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In The Magazine: Best of Boca 2016

For a little taste of what’s in our July/August issue, check out a few of our Best of Boca picks.

YES! It’s here! Our annual look back at the past year in our favorite city in the sun in all its glory: the hits, the misses, the triumphs and failures. Boca may not be perfect, but it’s ours. And we love it. Let us show you why.

People:

Brainiac kid of the year: Devin Barkey (pictured), a Delray Beach senior at American Heritage School, is one of 12 students worldwide to make a perfect score on his Advanced Placement Calculus AB test. Only 305,532 other students took the test last spring when he did.

Deep impact: The upstart Impact 100 organization (only five years old and comprised of 532 women) upped its annual donation to $500,000—$1,000 at a time. This year the lucky $100,000 winners were The American Association of Caregiving Youth, Delray Students First, Alzheimer’s Community Care, Inc., The YMCA of South Palm Beach County and Camelot Community Care, Inc. Florida Atlantic University Foundation and Flamingo Clay Studio of Lake Worth, each received a $16,000 grant to further their missions.

Food & Drink:

Best new restaurant: The Little Chalet opens in a cozy, elegant-yet-rustic space downtown, with a stellar menu and exceptional fondue. Not to mention Richard Conway at the piano, like old times. The latest in a highly successful upscale Brazilian chain of restaurants, the Little Chalet delivers big in Boca.

Best new life in an old location: Pat’s Wine Bar and Grill in Royal Palm Place (where the Rustic Cellar used to be) is a civilized retreat (people go there and actually talk, as opposed to tapping on small screens) serving all manner of fine wines and tapas, and a very merry Happy Hour Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m.

City:

Best reason to wear flak jackets at council meetings: The soaring downtown development spawns a small but vocal opposition group, led by the Boca Watch website and Al Zucaro and other citizens who accuse Boca Raton city officials of conspiring with developers to develop the downtown, regardless of the concerns of city residents. Mizner Park all over again, or valid outrage?

Best new development news: The Mandarin Oriental announces it will build one of its signature boutique luxury hotels and residences at Federal Highway and Camino Real. The property is expected to open in late 2017 and will have 158 hotel rooms and suites in one tower with an adjacent tower of 100 residences connected by a sky bridge.

Arts & Entertainment:

Best new local play in years: South Florida playwright Michael McKeever’s world-premiere dramedy “Daniel’s Husband,” about the necessity of gay marriage at a time when LGBT partners now have a choice, was performed first in Fort Lauderdale and then west Boca—and won three Carbonell Awards a few months later. Next up? Its much anticipated Off-Broadway premiere in New York, in 2017.

Best reason to hit the beach this past winter: Climate change, terrorism, drugs and income inequality may plague our divided nation, but if there’s anything that can make America great again, it’s the return of “Baywatch.” Film crews closed off areas of Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton to shoot a movie adaptation of the ‘90s pop-culture relic, with stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron, drawing throngs of onlookers. No word on whether any ladies needed surf rescues during the Rock’s tenure in lifeguard togs.