In less than 24 hours Michael Elwood Gochenour will open the doors to the “new” Elwood’s, 301 3rd Ave., Delray Beach (where the old Blackfin was). OK, this is BIG. The old Elwood’s, formerly a gas station and then one of the pioneering hot spots in Delray’s Renaissance, closed more than a year ago and was replaced by the cutesie Johnnie Brown’s in the same spot. But it’s not the same, no matter how many Thursday nights Elvis still pops up on stage.
I remember Elwood’s from the start in the early 90s. There was no liquor license so he agreed to keep a plastic flask of Famous Grouse with my name taped on it in his top desk drawer. Those were the days when Einstein, this great Irish kid who made a mean gumbo, was in the kitchen. Michael brought in the rockabilly surf music band, the Dillingers and Scott Ringerson as Elvis and was ground zero on Jazz on the Avenue events and St. Paddy’s Day. Over the years, the Avenue began morphing into what it is today: a gentrified string of upscale restaurants and gastropubs and theme bars, all with little misters and good wine by the glass and seared tuna starters. It was all well and good, but Elwood’s started falling out of favor; it was a little too real, a little too grits and grins for the
New Delray. A little more than a year ago, maybe two, he sold Elwood’s after a long run and we thought we had seen the last of him.
Until this morning when my pal Mary heard the rumor: Elwood’s is back. Joe Gillie confirmed it. I drove by an hour later and saw the man myself.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Delray. but I am very, very happy to see Elwood The Sequel. He’s going to have music, barbecue, cajun and low country food. The place is big and clean and gorgeous with a bar the size of Texas. And there’s a seat front and center with my name on it.
So wander on up three blocks north of Atlantic and meet one of the people who helped Delray become what it is today; you will see me there for sure.
Now, if we could just get Ed and Margaret Gallagher to bring back City Limits…