations as the reason for their visit, tourism officials have said.

“Food is really the only universal language,” Guidice said.

After taking roughly 20 food tours in cities across the world, Guidice said he decided to start his own. Guidice and Guzman decided to launched the company in Delray Beach.

The tours cost $65 for adults and include 12 tastings, 2 cocktails and a craft beer.

The company partners with eight restaurants in Delray Beach, including several smaller spots,  Guidice said.

“We have fantastic relationships” with the restaurants, Guidice said. “Without the restaurants we can’t do the food tour.”

The rise of culinary tours in Palm Beach County is a testament to the area’s flourishing food scene,  Svarney said.

“The culinary scene it really is taking off, and more and more people are noticing,” Svarney said.

The county’s culinary tours can also help drive business to area restaurants, she added.

“These culinary tours have the opportunity to produce more business for these restaurants and bars later on down the road,” Svarney said. “These visitors might have samples of a very small dish that they fell in love with and maybe the come back and enjoy a full dinner or a full lunch.”

Macy’s Backstage outlet store to open this weekend at this local mall

Macy’s Backstage, the company’s outlet store, will open its first Florida location on Saturday (April 29) inside the Macy’s at the Boynton Beach Mall.

Caption:CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 14: A shopper carries a purchase from Macy’s along the Magnificent Mile shopping district on August 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Macys reported lower than-expected second quarter sales today and cut their profit outlook for the year. Some analysts fear the disappointed news will reverberate throughout the retail sector because Macy’s is looked at as a barometer of spending among middle- to upper-income shoppers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

To mark the occasion, the company plans to give away $20 gift cards to the first 100 customers. A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for 10 a.m.

The 19,000-square-foot outlet space will boast the “best of the Macy’s department store brand,” the company said.

The outlet’s opening comes less than a month after Macy’s closed its CityPlace location.  The 108,000-square-foot store in CityPlace is one of 68 locations the retailer plans to close this year as part of a downsizing effort aimed at boosting the retailer’s digital sales, outlet stores and luxury beauty division.

This Boca hotel just completed a multi-million dollar renovation

The Hampton Inn Boca Raton on Yamato Road has completed a multi-million dollar renovation project that includes upgrades to all 94 of its guest rooms, lobby, business center and pool.

The Hampton Inn Boca Raton, 1455 Yamato Road, has completed a multi-million dollar renovation project. (Photo provided)

The project, which hotel officials said cost between $2.8 and $3.2 million to complete, started in August.  The hotel plans to hold a grand re-opening ceremony today. Local business leaders and tourism officials are expected to be in attendance.

Hotel officials said renovations to the rooms included everything from the carpet to the mattresses. Rooms with two double mattresses were upgraded to queens.

The hotel, originally built in 1996, ranks 2nd of 27 hotels in Boca Raton on Trip Advisor. As a perk for its guests, the hotel provides day passes to the neighboring Lifetime Fitness.

The renovation comes amid a surge in the number of hotel rooms in the Boca area, tourism officials said.

“This Hampton Inn renovation continues to strengthen our growing Boca Raton hotel product, along with the recently opened Hyatt Place and the future opening of the Mandarin Oriental,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “Boca Raton now boasts one third of the county’s room inventory with more options for visitors, at a variety of price points and locations, which help us promote our southernmost city as a desirable vacation and meetings destination.”


The Fresh Market is one of several new businesses coming to Boca Raton

The Fresh Market is one of several stores set to open in a new retail  development on Military Trail in Boca Raton.

photo provided
photo provided

The food market will open on Jan. 11 in a 20,000-square-foot space at the new Park Place development, a five-building retail development on Military Trail between Yamato Road and Clint Moore Road.

Several businesses, including Rappy’s Deli, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Eileen Fisher, a women’s clothing store, have already opened in the new development.

The Habit Burger is expected to open on Dec. 21, while PheNOMeNOM Nitrogen Ice Cream, Sprint, Raw Juice, The Cheese Course and The Fresh Kitchen are expected to open next month. Venetian Nail Spa is set to open in February, followed by Burtons Grill & Bar in April/May.

According to the project’s developer, more than 80 percent of the space in the 64,000-square-foot center has already been leased.

The retail project was developed by Schmier & Feurring Properties, Inc., a Boca Raton based real estate development firm.


Boca Raton’s $1,000 ice cream sundae is made with edible 24-carat gold

Would you pay $1,000 for dessert?

Serendipity 3 at The Boca Raton Resort and Club is betting that at least a few of its customers just might.

The sweet shop’s Golden Opulence Sundae costs a whopping $1,000 and is so special that it requires customers order it 48 hours in advance of their visit.

The Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3 at The Boca Raton Resort and Club costs a whopping $1,000 and is so special that it requires customers order it 48 hours in advance of their visit. (photo provided)
The Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3 at The Boca Raton Resort and Club costs a whopping $1,000 and is so special that it requires customers order it 48 hours in advance of their visit.
(photo provided by Boca Raton Resort & Club)

The sundae features 20 scoops of homemade gelatos (vanilla bean, dark chocolate, fresh strawberry) and sorbets (raspberry, mango); 8 sheets of gold leaf some covering dark chocolate truffles, others on the gelatos and sorbet;  4 petals of arabesque chocolate style décor; and a large arabesque chocolate style crown.

Toppings include caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, m&ms, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, fresh raspberries, candied pecans, maraschino cherries and marshmallow sauce.

The extravagant dessert is serviced in a Waterford Crystal bowl with a mother of pearl spoon, both of which the guest gets to keep.

“The story behind this particular sundae was more of a Marie Antoinette large “opulent” style, with an oversized Waterford Crystal bowl with a very organic tree trunk and branches pewter stand,” Pastry Chef Rebecca LeDee said. “We wanted the chocolate décor to showcase that particular style, so we chose an arabesque design which is composed of just interlacing scrolling and rhythmic patterns. To enhance the experience we wrapped some of the gelato and sorbet in 24k edible gold leaf, as well as some of the decadent chocolate truffles. All gelatos and sorbets are made in house with the finest ingredients.”

For those interested in placing an order, you’ll need to make a reservation at the resort first. The restaurant is only accessible to guests and club members.




Boca restaurant is giving away a year’s worth of free coffee

To celebrate its 4th anniversary, Corner Bakery Cafe in Boca Raton is giving away a year’s worth of free coffee to the first 100 customers in line when the restaurant opens at 7 a.m. on Jan. 29.


The first 100 customers will get a  free commemorative travel mug and free daily refills of coffee with any purchase for one year, the restaurant said in a news release.

Corner Bakery Cafe is located at 2240 NW 19th Street, Boca Raton.

The restaurant offers artisan breads, hot breakfasts, made-to-order salads, sandwiches, paninis and pastas, soups and baked sweets.