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Dining scene: From Cajun-Creole fusion to local brewery beers

Shooters Waterfront

3033 NE 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-566-2855,

The iconic pool and bikini contests are history, but an astounding six-month renovation by the new owners from The Grateful Palate has provided another playground after reopening, this time classy.

"I ran Shooters in the early 1990s," operating manager Dave Nicholas says. "This is Shooters all grown up and sophisticated now. We're going to appeal more to foodies in a great ambiance."

The 30-year-old landmark on the Intracoastal Waterway dramatically expanded its alfresco dining to 275 seats with a sprawling oasis sectioned by a variety of lit palm trees, white umbrellas, pavers and artificial grass, white canopy that replaced the tiki hut, elevated covered bar, fire pit and stylish heaters, striking 8-foot tall wicker "birdcage" lounges for small groups and even kids' picnic tables.

"You don't even feel like you're in Fort Lauderdale," says designer Deborah Frustino, who has fashioned resorts across the country. "The owners spared no expense."

After the interior was gutted, Frustino used soothing driftwood colors with beach accents for a two-tiered chic vibe and made it easier to see the water, even from the back bar.

The seasonal New American menu encompasses raw seafood, appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches and salads, but the entrees shine, such as jerk pork tenderloin with sweet plantains ($18), chorizo-crusted snapper ($26) and pan-seared scallops and shrimp with chili bacon grits ($29). End with brownie sundae topped with roasted banana ice cream ($9).

Lunch and dinner are served daily with lunch leaning heavier on sandwiches. A la carte Sunday brunch starts this weekend.

White Horse Fashion Cuisine

3401 Equestrian Club Drive, Wellington, 561-847-4549,

Juan Gando and chef Dustin Parfitt, owners of the Fashion Cuisine mini chain, have brought a fifth dining option to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The duo renovated the previous White Horse Tavern in the space, hence the name.

"Our world-class cuisine caters to the visitors from around the globe who travel here every year for the Winter Equestrian Festival," says Gando.

Dinner is served nightly, except Sundays and Mondays, through the season amid high ceilings and windows, white tablecloths, tabletop crystal chandeliers, and gold and beige tapestries. A candlelit cocktail lounge indulges with plush seating, and TVs are a draw in the sports bar. Covered patio seating overlooks a waterway.

Best-sellers are short-rib empanada with bordelaise ($5), steamed edamame with sea salt and chili oil ($8), spicy tuna tartare atop fried wontons ($14) and a butcher's prime cut of the day (market price).

"Every dish is created not only to taste wonderful, but to look beautiful as well," Gando says.

VooDoo BBQ & Grill

3257 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 954-987-9165,

This bourgeoning New Orleans-based franchise has debuted its fourth Florida location.

Weston-based BBQ Boyz purchased rights to operate in the majority of the state and plans to open 26 locations in the next four years.

"We chose this Hollywood location because of how conveniently located it is to I-95 and especially the incredible mix of residential and offices within a short walk," says Joe Sloboda, president of the Florida Restaurant Franchise Group, which oversees BBQ Boyz. "Having grown up in Hollywood and going to high school just down the street at Chaminade, this neighborhood has a special place in my heart."

Cajun-Creole fusion, such as slow-smoked meats ($4.49 -$18.99), gumbo ($5.49), jambalaya ($7.49), burgers ($4.99-$6.49), po'boys and other sandwiches ($4.49 -$8.49) are served for lunch and dinner daily amid a French Quarter party-like atmosphere with Mardi Gras beads and memorabilia. Patio seating is covered.

A fifth branch, expected to open in Boca Raton in May, will join predecessors in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Kendall.

TAP Global Beer Collection

14813 Lyons Road, # 100, west of Delray Beach, 561-270-3839,

Paige Presnell grew up in St. Louis where a lot of his friends were involved with Anheuser-Busch.

"I was deeply rooted in beer history and culture," he says.

Combine that with his 20 years as a developer and contractor building restaurants, and the result is his first co-owned spot in Delray Marketplace in the courtyard of Frank Theatres.

"I really wanted to create a pub that would have a woody, lodge-type atmosphere with many TVs and entertainment, unlike any other sports bar because of the high level of finish," he says.

In fact, there are 30 TVs, and the funky, artistic woodwork is surprising — pecky cypress 12-foot communal tables and a bar crafted with a pine curved front and a light camphorwood top with wavy bark edges, complete with chunky stools reminiscent of "The Flintstones." Every chair leg is different, depending on color, girth and twist of the branch. Stone walls add to the earthiness.

"All the wood was hand-selected and hand-carved locally," Presnell says.

In contrast, the outside is trendy with tables and an orange lounge around a fire pit to match the exterior walls. Live music is in the works.

Of course, beer is the main draw with 72 drafts and 400 bottled brands, along with themed flights. Ask if the Mariana Trench imperial stout from Due South in Boynton Beach is on tap ($7).

"The best-sellers are the local brewery beers," Presnell says. "We are excited about this fact, as we love to promote our locals, like Funky Buddha."

Pub snacks, less than $10 each, can be paired with beer suggestions for lunch on weekends and dinner nightly. Favorites are beef sliders ($8), Bavarian soft pretzel ($4) and fish dip ($8).

Email news to or send to John Tanasychuk, Sun Sentinel, 500 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 900, 9th floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

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