Let the bloodletting begin. Actually, it already has. And expect it to continue.
The proverbial “dog days of summer” really are a mangy mutt when it comes to the brutally competitive and excruciatingly seasonal local restaurant industry. This is when restaurateurs take stock, assessing the kind of business they did during “season” and their chances of making it through the spring-summer doldrums until things pick up again later in the year.
Among the recent closings were two very high-profile eateries: Rosso Italia, the Italian next-door neighbor of Red Steakhouse in Boca Raton, and Stephane’s, the elegant French-inspired spot that featured local celeb chef John Belleme in the kitchen. Other recent dustbiters: Bobbie Sue Barbecue and Aleyda’s Tex-Mex in West Palm, Gol! In Delray Beach and The Mexican in Boca (which reopened shortly thereafter as 101 Cantina)
To those we can now add three, probably four, all of them in Boca, three in Royal Palm Place. Say goodbye to Caruso, a once-thriving (and excellent) Italian eatery that apparently couldn’t survive the loss of chef-partner Lillo Teodosi. (A hand-made sign on the door promises to reopen in October but I wouldn't hold out much hope.) Also DOA in RPP is Jake’s Stone Crab, which has eviction orders posted on the door. And things don’t look much brighter for nearby Fusionaire. I can’t confirm they’re toast but the phone is disconnected and OpenTable lists the restaurant as “no longer available.”
Also done is Gary Woo Asian Bistro on North Fed. Though a sign on the door says “Closed for renovation,” the folks at sister eatery Gary Woo Express confirmed that the restaurant is, in fact, closed for good.
So if you see a “Closed for the summer” or “Closed for renovation” sign on your favorite local restaurant, chances are about even it’s the first word only that’s really operative. It’s a long-time restaurant practice, and one you’ll likely be seeing more of before these dog days bark their last.