Restaurant Changes in South Florida

Photo via Pummarola Fort Lauderdale, Facebook.

If you were on the Drive during Pride perhaps you noticed a sign saying Violet’s and Zen’s, going into the old Siam restaurant space after an extensive remodel, will open soon.

Smile Empanadas has closed but another new bakery is opening in that same building, next to Ethos. If the baked goods are half as tasty as the pictures in the window of a hunky baker bear, Cake Daddy will be a big success.

Despite what we reported about the issues facing gourmet food courts a few weeks ago, look for a new one to open in downtown Hollywood in September on a historic plot of land that was once home to the Great Southern Hotel. Overlooking ArtsPark at Young Circle the new food court will be operated by Society 8 Hospitality, (Sistrunk Marketplace, Park & Ocean, and Wild Thyme).

Pasquale Mormile, who just won the Pizza Napoletana Division of the pizza-making competition staged in March at the 2023 International Pizza Expo & Conference in Las Vegas is the head chef at the newest outpost of Pummarola Pizzeria Napoletana, which just opened behind the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, at the foot of the drawbridge on Avenue of the Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

After a short run (three years) Gastrothèque closed on June 10, taking its place is a new location of Gary Bouvier’s Wilton Wings. Chef Aaron Croy is staying on and menu faves such as truffle mac and cheese, garlic confit skirt steak, and sticky buns with whipped cream anglaise and candied pecans will share space with Wings’ menu. As we went to press, we learned that the new Wilton Wings' location burned to the ground.

Wilton Wings will have a new neighbor as The Modern Rose recently opened its second location in the Gateway Shopping Center. Like the original in Deerfield Beach, this new iteration will have a similar menu, as well as a nighttime menu of tapas and beer, and wine. Emilio Dominguez says, “It’s a welcome space for all, from 14 to 84 years old, every walk of life, every color, every religion, every sexual orientation.”

Watch for Livia Bar & Grill to open in Flagler Village this fall. The neighborhood spot will serve Neapolitan-style pizza, linguine and clams, chicken parmesan, beer, and craft cocktails, and feature sports on numerous screens around the space.

It fought a valiant battle as the neighborhood gentrified all around it, but 925 Nuevos Cubanos, the classic ventanita on Andrews, just south of Sunrise, closed quietly at the end of May. The website is still up, but no one answers the phone or has returned messages.

Another one bites the dust. Smile Empanadas on Wilton Drive is just the latest in that location to crumble. Let’s hope Sardi, the new tenant, has better luck. Sardi is the Anglicized version of a Persian word meaning cold, so I’m guessing chilled Middle Eastern fare?

Local favorite Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill will be knocked down to make way for a new high-end hotel along the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale. Not to worry though, the demolition is still a couple of years away, and BoKamper’s will open a new restaurant in the hotel. There are still a lot of details to be worked out, so no need to rush out right away, but then again, why not?

Congratulations go out to Wilton Manors’ own Courtyard Café and Wynwood’s R House, which were both included in an article titled “30 Great LGBTQ+-Owned Restaurants to Visit in the US” on the Tasting Table blog. A qualified congrats because it lists the place as Shawn & Nick’s Courtyard Café, even though new owners took over months ago and dropped Shawn’s and Nick’s names. The piece also makes it seem as if Wilton Manors is a suburb of Orlando.  BTW one of the places they name in Chicago is known for having incredibly bad service.

Rick Karlin is OutSFL's food editor. Have a culinary tip to share? Email Rick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



Got a juicy lead or story idea? Let us know!



Out South Florida

Hello from OutSFL! We hope you'll consider donating to us. Starting a business can be a scary prospect, but with your support so far, we've had tremendous success. Thank you!

donate button