Saturday, December 2, 2023

Sideways in Delray makes A Comeback

I remember as late as the early 90s when Delray used to have its eccentric little nooks and crannies—at least by today’s standards—places you could go that were unique to Delray Beach, mom and pop owned, a little quirky, but places of refuge in a town that was destined to become a hot spot within a decade. Mr. Penney’s on 5thand 5thin the “neighborhood” for fresh mustard greens; The Christmas shop on Atlantic Avenue; Alberts & Merkel Brothers Orchids on the Intracoastal; Ken & Hazel’s for breakfast; the Colony liquor store, Neil’s Farms produce.

Today, the town is one farm-to-table spiffed up sleek little boutique restaurant after another. There are designer puppies, Hollywood eyewear and a sky bar, but there is very little funk left.

Although I may have found a spot last weekend.

Eclectic Eats is at the south end of a giant garage sale store (it used to be Peter Pan Gifts shell shop) at 1731 North Federal Highway. It is this open-air vaguely Mediterranean space with drapes and lounge seating, a small screen set up showing vintage movies. You can curl up in a hammock, watch Charlie Chaplin dancing on the screen and sip a glass of wine as the clouds scud by overhead in the night sky. Or you can have dinner in an open alcove, with entrees ranging from hummus, grape leaves or kabobs to a more Italian spin with paninis or salad caprese, or you can go for the ahi tuna. Like I said, it’s all over the map.

But that’s what I like, that, and it’s cheap and it’s wacky and where else can you gently rock in a hammock listening to Federal Highway whoosh by? And the fact that is part of a garage sale store doesn’t hurt.

Maybe the old Delray hasn’t disappeared after all.

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