By Thom Smith

In spite of the tough times and the crazy politics, life goes on in Boynton Beach. In fact, in some cases it’s getting better. Just ask Troy Wyman.

For Wyman, the sun is shining brightly in Sunshine Square Plaza at the corner of
Woolbright and Federal, where his Boynton Diner is taking a big leap to …

As of Oct. 1, the diner will offer three squares a day. To the already ambitious
daily menu, add the likes of maple, peach and jalapeño-glazed twin boneless pork
chops, pineapple jerk-marinated jumbo shrimp brochette or smoked salmon penne
with asparagus and vodka dill cream sauce.

Wyman credits his new chef, Jim Grisbeck, who until recently cooked at Ta-boo on Palm
Beach’s Worth Avenue. Yeah, yeah, it’s hard to believe, but Boynton is doing
better than Palm Beach, at least where the Diner is concerned.

“There’s nothing in the area that does our kind of food, diner food that’s a step
above,” Wyman said. “The
opportunity was there and I picked up a great chef, so we decided to try
dinner. It’s the best value in the area.”

Wyman’s optimism is bolstered by the surge in occupancy at Las Ventanas, the massive
494-unit rental and retail project across the street, where occupancy has
already reached 80 percent.

“We really hated to lose him,” Ta-boo manager Mark Mariacher said of Grisbeck, “but
he was much better than what we had him doing here and with business being
slow, we had no choice.”

The breakfast menu offers 50-plus items, from basic bacon and eggs to fancy French
toasts. The Camp Fire ($9.50) is
two slices of graham-cracker-encrusted French toast stuffed with chocolate and
marshmallow. The seafood frittata ($12.95) includes grilled shrimp, crab and
lobster with three eggs and Swiss cheese topped with béarnaise sauce, plus a
side and toast.

A recent lunch menu included chicken pot pie ($8.95) and fried catfish jambalaya
with shrimp, mahi, crab and lobster with peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic
rice and tomatoes, topped with cornmeal breaded catfish and jalapeno cornbread
on the side ($9.95).

Diner food? A step above? How about a
giant step?


Speaking of Palm Beach, the massive seven-month, $15.8 million Worth Avenue improvement
project is on schedule and by some accounts should be done before the projected
Nov. 30 finish date and under budget. The new clock tower is in place at the
ocean end of the street. Sidewalks have been widened and paved with tabby; new
street lights are going up; pedestrian rest areas will include shade trees.

Of course, the construction has snarled traffic and hasn’t been great for
business. County Road, which was closed just south of Worth Avenue in early
August, is scheduled to reopen Oct. 15. Some businesses have struggled.

“Our customers have been very loyal,” Ta-boo’s Mark Mariacher said. “Despite all the
mess and the inconvenience, they’ve kept coming back. Bice and Renato’s have
held on, too!


Word is finally out … Burt Rapoport’s new restaurant in Delray will be called Deck
. Nestled along the Intracoastal at 840 East Atlantic — hence the name, which
Burt says “suited the concept well” — the former Busch’s Seafood site will seat
260 inside and outside along a 150-foot dock. Rapoport, who also has Henry’s on
Jog Road west of Delray and Bogart’s in Boca, will put the kitchen in the
competent hands of Bogart’s exec chef Chuck Gittleman. Look for a casual menu
of small plate dishes and finger food with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

had hoped to open in October, but now he’s pushed it back to mid- to late November.
“We had hoped to open sooner,” he said, “but it never goes the way you want it.
Little things always pop up, and I want to get it right first.”


Look for lunch service to begin in mid-October at Lantana’s newest eatery, Apicius.
After several delays, Leo Balestrieri finally began serving Florentine
specialities for dinner at his ristorante
and enoteca (wine repository) at 210
E. Ocean in early September. Balestrieri has turned it inside out with 4,000
square feet of inside and outside seating. Apicius has a lot of history on its
side, being named for the first Italian cookbook, but the site’s history has
been spotty. Four attempts since 2005 have failed: most recently R-Kitchen,
Sara’s Kitchen and the highly regarded Il Cioppino and Il Trullo.


Meanwhile in Lake Worth, Prime 707 which begat Ouzo Blue has begat Fiorentina. The names
have changed, but at least one face remains the same at 707 Lake Ave. That
being Josh Santangela, who has gone from manager at Prime 707 to chef/owner at
Fiorentina. He’s dishing out contemporary regional Italian, or as he sees it,
“like Paradiso but with a lower price point.”

More change in Lake Worth as we say good-bye to Yesterday’s, and say hello to Palm
Beach Home Interiors

Yesterday’s Antique Mall, the popular but unprofitable (for the landlord) antique
consignment store on Lake Avenue, closed rather suddenly last month. But as of
Oct. 1, it’s home to Palm Beach Home Interiors, a furniture consignment store,
operated by Palm Beach Consignment Group. The company also owns Van Michael’s
in West Palm Beach and Jamie’s Classic Consignment in Lantana
and plans to open Antique Row Consignments on Oct. 6 at the
former Chris Ellis Collection space on Dixie Highway in
West Palm Beach. Offering “upscale furniture without the upscale price of new
retail,” the new store will offer a couple of other little twists: monthly
exhibits by local and regional artists and seminars in art and home design.


Both The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach and the the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for
the Cure
are celebrating their 20th anniversary in Palm Beach this year. Since
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the resort is teaming with the
foundation to offer a special deal that actually will continue until race day,
Jan. 20.

The purely pink “Sweet Dreams for the Cure” package offers each guest a pink
bathrobes and a pair of fluffy pink socks, a pink “Dream for the Cure”
pillowcase from Pioneer Linens, a pink pedicure from the resort’s Eau Spa by
, and special pink welcome cupcakes.

Five percent of the proceeds ($399 per room) goes to the Komen Foundation. Call


Since he arrived on the scene in the early ‘70s, Dennis Koehler has been involved in
public service. A veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam, he represented District
3 on the County Commission from 1976-1984. One of the first proponents for
controlled growth in Palm Beach County, he continued that role on the County
Planning Commission.
Koehler also is an advocate for veterans and veterans rights. Last month the
Vietnam Veterans of America recognized him with its highest honor, the VVA
Commendation Medal, for “outstanding, exemplary service to veterans, and to his
He’s still fighting . . . but now the foe is cancer. What started out as small
battle against melanoma has become a full-body war. The cancer and its
treatment have forced him to close his one-man law practice and the bills are
staggering, so fellow veterans and friends have organized a benefit at E.R.
Bradley’s Saloon
in West Palm Beach at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 12. Sponsorships are
available, but friends are urged to come and contribute what they can. For more
info, contact

Don’t miss

The first Oktoberfest of the season — Saturday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m., at the Count de
Hoernle Pavilion at the of F.E.C. Railway Station
in Boca Raton. Benefits the
Boca Historical Society. Food, German bier,
bake sale (German) and music by the Sheffield Brothers. $75, 561-395-6766

The big daddy, the American German Club’s 37th annual fest, opens Friday, Oct. 8
and runs for two weekends at the club’s headquarters at 5111 Lantana Road. $7
admission, free parking, bands from Munich, German food and drink, carnival
rides and lots of dancing — belly, Irish and, of course, chicken. 561-967-6464.


While the Dolphins are away, the Dol-Fans will play …yes""> at Mizner Park in Boca. This year the Dolphins and the city
have teamed up to produce “South Florida’s biggest away-game parties” every
time the Fins are playing somewhere else. On Oct. 17, while the Dolphins are
playing the Packers in Green Bay, several thousand fans are expected to join
Dolphins alumni, cheerleaders and the T.D. Fins Force to watch games on
large-screen TVs. Area restaurants offer game specials and admission and
parking are free. See


He wasn’t around back then, but Harvey Oyer, III knows better than most what life was
like for Florida’s legendary “Barefoot Mailmen.” Oyer, an attorney and
historian, is the great-grand-nephew of Charles Pierce, one of that select and
celebrated group in the late 1800s who delivered the mail between Palm Beach
and Miami, almost 70 miles one-way by foot and by rowboat.

Oyer also is an author. To help celebrate Florida Heritage Month, he’ll discuss his
latest book, The Adventures of Charlie
Pierce: The Last Egret
, on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Delray Beach Public
Library. No charge. 561-266-9490.


Just in case BP hasn’t learned its lesson, the Raging Grannies and supporters of
Clay Glass Metal Stone Cooperative Gallery in Lake Worth intend to make a point
from Oct. 1-13 with its latest exhibit, “The Raging Arts (or) What Are We Doing
to This Planet?”

To call attention to recent environmental disasters, the gallery’s sidewalk will
become a beach scene complete with sand, wildlife (extant and extinct) and an
oil-pumping derrick. Local artists will be joined by the Raging Grannies, part
of a national movement of activist grandmothers, who perform parodies that
promote peace not war.

The Oct. 1 opening will include wine and cheese tastings. Call 215-205-9441.

Thom Smith is a freelance writer. He can be reached at

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