It’s been more than 30 years since they opened their first restaurant together, but in a couple of weeks Burt Rapoport (above) and Dennis Max (below) will resume their culinary partnership with the debut of Burt & Max’s (9089 W. Atlantic Ave., 561/638-6380) in the sprawling Delray Marketplace retail and entertainment complex.
The West Delray spot draws much of its inspiration from Max’s Grille in Mizner Park, which after more than two decades in business is perhaps even more popular than ever. The menu focus will be on small and sharing plates, as well as items coming out of the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza oven. Look for dishes like short rib empanadas, blackened mahi sandwich, grilled Creekstone Farms New York strip, and Southern fried chicken and waffles.
The decor, by SoFla-based Manhas Design, is cozy and rustic with touches of whimsy. The earth-toned dining room is bisected by long rows of booths, with an exhibition kitchen and tile-faced pizza oven on one side and a 32-foot bar made of a single slab of cypress wood on the other. There’s extensive use of wood all around, from salvaged barn doors that hide a small private dining room to cross-sections of tree trunks used as wainscoting. Whimsical touches include an entry area paved with “tiles” made from dozens of pennies to a wall featuring photographs of rock ‘n’ roll legends, from Joplin to Jagger.
There’s plenty of seating on the outdoor patio, which boasts a firepit and bar service. The restaurant itself has a prime location directly across from the Marketplace’s amphitheater, which will host regular live performances and across the parking lot from the giant IMAX movie theater, so expect the joint to be jumpin’ from the very get-go.