The Coastal Star

Around Town: Soccer star has ‘day’ named for him in Boca

Soccer sensation Jozy Altidore (right ) poses with Boca High School student Michael Vanaki, and a signed American flag at Waterstone Resort & Marina.  Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Thom Smith

     Twenty minutes into the U.S. Team’s World Cup opener against Ghana, Jozy Altidore tore a hamstring. Never played another minute.
“It was lousy; I didn’t get to contribute anything,” he said, itching to return. But until the experts with the U.S. Mens National Team and the Sunderland Association Football Club in England decide he’s ready, he can only play around. So the 2013 U.S. player of the year served as an analyst for Fox Sports’ coverage of the World Cup final, promoted a new adidas golf shoe and cut an impressive fashion figure in indigo Kenneth Cole and black leather tie at ESPN’s ESPY awards, before coming home to visit family and friends and pick up an accolade or two.
“One of the most favorite things I get to do as mayor is to proclaim ‘days,’ ” Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie said as the sun set at the Waterstone Resort July 18, “so I’m going to proclaim Jozy Altidore Day.”
 Haynie was introduced by Boca Raton Tribune Publisher Douglas Heiser, an unabashed soccer fan who organized and promoted the event.
Much has changed in the decade since Jozy was a skinny kid at Boca Prep. Now, 6-foot-1, he could easily model for Kenneth Cole. He pulls in more than $2 million a year as a player, and endorsements are starting to add up, too; but he remains focused on scoring goals.
“I’m fine; I can’t wait to get back on the field,” Altidore said, between hugs and handshakes from family, fans and old teammates from youth soccer and Boca Prep.
But perhaps not so fast as he would like, his father Joseph cautions: “He’ll play when they say he can play. He tore a hamstring. They don’t want him to go out too soon and just tear it again.”  
Though many Boca Ratonians claim him as their own, Altidore actually has never lived in Boca Raton proper. He was born in New Jersey and grew up in Loggers Run, a large development two miles west of the turnpike in unincorporated Palm Beach County. Nevertheless, he’s a keeper.

The Wanderer goes to sea. Headlining Holland America’s Malt Shop Memories Cruise Nov. 2 aboard the Eurodam will be Boca Raton’s own Dion. Joining him on the seven-day stroll to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West will be such Bandstand legends as Lloyd Price, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Herman’s Hermits, The Duprees, Brenda Lee, Peggy March and the Mike Love version of The Beach Boys with Bruce Johnston and Jeff Foskett.
Of course, Dion DiMucci’s music has never been just for the malt shop gang. His edgy 1989 album, Yo Frankie, included cameos by Paul Simon, Lou Reed, k.d. lang, Patty Smyth, Bryan Adams and Dave Edmunds. He is the only performer on the cruise to have earned a Grammy nomination in this century — for his 2006 collection of blues and country standards, Bronx in Blue.
Tickets, at, start at $1,875.

If basketball in Cleveland doesn’t work out, maybe LeBron James can come to Boca Raton, and pull a few spin moves . . . in the kitchen.  His latest off-court move is a stake in Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a California chain whose “pizzasmiths” spin pies in three minutes. The first South Florida store opens in Fort Lauderdale in September, followed by a Boca Raton operation just north of Fifth Avenue Shops in the fourth quarter, and Davie later.  
According to, LeBron, despite no college education, is worth about $270 million. This year he earned $19 million from the Miami Heat and some $53 million from endorsements. To ease his tax burden, he invests. He reportedly owns 10 percent of Cannondale, the bike company, and made $30 million from his stake in Beats by Dre headphones when Apple bought the company.  His investment in Fenway Sports Group (formed by Boca Raton resident and Boston Red Sox majority owner John Henry) gives him a stake in the Sox, Roush Fenway Racing (NASCAR) and even the Liverpool Football Club.
Blaze’s owners include Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis (Chronicle; I Robot; Predator; The Firm, and coming soon, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and — what a coincidence — Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.
Still on the subject of pizza, or perhaps off the subject, California Pizza Kitchen just had another grand opening, so to speak. Its restaurant at Boca Raton’s Town Center has been opened up to make the pizza chefs more visible, and the menu has been restructured. For a California twist on pizza, flatbreads are hot: The Bianco California version is layered with whipped truffle cream, Gorgonzola and mozzarella and topped with garlic and sage leaves; while a New England twist on the lobster roll stuffs the flatbread with, natch, lobster meat.
 Hello, again . . . almost . . .  Boca Raton old-timers (anyone who lived here in the late 1900s) remember fondly La Vieille Maison, a French dining treasure in a nifty old house on East Palmetto Park Road that closed in 2006. Arturo Gismondi hasn’t forgotten. The owner of Arturo’s Ristorante on North Federal, Trattoria Romana on East Palmetto Park Road), two Cannoli Kitchen takeouts and Biergarten in Royal Palm Place has now added La Nouvelle Maison. It’s in the 5 Palms Building, 455 E. Palmetto Park Road, just three blocks west of the old house.
As for La Vieille Maison, the property proved more valuable than the food, so after 30 years, founder Leonce Picot sold it in 2006 for $2.6 million.
Thomas Giles, an engineer for Boca creator Addison Mizner, had built the old house in 1927 and after the family sold it in 1953, it was converted to apartments, then into a real estate office. Picot sold it to 770 PPR, a trust owned by developer Gregory K. Talbott. The building and Talbott’s financing fell into disrepair and after subsequent bankruptcy litigation, the property passed to TJCV, a New York-based Land Trust. Proposals to landmark the building were resisted because of its condition and finally squelched when it was bulldozed in 2011.   
The grapevine is again abuzz. The website reports that the land was bought by Irving Litwak, a Boca Raton businessman and philanthropist and will be the site of Chabad Center of East Boca Raton.
In a whirlwind 15 months, 3rd and 3rd, which is at the corner of Northeast Third Street and Third Avenue, became one of the hottest little restaurant/bars in Delray Beach. Then on May 30, owner John Paul Kline announced that the restaurant would be closing the next day to “maintain ourselves” and reportedly make some renovations before reopening in September.
There was a time in South Florida when many restaurants closed for the summer. The tourists were gone and itinerant staffers would relocate to gigs in the Northeast for the season. Such was the case at Testa’s in Palm Beach, but it’s now open year-round, because the summer business is decent and the owners don’t want to lose good staff.
Kline already has gone through several chefs, the newest coming on board only a few weeks before he shut down. Staffers, who don’t like being out of work for three or four months, reportedly signed on elsewhere. But Kline may have an ulterior motive.
Brave Man Media, a Delray Beach-based production company, has announced plans to shoot a movie, After Midnight, in August and September throughout Palm Beach County, but primarily at the long-closed Arts Warehouse and the newly closed 3rd and 3rd.  Nothing specific, except that the story is set in 1972, when nothing, absolutely nothing, was happening in Delray. Stay tuned.
Someone in the food and beverage business, however, has found a job. That would be Bill Blakeman. From 1990 until it closed in 2000, he managed the Colony Wine & Liquor Shoppe in Delray. Then he went to work for a wine wholesaler — his territory primarily Delray, with a regular stop at Caffe Luna Rosa.
Now it’s permanent. On Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, he’s Luna Rosa’s evening host.
“From the front of the house to the back of the house, there’s an amazing chemistry,” he said. “It’s like synchronized swimming in a restaurant.”
So, too, for the guests, apparently, as he’s already recognized several dozen diners who were customers at The Colony.
Maybe some of those 3rd and 3rd folks will find some temp work at two Delray Beach street parties – at Tastemakers of Delray or On the Ave.
Tastemakers, from 5 to 10 p.m.  Aug. 7 and 8,  offers a $30 passport that allows guests to sample specialties and beverages from 13 restaurants: 50 Ocean, Cabana El Ray, Caffe Luna Rosa, Deck 84, DIG, El Camino, FYI Yogurt, LemonGrass, Mussel Beach, The Office, Solita, Vic and Angelo’s and Ziree. The passports can be bought at the participating eateries and also include special dining promotions at each for three months.
With a “Back to Cool” theme, On the Ave runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug 21 at Elizabeth Wesley Plaza at Southwest Fifth Avenue. On the bill: Entertainment by Double Trouble, Drew Tucker and Plaid Blazer; food trucks and children’s activities. No passport required.
Goodbye, hello, Part 1: Prime, a fixture on Atlantic Avenue for years, has moved, too, but only around the corner.  Owners Steven Pellegrino Sr. and Jr., decided to combine operations with their nightclub Il Bacio on Southeast Second Avenue. Order up a steak or a choice lobster in the supper club, then head out to the courtyard for a little jazz.    
Goodbye, hello, Part 2: Sometime in September, Delux will turn to Honey. Gone is the high-energy, decibel-saturated hangout, to be replaced by, as co-owner Scott Frelich tells it, a “sexy, intimate, and beautiful club” like never before in Delray Beach, a new standard for mood, music and service.
Goodbye, hello, Part 3: Bizarre Ave. Cafe is now The Island Restaurant & Lounge.  
A Lake Worth dining destination for more than a decade, its demise was, to say the least, bizarre in its haste, although recent online reports suggest that quality had slipped drastically. In its place, The Island arrived almost as mysteriously as its predecessor departed. Mysterious as voodoo. A splash of Spanish Main, a jigger of rum, a coconut conundrum: The folks running the place want to bring some real “island life” to the west shore of Lake Worth with a truly pan-Caribbean menu and live music.
Managing director Celeste Marcks is a lawyer who lives in Hypoluxo. But the “island life force” is provided by entrepreneur Blair Webb, who hails from the island of Dominica. “This will be totally different than any other island-style restaurant in South Florida,” said Webb, who claims formal culinary training in Provence. “We’re offering Caribbean fusion, lots of fruits and seafood, all fresh, every day, lunch and dinner.”   
And live music every night: reggae Sunday, jazz Monday, then Latin, pride, ladies, Caribbean and club on Saturday.  
What a surprise! After Steven Maklansky was sacked as executive director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art last winter, the museum’s board named Irvin Lippman as interim director and also as chairman of the search committee to find a new boss. Lippman had excellent credentials, having run the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art until he retired in 2012.
So much for retirement. On July 14, “Interim” was dropped from Lippman’s title. His goals: “Bring a larger and more diverse audience to our Art School, offer more opportunities for local artists to meet and share their talents through our Artists Guild, and make sure that the museum is a forum for dialogue, conversation, and self-education.”  
In just two seasons with the Washington Redskins, Alfred Morris, an unheralded running back out of Florida Atlantic University, has attracted considerable attention. He was the No. 4 rusher in the NFL last year, selected for the Pro-Bowl and rewarded with a four-year, $2.2-million contract.
His car of choice? “Bentley.” . . . No, not that British symbol of excess. Bentley is his pet name for his 1991 Mazda 626. Morris may be only 25, but his advice to “Drive a Safe, Practical Car” scores the lead-off TD in a feature titled 10 Frugal Habits of the Rich and Famous, on the website for the American Association of Retired Persons, better known as AARP.
Off the gridiron, FAU students are making noise, too!  Sean Darch is majoring in commercial music; Chris Bazelais is majoring in political science with a commercial music minor. Under their stage names, Sean Dough and Chris Felix, they won the 2014 American Songwriting Award for best hip-hop song. Bazelais wrote the music and Darch the lyrics to Change Your Mood, originally released  on CompOWLation Volume 3 by FAU’s Hoot/Wisdom Recordings L.L.C. The song was produced, mixed and recorded in the campus studio.
The American Songwriting Awards is the most prominent international competition recognizing songwriters, both known and unknown.

Thom Smith is a freelance writer. Contact him at

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