By Rebecca Cahilly
If Fort Lauderdale is the Yachting Capital of the World, Boatyard should be its flagship. That’s the general idea behind the recently unveiled restaurant, which opened Oct. 17 – just in time for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – in the location formerly known as the Bimini Boatyard.
The interior of the 285-restaurant received a facelift courtesy of Miami’s Big Time Design and now sports a “yachting chic” décor, featuring a mixture of maritime antiques and mid-century modern furnishings. The outdoor dining area has been revamped to incorporate a fire pit and an 80-seat patio. A 35-foot gumbo tree, trucked in from Cape Coral, adds to the waterfront dining ambience. The dockage was also renovated to accommodate yachts up to 75 feet in length.
Boatyard is now under the joint ownership of former owners Hudson Capital Group and The Restaurant People, whose portfolio includes YOLO, S3 and Fork & Balls. The Restaurant People co-founder and Executive Chef Peter Boulukos and Boatyard Executive Chef Doug Reiss collaborated to create the new menu, which, most notably, features fresh – never frozen – seafood that is 80 percent locally sourced.
The “Hook to Table” menu emphasizes simply grilled seafood, which diners can customize with a selection of sauces, from lemon herb vinaigrette to caper basil tomato brown butter. Boatyard offers a daily “seacuterie” plate with smoked and house-cured seafood, while a roving shellfish cart brings the raw bar to each table. The 25-year tradition of warm honey-sweetened bimini bread continues, served from a 12-foot long bread table.
The Restaurant People president and co-founder Tim Petrillo says that Boatyard will carry on a legacy for the next generation of this thriving yachting community. “The concept is about recognizing that the sea is a part of our soul; it defines who we are in Fort Lauderdale. Boatyard is a nod to the culture and allure that the yachting community is built upon.”
Boatyard serves dinner nightly; lunch six days a week and brunch on Sunday. 1555 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-7400, boatyard.restaurant.