The Coastal Star

5 not-to-miss spots on East Ocean Avenue in Lantana

Story by Mary Thurwachter
Photos by Ruth Cincotta

Some say Lantana is a quaint drinking village with a fishing problem. You can get a feel for both west of the bridge on East Ocean Avenue, the town’s Old Florida-style downtown with restaurants, shops, Bicentennial and Sportsman’s parks, a fishing pier and a marina.
What can you do there? Here are five suggestions:

Start the day with a latte and a freshly baked almond croissant. Jouko Vaskivuo’s Palm Beach Bakery and Cafe (206 E. Ocean Ave. — right around the corner from the Hoochi Coochi Wax Studio) remains a favorite for local Finns who gather around tables outside. Vaskivuo is known for his European sourdough breads, pastries, cakes and pies. We found the friendly Inger Kolehmainen (above) behind the counter.

Protect your eyes with fashionable shades. In the Sunshine State, sunglasses are a must. See Alan Ross at Shades of Time (214 E. Ocean Ave., to be fitted with some high-quality, high-functioning and cool-looking sunglasses from top manufacturers. Ross loves his Costa del Mars. “My prices are the best in the area and I won’t let anyone go out of here looking like a doofus,” he says.

Find out what’s biting and stock up on bait. Going fishing?  See Marc Lee at Bar Jack Fish Tales (314 E. Ocean Ave., Find everything from ice and snacks to high-end trolling bait. You can also reserve a spot on the Lady K drift boat (the boat goes out at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.). Lee’s family has owned the marina for several decades.

Buy a colorful T-shirt or koozie. The gift shop at the Old Key Lime House (300 E. Ocean Ave., is full of fun souvenirs and beach gear. Shop while you wait to eat lunch or dinner in the restaurant in back, which has a chickee-hut roof built by Seminole Indians and tiki bar. The waterside view can’t be beat. Built in 1889 by pioneering Lantana family the Lymans, the house, painted Key lime green, has become one of the most popular island-style eateries around. Be sure to have a slice of the restaurant’s namesake Key lime pie. And say hello to the trio of giant lobsters gliding around in a fish tank in the lobby.

Catch breakfast or lunch at Kona Bay Café (310 E. Ocean Ave., www.konabaycafe, next to Bar Jack’s). Start with a giant mimosa. And, if you’ve been fishing, the chef may cook your catch. Not looking for seafood? Try the Coconut Macadamia Nut French Toast. Scrumptious! Other good places to eat on the avenue include Mario’s Ocean Ave (225 E. Ocean Ave.), and Oceano Kitchen (201 E. Ocean Ave.).

This is the second of three shopping areas The Coastal Star will check out this year. Next month, we’ll visit Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach.

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