What do an alluring new restaurant on one of South Florida’s most dazzling beachfronts and an urban outdoor barbecue with free burgers, dogs and beer pong have in common?
Perhaps not much, but we’re interested in both for the same quality-of-life reasons.
On Friday, the Restaurant People will open S3, an “upscale-casual” restaurant that spills toward the ocean from the ground floor of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel on A1A. As mentioned previously in this space, S3 has the potential to be a game-changer for oceanfront diners and drinkers of many stripes.
That the place comes from the Restaurant People — co-founders Tim Petrillo, Peter Boulukos and Alan Hooper — is significant, given their pedigree (as creators of Tarpon Bend, YOLO, O Lounge and Vibe Las Olas), but does not ensure success. More important is that they will be filling a large niche for a comfortable, sophisticated place to get a good meal at a reasonable price while looking at the reason we all live here. (No, on the other side of the bikinis. The ocean.)
Nothing wrong with Lulu’s Bait Shack or Steak 954, but sometimes, you want something right down the middle. Petrillo says his goal is to “bring locals back to the beach to dine.”
The menu is a parade of locally sourced steak, seafood and sushi dishes orchestrated by Boulukos, executive chef Chris Miracolo (formerly of Max’s Harvest in Delray Beach) and sushi chef Daniel Binghak (once of Morimoto in Philadelphia and Masa in New York). Small plates cost $7-$15; sushi and sashimi $6-$14; entrees $16 (tagliatelle) to $35 (Creekstone Farms fillet).
“People are looking for good food at a reasonable price point in a relaxed atmosphere … somewhere a family is comfortable, too,” Petrillo said recently. “We want to offer all that with a close-up view of the ocean. It’s right there. There’s no place closer to the water on Fort Lauderdale beach.”
The bar out front, with sofa seating, fire pits and terraced like a theater facing the sea, is likely to change local drinking habits for a while, too. S3 is at the corner of A1A and Viramar Street (at 505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.). Valet parking will be available for $5. Info: 954-523-7873, Facebook.com/S3Restaurant.
Across town on the same night S3 opens, the arty FAT Village will be the setting for a decidedly more humble gathering during BBQ Friday at C&I Studios.
The event is just as it sounds: The music, graphic design and film production firm will roll up the big delivery bay doors at its warehouse beginning at 6 p.m., heat up a grill and cook up free burgers and hot dogs for the masses. There will be flip-cup and beer-pong competitions (with TBD prizes; Bud Light and Riverside Market are co-hosts), and feel free to BYOB.
The purpose of the gathering, according to C&I Studios director Josh Miller, is a simple thing: community.
“The goal of BBQ Friday is to celebrate being together with each other, and the fact that we made it through another week,” Miller says, laughing. “We wanted to do something that was low-key and fun and, no matter what, 100 percent free.”
But behind that laid-back vibe are other, more-fundamental ambitions. C&I Studios wants to change the way you think about Fort Lauderdale. BBQ Friday is one of several recurring events hosted by Miller and friends in their FAT Village warehouse, including a monthly movie night, a prominent Fat Village Art Walk party and regular music performances: On June 22, "Live at C&I Studios" will feature the Jacob Jeffries Band and Hoyle, from Orlando.
“You hear, ‘Nothing creative ever happens in Fort Lauderdale’ all the time,” Miller says. “I wanted to fight against that.”
Miller, who moved from Washington, D.C., in 2008, relocated C&I Studios to FAT Village from a building near Commercial Boulevard two years ago. At the time, he thought about taking his business out of town, to “Austin or Boston, cities that are ‘quote’ creative,” he says.
“But then, I thought, ‘Don’t do that.’ If [Fort Lauderdale] has that kind of reputation, it’s our fault. We should do something about it,” says Miller, who signed a long-term lease in FAT Village and hired an event manager. “We take community engagement very seriously. It’s like branding a company. What people say about this town matters to us.”
C&I Studios is at 541 NW First Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Info: Facebook.com/CIStudios.
SHOTS AND DUNKS
Play where the Miami Heat play while they’re away when Hyde, the in-stadium lounge at AmericanAirlines Arena, offers a free viewing party for the out-of-town playoff games vs. the Bulls on Friday and Monday. Along with a menu of food, Hyde will offer $5 Patron shots for every LeBron dunk and $5 vodka shots for every Heat 3-pointer. Doors open an hour before each 8 p.m. game, and the ladies get a complimentary glass of Champagne before tipoff. Admission and parking are free. Info: HydeAAarena.com.
LOCALS DRINK FREE
The oceanfront B Ocean Fort Lauderdale hotel is as proud of its newly revitalized lobby bar as you might imagine, and will show it off with a free cocktail for Florida residents Monday-May 19. Present a Florida ID and you can select from four drinks designed for the grand unveil. We’ve got no problem with it, but each is probably going to look better in the hand of a lady friend: Pink Lace (Sky raspberry vodka, rum, lime juice, simple syrup and a merlot float), the Kentucky Blonde (Makers Mark, apple liqueur, lemon juice, pear nectar, simple syrup and a bourbon cherry), the “B” Manhattan (Angels Envy bourbon, peach scnhapps, sweet vermouth and two raspberries) and the Contemporary (Mitcher’s rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, simple syrup, orange bitters). The bar also has a lineup of beer, sake and other cocktails, as well as salads, sandwiches and, in the evening, orders from SAIA Sushi. The hotel is at 999 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Info: 888-662-4683, BOceanFortLauderdale.com.
MARSHALLING FOR DILLON
Vibes master Mike Dillon, who has done time with Les Claypool’s Fancy Band, Garage a Trois, Ani DiFranco and Karl Denson, brings something subversive to the Funky Biscuit (303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton) Friday night. The consistently good Ketchy Shuby opens. Tickets: $10 advance, $15 door. Info: 561-395-2929, FunkyBiscuit.com.
CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH?
Books & Books hosts the voyeuristic night of nonfiction called Lip Service at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables). The Knight Foundation award-winning quarterly series, subtitled “true stories, out loud,” consists of eight people, eight stories, eight minutes each. Hosted by series co-creator Esther Martinez-Kenniff, this month’s storytellers are Andrea Askowitz (the other co-creator), Christina D. Freedman, Nicholas Garnett, Ben Greenman, Marjorie Klein, Vanessa Michel, Doug Shear and Darin Spurlock. The after-party is around the corner at Books & Books. Tickets: $15, $30. Info: LipServiceStories.com.
FLIPPIN' AT THE BIRD
The critically lauded tavern Blackbird Ordinary (729 SW First Ave., Miami) will celebrate its 18-month anniversary with Bird Bash 1.5 on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. The party includes food and drink specials, carnival games and live music from the Spam Allstars, Deaf Poets and Eagle Chief (formerly Arboles Libres). Admission is free. Info: 305-671-3307, BlackbirdOrdinary.com.
There will be a rare Blowfly sighting on Saturday night when the rabble-rousing 74-year-old, X-rated rapper who sometimes goes by the name Clarence Reid kicks off his Summer of Lube tour with a free show Saturday night at Will Call (700 NE Second Ave., Miami). Openers include the Cost and a DJ set from the Haitian Hillbilly. Info: 305-577-5900, Facebook.com/WillCallMiami.
YOU AND PAUL
When “Rockshow,” the digitally remastered concert film featuring Paul McCartney and Wings, debuts in 750 theaters worldwide on May 16, Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale) will have unique source of McCartney expertise in the house. The 8 p.m. screening will be led by Magic 102.7-FM midday host Joe Johnson, who in his spare time hosts, writes and produces the nationally syndicated “Beatle Brunch” show that airs on more than 100 radio stations around the country (including Magic). Brush up on your Paul trivia, because Johnson will probably hand out prizes before the show. Tickets: $10, $8 students/seniors, $6 FLiFF members. Info: FLIFF.com. “Rockshow” also will be screened May 16 at Paragon Deerfield 8 (3984 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach), iPic Boca Raton (301 Plaza Real), Cinemark Palace 20 (3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton) and Paragon Grove 14 (3015 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove). Some theaters will repeat “Rockshow” on May 19. Info: RockShowOnScreen.com.