By Rebecca Cahilly
City & Shore Magazine
More than a quarter century on, The Quarterdeck is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month.
The original location of the venerable restaurant on Cordova Road in Fort Lauderdale was transformed by Paul Flanigan from Big Daddy’s Liquor Store and Lounge in 1986. Paul’s son and partner, James Flanigan, says he practically grew up in the restaurant.
The concept has since expanded with the opening of a Fort Lauderdale beach location in 1997; and Paul, with Old School Hospitality partner Frank Zaffere, opened six more locations west and north.
Flanigan says that sticking to the concept of good, simple food, cold drinks and fun times is what has kept the Old School Hospitality group going for 50 years. “I’m hiring high school kids whose parents worked for me in high school. That’s cool, that’s really cool,” he says. “I’m honored to give these kids their first job. It’s a great way to give back.”
Old School Hospitality’s portfolio of restaurants today includes five Quarterdeck locations, the Beach Bar @ Newport Pier in Sunny Isles Beach, and The Lobby Bar, located in the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort. The team’s latest concept is Good Spirits, scheduled to open in 2017 in Flagler Village and described by Flanigan as a “Mad Men, Rat Pack, martini-type atmosphere serving contemporary American cuisine.”
Looking ahead to the next 10 years, Paul Flanigan says, “Life is simple. The more you give, the more you get. If you want to have good employees you have to give good benefits. Treat people well and with respect, pay them well. They’ll bring people in.”