By Jan Norris
The man behind Nick’s New Haven Style Pizzeria in Boca Raton has opened Bar 25 Gastropub in Delray Beach. It takes over the 5,000-square-foot space formerly housing Mellow Mushroom on Southeast Sixth Avenue.
Anthony Giovanniello said he wanted to bring something different to downtown Delray, a city he says he has seen change to a destination for new residents and tourists alike.
“It’s the type of place that a chef or restaurant owner wants to visit on their day off because the service is as friendly as it is at any of their favorite local spots, but the experience is elevated by the culinary program and design,” Giovanniello said.
He hired chef Walter Pytel, most recently of Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale, to oversee the food.
It’s heavy on shareables, with a variety of flatbreads leading the menu. The White Clam flatbread, with Rhode Island clams, bacon, cherry peppers, garlic and mozzarella, is in line with the Northeastern shore flavors. More unusual offerings include a mushroom and onion pierogi, and a new pub favorite, crab fries — French fries seasoned with Old Bay, and served with a white American cheese sauce.
Philly cheesesteaks, sliders, cauliflower tacos and a variety of salads also are on the menu.
A brunch menu, served Saturday and Sunday, picks up New Orleans flavors, with a bananas Foster French toast and shrimp and grits, as well as a fried BLT. Bottomless bloody Marys and mimosas are specials.
The Bar 25 happy hour is one of the longest in the city, from noon to 5 p.m., with a unique menu for both drinks and food.
Craft cocktails and beers are part of the program that Pytel says complements the food.
The interior design may look familiar: Celano Design also created the Lionfish on Atlantic Avenue, as well as the notable Stubborn Seed in Miami Beach. The design includes a dog-friendly patio.
Bar 25 Gastropub, 25 SE Sixth Ave., Delray Beach, bar25.com. Open for lunch and dinner daily, noon to midnight; happy hour weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.; brunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Downtown Delray Restaurant Month
Downtown Delray Beach Restaurant Month moves to September this year, in response to the eateries and others. The promotion, in its seventh year, is popular with locals as well as tourists and features meal deals at the restaurants and hotels within the downtown area.
Laura Simon, Downtown Development Authority executive director, said feedback from restaurants and residents showed September to be the month the promotion is most needed. “People are getting kids settled in back to school, there’s less travel competition, and it gives locals the opportunity to try out new restaurants.”
The number of visitors to the city and the restaurants has taken a significant dip this summer, Simon said.
“This summer’s been rough downtown. It’s a very different July for us. We saw a bigger dip than before COVID during the month. The hotels have been slower, as well.”
She said the economy has played a role, but more so is the competition for travel money. Last year, Delray had a good tourism rebound as well as new residents exploring their area. This year, more cities, cruises and airlines have opened up, giving travelers more options, she said.
Simon and restaurateurs hope Restaurant Month introduces new and other restaurants to local diners, whether they are new residents or not, and to visitors. She expects to see diners from Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Lake Worth Beach check out the scene for brunch, or for dinner without crowds.
“We have several new restaurants signed up, as well as hotels participating with staycations,” Simon said. “The Ray has three restaurants signed up, including Akira Back, and is offering special stays. And Drift in Opal Grand is also signed up. Bar 25 is new, as is Meso Beach House.”
Other newcomers include Pour & Famous, and The Falcon, which took over Death or Glory. Throw Social also is signed up.
Simon hopes by the time sign-up is complete in mid-August, more than 50 restaurants will be included.
“We have close to 120 restaurants in the downtown area. That includes quick-serve and juice bars, up to fine dining,” she said. “Almost half of them will be participating. We’re pleased that the program supports all types of restaurants, so diners have choices. It’s inclusive for everyone.”
Deals include multicourse prix fixe meals at both lunch and dinner, special menus for brunch or happy hour, or a percentage off all food or drink, or other discounts, determined by each restaurant.
Veterans of the program return, such as 50 Ocean, City Oyster, The Grove, Rocco’s Tacos and The Office.
Delray Market, the food hall downtown, is offering 10% off its dining card in September. The discount is accepted at all of the 20-plus restaurants inside.
Meanwhile, several Delray restaurants are participating in the county’s Restaurant Month in August. “We partner with Discover Palm Beach for their program, and so it’s two months of opportunity for some to showcase their menus,” Simon said.
Go to downtowndelraybeach.com/restaurantmonth to see the September participants. It is updated as restaurants sign on.
How to do it right:
• Check the website before you book a reservation. Be aware of what and when deals are on.
• Before you order, ask for the Restaurant Month menu, if it is offered.
• Don’t assume everything is discounted — get clarification.
• Tip as you would on any meal — on the full amount.
• If you like restaurants at a discount, go back to support them when it’s full price. Leave positive reviews and spread the word with others.
Look for the grand opening of Kapow in its new space in Mizner Park in Boca. The Asian spot will have much more bar room, and more tables as well as a large patio for outdoor dining. … Pour & Famous at 524 W. Atlantic Ave. in Delray has expanded its offerings to include a full-service restaurant menu. It has been popular as a tavern with craft cocktails, natural wine and craft beer, with upscale bar food.