One step forward, two steps back. That’s the dance in downtown Lake Worth these days. Just a couple of weeks after we reported on the debut of Pietro’s Plump Tomato in the old Miami Subs spot on Lake Avenue comes word that modern Italian restaurant Fiorentina and cute little wine bar/café Dolce Vita have closed, a reminder that despite its tremendous potential, Lake Worth’s downtown remains a very tough place to run a successful business. Perhaps a council that finally seems more concerned with realizing that potential than remaking the city as Berkeley East will do the trick.

Updates to a couple of recent posts:

To the Japanese, “fuku” means “good fortune.” To Florida bureaucrats, “fuku” is “immoral” because it suggests. . . well, you know. To Paul Ardaji, the flap over fuku is just one more hurdle for Fuku, the restaurant, to overcome. After spending $1.5 million dollars to outfit his Clematis Street eatery with things like a 500-gallon jellyfish tank, 13-foot statue of the Buddha illuminated with LED lights and custom-made honey onyx communal table for 20, the prudes and prisses at the state Divisions of Corporations denied Ardaji’s application to trademark the name, saying it’s “naughty-naughty-boo-boo and makes our ears hurt.” Actually, they didn’t say that, but they did say it was not only immoral but “deceptive” and “scandalous” too. Though originally slated to debut at the end of April, Fuku is now expected to open sometime later this month, perhaps with bureaucratic approval, perhaps without. Ardaji will appeal. Frankly, I think he should just look the state’s goody-two-shoes paperslingers in the eye and say, “Fuku.”

One of the most-viewed and most-commented on posts on this blog was the story that David Manero (and wife Lynn) had split from the company that runs Vic & Angelo’s, The Office and the BurgerFi chain of upscale hamburger joints. Now the lawsuits are flying, and things are starting to get interesting. In a nutshell, among other things, the suits filed by his former partners allege that Manero (or Mainiero) was taking money from the restaurants to keep up his lifestyle, that he was trying to use BurgerFi trade secrets to open another chain or burger eateries in Southern California, and that the couple has not repaid a $165,000 loan. I’m going to try to get a response to all this from Manero’s attorney,  and will report back when/if I do.