El Camino in Delray Beach Is Such A Hot Spot That OpenTable Named It To Its List Of America’s Top 100
It doesn’t have to be Cinco de Mayo for Delray locals to enjoy Mexican food and margaritas amid a vibrant atmosphere.
El Camino in Delray Beach, a local favorite Taco Tuesday haunt, was recently featured in OpenTable’s 2017 list of the Top 100 Hot Spots in America.
At El Camino, guests can choose among a variety of quesadillas, tacos and other Mexican dishes, with popular specials including $3 margaritas on Mondays and $2 tacos on Tuesdays. The hot spot has had so much success in the area that it recently announced it plans to expand to Fort Lauderdale with a new location on Las Olas in late 2017.
Voted on by OpenTable diners, the list featured a total of 16 Florida restaurants spanning from Naples to Tampa, Lake Buena Vista and beyond. More than 10 million reviews of over 24,000 restaurants nationwide were analyzed to determine the top picks.
Address: 817 East Las Olas Blvd., Ft Lauderdale, FL 33301
Click here for directions
Park Tavern’s menu is much like its atmosphere—all over the board.
While modern menus try to have a good sampling of dishes, Park’s variety is over the top. Here you get grilled Antarctic salmon, sweet corn agnolotti, spiced duck breast, sh and chips, Maine lobster roll, prime rib, enormous burgers, oysters, cauli ower fried rice, Italian bur- rata, Maryland crab cake, Ahi tuna tartare and a whole passel more.
There’s also a crazy-busy bar, es- pecially during happy hour. Every-one is smiling. The high-top seating is full of the very young to the fairly old, which is not something seen in most bars. Service is excellent. The food is fresh, creative and emerges from the kitchen quickly.
The generous sh and chips, for example, have a light tempura batter around the tender northern Atlantic cod. The mahi-mahi soft tacos also had tempura batter, and the excellent, light slaw carried slight heat from the tomatillo sauce and chipotle mayo. Burgers passed us by the dozens—there
are six kinds, including veggie and turkey options.
It is noisy inside (outside tables are quieter), but a conversation can still be had. In the dining room, TVs line one wall, and the games are re ected in mirrors on the op- posite wall. It’s a bustling choreog- raphy, where people-watching is as interesting as the menu.
Open since 2012, Park Tavern is owned by the same group that runs popular El Camino and Cut 432 restaurants. It’s clear their vision is working here, too.
By: Lynn Kalber
If you ask us, happy hour is the best time of the day.
What could be better than sipping cocktails and nibbling on light bites? Usually there’s some sort of discount involved, so that can clinch the deal.
And since South Florida is a travel destination, you can bet that the bars and restaurants here know how to slap happy hour up to a new level.
Here are some of our favorites right now. (Stay tuned for some breaking happy hour news from the Miami Heat during the NBA Playoffs.)
15 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. 561-865-5350. ElCaminoDelray.com.
817 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. 954-530-1188. ElCaminoFtLauderdale.com.
Both locations of this restaurant that bills itself as serving Mexican soul food have a late night happy hour — which they call “Reverse Happy Hour” — from midnight to 2 a.m. daily. Wine, beer, spirits and margaritas are $5 and under. Tequilas are half price (there are more than 400 on the list) and made-right-there chips and salsa goes for $1. Some tacos are $2.
32 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach. 561-265-5093. ParkTavernDelray.com.
Park Tavern has more than 50 varieties of bourbon in its curated collection. More importantly the restaurant has a $8 bourbon flight during the daily 5-7 p.m. happy hour that includes Sagamore Rye, Elijah Craig and Old Forester 1910. Of course there other happy hour deals: $5 spirits and cocktails; $4 beer on tap, $3 bottles and $3 wine by the glass.
By: Rod Stafford
The larger Fort Lauderdale location, however, will be able to accommodate an expanded mezcal and tequila selection and weekend brunch service, which hasn’t been feasible in Delray.
Belluscio said he’s also looking forward to sprucing up the decor of the mid-century building and creating an ambiance that’s full of energy. “It’s going to come off as a real special piece of property when it’s all said and done,” he said.
The group, which also owns Cut 432 and Park Tavern in Delray Beach, is hoping to expand El Camino beyond Broward and Palm Beach counties, with their eyes on locations like Coral Gables and Northern Florida.
Cut 432 will also be seeing an expansion, with the addition of new cocktail bar next door. The Delray concept will feel like it’s part of the same space, but it will be divided from the restaurant, according to Belluscio. It’s also set to open late this year.
Address: 817 East Las Olas Blvd., Ft Lauderdale, FL 33301
Of course, it is!
But officially, National Margarita weekend is Feb. 17 to 18, and National Margarita Day is Feb. 22—so you can pretty much party for about a week on that alone.
El Camino creates blood orange cinnamon margarita
This concoction isn’t on the El Camino menu, but it will probably be ordered a lot in celebration for the national margarita day(s). The blood orange cinnamon margarita is made with Reposado tequila, lime juice, fresh blood orange and cinnamon agave. Now you know, so you can order it. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. daily. Just sayin’. El Camino, 15 NE 2nd Ave., Delray Beach; 561/865-5350.
For more than a decade, Brian Albe, Brandon Belluscio and Chef Anthony Pizzo have been creating good times for a legion of fans. Having met early in their careers at the iconic Pranzo restaurant in Mizner Park in Boca Raton, FL, they soon realized they shared a similar vision for creating the perfect dining experience. Young, energetic and looking to redefine the standards, they set forth with their first joint venture, Vertical 114. In 2008, MRG opened Cut 432 in Delray Beach, providing South Florida with the finest steakhouse experience highlighted by outstanding tableside service, an extensive wine program and unique culinary innovations. In 2011, MRG opened Park Tavern and in 2014, El Camino Mezcal & Tequila Bar, both in Delray Beach, FL. The hospitality group opened its second El Camino location in March 2018 on famed Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As with most restaurants staffing is always a challenge. We want employees to share our vision & passion about food & beverage & it’s sometimes difficult finding top notch restaurant industry employees. Space has been a major obstacle at Camino Delray & keeping up with production & adjusting to the massive volume we do at Camino Las Olas has been a challenge.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with El Camino Mexican Soul Food Mezcal & Tequila Bar – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I started with Modern Restaurant Group at Park Tavern December 2011. I was part of the opening staff at Park Tavern & opened El Camino Delray as the General Manager. I ran El Camino Delray for 4 years until I started on the project for El Camino Las Olas. I started the hiring process in late November & interviewing, hiring, creating training & ordering everything for the restaurant. We opened March 25, 2018 & we have been very busy from day 1. We look forward to growing more in the future.
I am proud that we go above & beyond guest’s expectations with our product & service. We have a craft cocktail program & have a scratch kitchen concept for Mexican food. We do not use a microwave & almost everything is made daily in house. This is also what sets us apart from others. Many other busy restaurants serve prepared foods from their distributors or use premade mixes or juices from beverage or produce companies where we use fresh produce to juice daily or make fresh salsas.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We look forward to growing the El Camino concept in the future. We currently have CUT432, Park Tavern, El Camino Delray and Ft Lauderdale & will be opening more El Camino restaurants in the years to come.
- Margarita Monday $3 Classic Margaritas
- Taco Tuesday $2 Tacos
- Wednesday ITB 50% off for Restaurant & Bar Employees
- Address: 817 E Las Olas Blvd. Ft Lauderdale, FL 33301
15 NE 2nd Ave. Delray Beach, FL 33444
- Website: elcaminoftlauderdale.com, elcaminodelray.com, parktaverndelray.com, cut432.com
- Phone: 954-530-1188
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorful décor, vibrant menu and a curated selection of spirits will make you think you are in Mexico. El Camino Mezcal & Tequila Bar, a popular downtown Delray Beach, FL, Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, is slated to open its second location on Las Olas Boulevard in March 2018.
Offering the freshest organic and local ingredients whenever possible, El Camino offers an authentic Mexican experience not typically found north of the border in chain restaurants. The Mexican soul food menu, designed by Chef Anthony Pizzo, a co-founder of Modern Restaurant Group, Delray Beach, FL, features quesadillas, tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, salads and dessert. The restaurant makes its tortillas, sauces and “anything else possible from scratch.”
The bar menu and beverage program has been designed by Modern Restaurant co-founder Brian Albe and offers an authentic Mexican experience with hand-crafted margaritas, a curated selection of tequila, Mezcal (300 varieties of tequila and Mezcal) and a diverse selection of craft beers.
The 6,000-square-foot venue — located at 817 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale is nearly three times the size of the Delray space — will offer an expanded Mezcal and tequila selection, as well as weekend brunch service — something the Delray Beach location presently does not offer. The restaurant will seat 200 guests in its main dining room with additional seating for 50 outdoors. There is also an indoor/outdoor bar for 60 guests. Parking is available directly behind the restaurant, with access via a breezeway to the venue and outdoor bar, which faces Las Olas. Named for a third year in a row to Opentable’s “Top 100 Hottest Spots in America” list, El Camino’s Delray Beach location is well-known for its popular late-night — midnight to 2 am — happy hour, which offers $2 tacos, $5 margaritas and 50 percent off all tequilas and Mezcal. The eatery also draws huge crowds for Taco Tuesday, when guests can order any of the menu’s specialty tacos for $2. The Fort Lauderdale location will offer the same, as well as brunch with unlimited mimosa, craft beer and sangria options available.
“With the ongoing development of the Las Olas area, we thought El Camino is a perfect fit. We look forward to our guests experiencing El Camino Las Olas. Our Delray Beach location has become a favorite spot for locals and tourists, and we hope the same will be of our new location,” said Brandon Belluscio, co-founder of Modern Restaurant Group, which also owns Cut 432 and Park Tavern in Delray Beach.
Modern Restaurant is investing more than $3 million in the new space, restoring the 1950s building back to its original warehouse style, with more than 20-foot ceilings, skylights, custom lighting, Chicago brick and the original terrazzo flooring. The front and west sides of the building have been opened up and will house 12-foot glass garage doors, creating an open and vibrant atmosphere. Guests can watch chefs prepare their dishes in the open kitchen. Mimicking the Delray location, seating will feature bright lime green leather tufted booths.
Like the Delray Beach location, the Fort Lauderdale venue will feature a mural by neo-figurative artist Ruben Ubiera. Known for his strong use of the line, graffiti-inspired technique/esthetic, urban murals, mixed-media pieces and installations, Ubiera’s paints and draws in a style considered as postgraffism, but he prefers to call it “urban-pop,” since he has lived most of his life in urban, populated areas and most of his inspiration is derived from the inter activity between man and his urban environment.
Part of the Modern Restaurant Group (MRG) in Delray Beach, FL, El Camino Mezcal & Tequila Bar offers an authentic Mexican experience not typically found north of the border in chain restaurants. The restaurant’s guiding principle is to exceed their guest’s expectations in all areas — food, beverage and ambiance — and create an experience that will arouse and excite the senses. As a team, the staff is inspired by the culture and the heritage of Mexico. Presently, there are two locations — Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale, FL. MRG has plans to further expand the brand.
El Camino in Delray Beach has been a hit with Mexican food lovers for more than four years. The popular restaurant and tequila bar will soon arrive on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, with the opening of its second outpost scheduled for February.
The new El Camino will be located at 817 E. Las Olas Blvd., former site of Voodka and Grill Republic, and not far from similarly themed Rocco’s Tacos. It is part of a wave of new Mexican eateries in Fort Lauderdale that includes beachfront newcomers Lona from acclaimed Mexican chef Pablo Salas in the Westin Fort Lauderdale and El Vez from James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr in the W Hotel.
“With the ongoing development of the Las Olas area, we thought El Camino is a perfect fit,” Brandon Belluscio, co-founder of Modern Restaurant Group, says in a press release.
The owners say they are pouring more than $3 million into the redevelopment of the 6,000-square-foot space, restoring the 1950s building to its original warehouse style. It will have 20-foot ceilings, skylights and 12-foot glass garage doors. It will also feature an open kitchen, an indoor-outdoor bar seating 60, a 200-seat dining room and outdoor seating for 50. Like the Delray Beach location, the Fort Lauderdale restaurant will feature a mural by artist Ruben Ubiera.
The first El Camino opened in late 2013 and earned praise from former Sun Sentinel dining critic John Tanasychuk. “This is no ordinary Mexican food,” Tanasychuk wrote in his 3 1/2-star review. “Belluscio and his partners, Brian Albe and Anthony Pizzo, who also own Cut 432 and Park Tavern in Delray Beach, have created not just a restaurant but a destination.”
The Fort Lauderdale location will feature similar menu items and promotions as the Delray Beach original, including midnight-2 a.m. happy hours with $2 tacos, $5 margaritas and half-priced tequilas and mescals, $2 Taco Tuesdays and weekend brunches with unlimited mimosas, beer and sangria.
Nacho Typical Night
EL CAMINO, THE NEW MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN FORT LAUDERDALE, BOASTS AN APPETIZER THAT EXCEEDS ALL PORTION EXPECTATIONS
After generating a popular following the past four years in Delray Beach for its “Mexican soul food,” El Camino has ventured south to try and duplicate that success in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
“Delray is smaller—it makes sense to move here next,” says general manager Josh Perfit of the new location at 817 E. Las Olas Blvd., which opened last month. “It’s the next leap. … We also want to open an El Camino Très.”
That will come in time; for now, he’s focused on bringing back the significant foot traffic on Las Olas Boulevard he recalls from
years back. El Camino adds a contemporary spirit to the strip, from its vibrant exterior—a Mexican-themed mural by Miami street artist Ruben Ubiera—to its two daily happy hours.
The after-work crowd can chow down on, among other items, $2 tacos—the gringo (with ground beef, colby jack cheese, sour cream, shaved lettuce and pico de gallo on a flour tortilla) is a top seller, followed by the spicy chicken—and sip margaritas for $5, from 4 to 7 p.m. Late-night snackers rejoice: The same deals are offered from midnight to its 2 a.m. close.
“It’s a pretty aggressive deal,” Perfit quips.
The smoked brisket nachos, he says without hesitation, are a must-have. The appetizer, which can feed four or more with plenty
of chance for leftovers, essentially is the traditional loaded-tortillachip snack—topped with about a pound of El Camino’s hours-long
“It’s an immense dish, a crowd pleaser; some people ask for a smaller portion, but this is what we do,” he says, with a shrug and a laugh. “A lot of people take it home.”
Chef Bernardo Carvalho dives into the pile of chips, bite by bite.
- El Camino in Delray Beach Is Such A Hot Spot That OpenTable Named It To Its List Of America’s Top 100
- Park Tavern’s menu is much like its atmosphere—all over the board.
- TIME TO GET YOUR HAPPY ON WITH THIS LIST OF THE BEST HAPPY HOURS IN SOUTH FLORIDA
- Delray’s El Camino Expanding To Fort Lauderdale With A Las Olas Location Set To Open In Late 2017
- It’s National Margarita Day Somewhere
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