A new dining and drinking option will soon be emerging on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, featuring both delicious, gourmet small plates and high-quality adult beverages.
Hullabaloo promises “wood-fired grub,” a charcuterie, craft cocktails, and artesian beer. The “coming soon” sign at 517 Clematis beckons you to “drink, eat, raise some ruckus.” When it opens this summer, it will take over the small space adjoining Longboards, formerly occupied by The Lounge.
And there are other exciting plans for the 500 block of Clematis, as we found out last night after touring the future Hullabaloo and talking to owner Rodney Mayo. He and partner Scott Frielich have assembled an impressive portfolio of cutting-edge dining spots (Longboards, Kapow! Noodle Bar, Dada, Tryst, The Dubliner, Howley’s), and Hullabaloo looks to be yet another distinctly original concept. (Mayo’s brother, Michael, will also be on board as a part-owner and manager.)
Like The Lounge, Hullabaloo will share a common back patio with Longboards. Both restaurants are in the same building on the north side of Clematis, directly across from the venerable Respectable Street, the indie dance and live music club Mayo opened as his first venture 25 years ago. Besides those two buildings, he also owns another on the block, but more on the plans for that later.
Inside the cozy 1,700-square-foot Hullabaloo space, construction is in full swing, but several key elements are already in place. Brick walls throughout give the room a warm, rustic feel. And the huge hood system marks the spot where the open kitchen will stand in the back right of the front room along the right wall where The Lounge’s bar once stood.
It will be a gastropub with a northern Italian influence, Mayo says. Like at his other gastropub, Tryst, Mayo said there will be a wide selection of beer and wine from around the world, but also more of a focus on craft cocktails. The menu will showcase a wood-burning oven churning out tasty flatbreads. And a charcuterie will feature three or four cured meats, plus marinated olives and vegetables.
Building out a kitchen in such a small space has made designing a menu difficult, Mayo said. “Our menu is going to be relatively small, with a lot of chalkboard items that will change daily,” he said.
Like Longboards, Hullabaloo will be open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late-night dining. It may stay open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, giving night owls a new option. To that end, Mayo promises to cater to those looking for well-crafted cocktails in a “loungy, jazzy, more sophisticated bar.”
The decor will be “very minimalist and simple, in a New York loft style,” he said. “If you feel like you just walked into a loft in Soho, then we probably did a good job.”
If all goes according to plan, Mayo said, Hullabaloo will be open in August in time for Respectable Street’s 25th anniversary and accompanying street party. The name holds no special significance, it’s just one Mayo said he always liked. “It’s one of those fun names,” he said.
The Lounge was a swanky sushi and cocktail spot that catered to a mixed but predominantly gay clientele. This was an odd fit next to Longboards, a surf-themed raw bar that opened last July. But Mayo has plans to reopen The Lounge, possibly under a new name, in a building he owns just to the west of Respectable Street.
Plans call for converting a second floor space at 526 Clematis Street into a cabaret with a drag show three or four nights a week. It would be “more of an event show space,” he said. It’s still preliminary, however, with a target opening date as far off as a year away.
In another development, Mayo revealed that the ground floor space in the same building is being considered as a second location of the Kapow! Noodle Bar concept that opened to much fanfare late last year in Boca Raton. “But since three Asian places opened in the past six months on Clematis, we’re rethinking that,” he said.
But it could depend on how those other eateries fare. “If they all go under in the next year, then it will probably still be Kapow,” Mayo said.
* Take 5: Rodney Mayo, guiding light of South Florida’s indie entertainment scene
* Kapow! explodes onto South Florida dining and cocktail scene
* Clematis Street rides a new wave with the opening of Longboards
* Surf’s up: The story behind Longboards