The Coastal Star

Around Town: Reports swirl of a modern family split

Workers from Kast Construction enjoyed a BBQ lunch
and gift prizes during the “topping off” party for the 4001
Condo being built by Kolter Homes on A1A in Gulf Stream. 

Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star


By Thom Smith

While most in the crowd at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner were breaking up over Jimmy Kimmel’s barbs, Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb apparently were just breaking up. Despite no confirmation from either the actress or the Delray Beach businessman/political aspirant, the national tabloid media (uh-oh, The Coastal Star is tabloid-sized, too!) is frothing with reports that the wunder-couple’s two-year romance has run its course. For Vergara, it’s certainly not the first time. 

Sofia Vergara

Nick Loeb

In what must have been a tumultuous period, the Modern Family television series star married her childhood sweetheart at age 18, gave birth a year later and barely a year after that broke off the marriage and began dental school in her native Colombia. (Say aaahhh!)

So sad. Delray sources say the breakup is a bummer for Vergara’s 19-year-old son Manolo, who saw Loeb as a father figure. Some reports claim Manolo’s acceptance to Boston University’s film school was helped along by Loeb.

        Kevin James                                     

Some reports have Loeb continuing to pursue the relationship, but should he return to Delray, he might have occasion to meet the star of another sitcom. Fairly reliable word in the local real estate community indicates that Delray Beach will soon be a safer place to live with the arrival of Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Actor and comedian Kevin James has bought a modest bungalow — eight bedrooms, nine baths, 25,000 square feet total — on two acres at the north end of the beach. According to Zillow.com, the owner was asking $19.9 million, but $16.9 million is more realistic. No word from the James camp, but the actor did spend time in South Florida in mid-April.  

      Miera Melba                                       

Should James need any interior touch-ups, he might want to summon Delray interior designer Miera Melba. But he may have to wait a while, as she’s a contestant in HGTV’s latest Design Star series that premiered May 29. 

“The experience was absolutely delightful,” Melba said. “I’m their first grandmother. I’m at least 20 years older than the next one. They even called me Mamma Mia a couple of times.”     Melba, 64, can remember when the town was known as Dull-ray, and despite stints at Robb & Stucky and in Palm Beach Gardens, it always has been her home base. However, she’s willing to move since the winner is given a show on HGTV. In fact, the Design Star host, David Bromstad, had studied at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota and was working as a designer in Miami when he won during the series’ inaugural season. 

“It’s like American Idol; it’s hard to get into,” Melba said. She first answered a casting call in Miami, then went through a screening process that whittled hundreds of applicants down to a not-so-dirty dozen. The series was recorded in Los Angeles in January and February. Melba knows the outcome, but she’s sworn to secrecy: “I’m on hold,” she said. But she did reveal her strategy. “My game plan: I wanted to be the Baby Boomer of the show. I design for my age group. It’s our turn now.”

Actually, Melba isn’t the only Palm Beach County resident in the competition. Rachel Kate Hunt is back in South Florida for the second time and now lives in Boynton Beach, only a few miles from Melba. However, the preponderance of her work is back in her native Minnesota, which is her base as far as HGTV is concerned. Her work includes wedding gowns, handbags and interior design. Take a look at rachelkate.com.

      Susan Boyd                                       

Suzanne Boyd, another Delray Beach resident, has put in more than a decade as a news anchor at WPEC-Channel 12. She also is a farmer’s daughter, mother of two and a former Watermelon Queen.    

And when the South Palm Beach County Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society asked her to enter its inaugural Woman of the Year fundraising drive, she called upon several other skills. Arranging a special night at Boston’s on the Beach, Boyd called upon skills perfected while a University of Florida student: she tended bar. Then she jumped on stage and sang along with the Amber Leigh Band

When the counting was done, Boyd raised $24,500, second to Boca lymphoma survivor Nicole Lord’s $38,000. Boca attorney Ben Werber was the top male with $14,000, helping the drive bring in a total of $131,000. Boyd made one other contribution: her weekly newscast segments featuring leukemia and lymphoma survivors brought priceless attention to the cause.

                                              ***

Speaking of Boston’s on the Beach, its new upscale, upstairs dining spot 50 Ocean will host “Dine Out for a Cause: Centennial Style” on July 21, the first in a series of fundraisers by the Delray Beach Public Library to celebrate its centennial. Ocean Properties public and community relations director Kerry Morrissey will serve as host and celebrity chef, and a portion of the night’s proceeds will go to the library. The next “Dine Out” is set for July 26 at The Sundy House.

On Aug. 18, with co-sponsorship by Shore Thing, the Library will present Beach, Books & Barbeque at The Delray Beach Club. Top beach volleyball pros, including Olympian Steve Grotowski, Shore Thing’s top-ranked pro, will conduct clinics and play exhibition matches.  Call 278-3364 or www.delraylibrary.org.

                                              ***

Boston’s Third Annual Red, White & Blues Festival — six days of bar-band madness — kicks off with a free party June 29. Some 40 acts are expected to take the stage over six days, including Bobby Rush, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers with special guest “Magic Dick,” John Mooney, Beverly McClellan, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, The New Orleans Suspects, Southern Hospitality, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and Albert Castiglia. Daily prices vary; the ultimate VIP Package includes an event pass, festival T-shirt, event poster, VIP-only raffle, four drink tickets, and a $10 food voucher. (www.bostonsbluefest.com or 278-3364.)

                                              ***

Up in Lantana, the bar scene looks to jump a notch or two with the arrival of Lantana Jack’s on Federal, just north of Ocean Avenue. But don’t expect a reincarnation of the former Lantana Ale House.

“This is not going to be your typical neighborhood sports bar,” said Kevin Walters, one of three principals, none of whom is named Jack. “We like to call it an island-inspired bar and grill, a place to escape the day.”

Walters knows upscale. He spent nearly two decades as vice president of food and beverage at The Breakers. He oversaw the resort’s culinary expansion that included Echo, the offsite Asian fusion restaurant, which was run by David Thall and Charles Skidmore, now his partners in Lantana. 

“We’ll have TVs,” Walters said, “but we want to focus on the menu and the bar. We’ll have a creative drink menu and we’ll have a chef in the kitchen, not just a line cook.” 

The chef, Chris Palmer, most recently at Tap 42 in Fort Lauderdale, was mentored by South Florida legend Allen Susser. “We always dreamt of doing something like this,” Walters said. “Now the stars 

have aligned.”

                                              ***

Perhaps some day, Lantana Jack’s will be a stop on the ever-growing Bus Loop program. The newest route, Boca, was launched June 1 with stops at Mizner Park, Royal Palm Place and FAU/Glades Road. Boca participants — The Dubliner, FAU Living Room Theatre, Mario’s Osteria, Wishing Well, The Spaniard, Rebel House, Funky Biscuit, Tucci’s Pizza, Black Rose Irish Pub and Platforms — offered free drinks and snacks at each stop with a post-party at The Dubliner.  

Next up is Delray, July 20, with the loop running from Boston’s to Sundy House and lots of stops in between. Proceeds will benefit the library, Spirit of Giving and The Milagro Center

Guests can linger at any stop as long as they’re back to their terminus by midnight. Advance tickets are $20 and proceeds go to participating charities. And one more thing: Designated drivers receive free passage. For details, www.busloop.org

                                              ***

Speaking of food, more than 55 restaurants are participating in Palm Beaches Restaurant Week. From June 3-9, they will offer prix-fixe meals, only $20.12 for lunch, $30.12 for dinner.  It’s a great way for restaurants to boost business in the off-season and a great way for diners to try new places.

How difficult is  it? Just go to www.palmbeachesrestaurant
week.com for a list of participating restaurants and special menus and make your reservation. That’s all there is to it. 

South county choices include: Bizaare Ave Café in Lake Worth; Tapas 210 Fusion in Lantana; Temple Orange at The Ritz-Carlton, Manalapan; Da Vinci’s Italian Restaurant and The Living Room in Boynton; Buddha Sky Bar, City Oyster, Dada, Deck 84, Henry’s and SoLita Italian in Delray; Kapow!, Philippe Chow, Seasons 52 and The Dubliner in Boca. 

Choices in Palm Beach include: Café Boulud, Malcolm’s at The Omphoy, Palm Beach Grill, PB Catch, Renato’s, Ta-boó, Testa’s, The Four Seasons, Trevini and 264 The Grill

Allen Susser                                       

And on June 20, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation — Palm Beach returns. Chefs Zach Bell of Addison Reserve Country Club, Clay Conley of Buccan and Allen Susser of Burger Bar are chairing the event at the Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion. There’ll be food stations by more than 20 restaurants, from Café Chardonnay in the Gardens to Casa D’Angelo in Boca, and lots of beverages to wash it down. 

Two tiers of tickets: $90 general admission from 7-9:30 p.m. or $150 VIP with early entry at 6:30 p.m., plus silent auction preview, lounge area, cooking competitions, gift bags and special wine and spirits. (strengthflorida.org)

                                              ***

The fate of the Caldwell Theatre Company remains in legal limbo, but theater is not totally dark in Boca. With A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia opening Sept. 28 for a two-week run and Kander and Ebb’s Chicago following in March, the Boca Raton Theatre Guild is serving notice that it intends to be more than a community ensemble. Performances are set for the Willow Theatre in Sugar Sand Park off Military Trail.

The Willow also will be the new home for The Women’s Theatre Project, which is moving from Fort Lauderdale.  The decade-old professional company presents readings, one-act plays, and full-length plays by local, national, and international female playwrights that explore the female voice. Scheduled for this season are Delval Divas, a comedy by Barbara Pease Weber (Nov. 2-18) and The Interview by Faye Sholiton (Jan. 4-20).  For info: Carol Kassie at ckassie@gmail.com or 445-9244.

                                              ***

Fans and boosters were surprised when FAU’s “big owl,” Athletic Director Craig Angelos, was unceremoniously dumped from the nest in March. Angelos had been at FAU for nine years and had overseen construction of impressive new facilities, including the stadium. While FAU’s athletic program has enjoyed some bright spots, other factors came into play: lack of support by coaches and of coaches, inadequate recruiting budgets, failing to cut a deal for stadium naming rights. Some also questioned the hiring in December of new football coach Carl Pelini, a Nebraska assistant. He was already a subject of gossip in Lincoln, and a month after his hiring, he filed for divorce. 

Yet some FAU observers suggest that loyalty, or lack thereof, may have been the key to Angelos’ demise. 

The dish was that every time a school advertised for a new athletic director, Angelos applied for the job. That might be good for Angelos, who’s considered an up-and-comer in collegiate sports management, but not if you’re an up-and-coming collegiate sports program that’s looking for someone who’ll be around for the long run. 

Now it’s up to FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. Stay tuned. 

                                              ***

Club news: There’s a new face at the Delray Beach Club Frank Forlini, clubhouse manager.

If Forlini, who will assist general manager Shane Peachey, looks familiar, it’s because he spent 18 years working at the Seagate Club and five years working at the Boca Raton Resort and Club

Besides the local jobs, Forlini also spent five years at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.

Thom Smith is a freelance writer. Find him at thomsmith@ymail.com


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