Hometown News and Views

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Pompano Beach’s Paradise Diner serves up classic breakfast and lunch fare all week long

By Malcolm McClintock

Paradise Diner
560 S. Dixie Hwy
Pompano Beach, FL

Tel: 954-788-7073
Hours: 6:30 am - 2 pm daily (7 am weekends)

“I come here almost every day. They have really good food. It is one of the best kept secrets in town” says John Deangelis, a local resident who is also a loyal customer of the Paradise Diner. Over the past 11 years, this friendly diner has been serving up tasty breakfast and lunch specialties to thousands of locals and visitors alike. “Our customers come back again and again because we have great food at very affordable prices,” says Elvia Castellon who, along with her sister Rosa, have owned and operated this unpretentious eatery since the late nineteen-nineties. To start the day off with a wholesome meal, Paradise Diner offers a host of tantalizing options such as filling omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, chipped beef, Belgian waffles, pancakes, country fried steak, French toast and eggs Benedict.

“I have been cooking professionally for 22 years and make absolutely everything fresh myself,” says Elvia who takes care of food preparation while sibling Rosa attends to customers. “Unlike most places, our French toast is made with light and fluffy Challah bread. We dry our own beef for the chipped beef dish and even our biscuits and gravy are homemade!” asserts Rosa with great enthusiasm. It is clear that this family business has thrived thanks to the combination of fresh ingredients, savvy cooking, low prices and friendly service. “Our breakfast meals start at $2.25,” says Rosa as she presents the long list of specials. One of the most popular plates is the Big Two featuring 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and 2 sausage links or bacon strips for $4.50. Add an order of French toast if your hunger warrants it. Three large eggs are used for omelettes and just about every dish is served with potatoes or grits, toast and jelly. Refills are free and substitutions are allowed for a small supplement.

To accompany eggs any style, the meat selection includes bacon, ham, sausage links and patties, corned beef hash, Canadian bacon, gyro meat, smoked sausage and hamburger patties. For those with a serious appetite, NY strip steak and even golden pork chops can be enjoyed as well. The Nova Lox Deluxe bagel sandwich with cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onions is another fan favorite. Be sure to try one of the many refreshing juices and sweet breads also available. At lunchtime, the focus shifts to healthy soups, salads, sandwiches and hot platters. “All our lunch specials are $5.99 and include a soup or salad and a beverage. It is really a great deal!” says Rosa.

The salad options feature the flavorful chicken Caesar, the Greek, the Gyro, the Tuna or even the straightforward Chef’s salad. The sandwich list encompasses the chicken Philly, the roast beef, the turkey melt, the cheeseburger and the BLT amongst many others. The hot platters include such stalwarts as spaghetti and meatballs, pork chops, country fried steak, chicken wings and roast turkey. Most also come with potatoes and vegetables. The soups, such as the homemade chicken noodle variety, are rich and flavorful. This sizeable restaurant, with its 2 pool tables and powerful speaker system, can also be rented for parties, banquets, receptions or any other function requiring ample space and plenty of free parking.

To eat in or take out, Paradise Diner is a tasty and cost-effective meal solution conveniently located at the corner of South Dixie and SW 6 St in Pompano Beach. Be sure to also enjoy a $1 beer or $3 wine glass during your next visit!

Committed to culinary excellence, Imperial Point Hospital serves up healthy gourmet meals to patients and visitors alike

By Malcolm McClintock

Pelican Food Writer

Imperial Point Medical Center

6401 N. Federal Highway
Ft Lauderdale, FL

Tel: 954-776-8500

If you have pre-conceived notions about the quality of the food at a hospital, you are not alone. Most of us, at one point or another, have had the experience of eating uninspired institutional fare at a major medical facility. To combat this negative stereotype, Imperial Point Medical Center (IPMC) has made a concerted effort to provide nutritious and delicious sustenance to all those who eat there. “I think of all patients as my own relatives and, therefore, want to make sure they receive the best quality food possible” says Executive Chef Anthony Labriola. Showcasing the versatility of their menu during the inauguration of the brand new state-of-the-art ER, IPMC’s kitchen staff was on hand serving a host of tapas-style dishes.

Mini quesadillas stuffed with smoked chicken and black beans, mouthwatering bite size beef empanadas and jumbo shrimp with zesty cocktail sauce were just a few of the impressive offerings. “I use nothing but the freshest ingredients. It is the key to a successful dish” states Labriola before adding, “You also need to cook with love.” Clearly, the graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute and expert pastry chef is passionate about his vocation. “I have been cooking professionally for 11 years and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I truly love it.” This commitment to excellence translates into high quality fare for patients, visitors, hospital staff and anyone looking for a tasty meal at a great price. “Seniors benefit from a 20% discount and, for convenience, the café remains open until 8 pm” says Labriola who has also been busy with an ever increasing demand for his catering service.

“We cater for large groups and have developed a great relationship with the community as well as local businesses” asserts the friendly Executive Chef as he walks by an ornate display of fresh fruits and various cheeses. The next table features a large bowl of creamy spinach and artichoke dip with toasted pita bread. A freshly prepared hummus and a homemade corn salsa bursting with lively flavors are also on display. For the pièce de résistance, the dessert table overflows with luscious strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolates. “We use only the finest imported Belgian chocolate for our desserts” says the Chef with great pride.

Additionally, resplendent platters of decadent chocolate caramel shooters have everyone salivating heartily.“I make a dark chocolate caramel mousse that I then pipe into small chocolate cups. Finally, I place a little white chocolate star on top to finish it off” says Labriola. Of note, there is no safer dining experience than a meal at a well run hospital such as the IPMC. “We operate under extreme hygiene and sanitary conditions. We check temperatures constantly to ensure that all is optimal” asserts the Executive Chef. Serving about 250 meals daily, IPMC prides itself on its superior personalized service. During off hours, fresh TV dinners and snacks are made on demand for patients. “With regards to patient care, we assess the dietary needs of each individual and have a daily menu that fits his or her requirements” states Imperial Point Medical Center CEO Calvin Glidewell, “we try to put the patient in charge as much as possible.” Clearly, the focus at IPMC is on customer service. The ambiance and décor are cheerful and soothing. In fact, it is quite remarkable to think that one can go to a hospital for a superior dining experience. Congratulations to IPMC for maintaining such high culinary standards.

The Cove Bagel & Deli,  a New York style eatery that provides Big Apple ambiance in the heart of Deerfield Beach

By Malcolm McClintock

Cove Bagel & Deli

Cove Shopping Center

1634 SE 3rd Court

Deerfield Beach, FL

Tel: 954-481-8600

Hours: 8-3 pm daily (closed Mondays)


“We serve much more than just bagels,” says Steve Kay, the gregarious owner of the Cove Bagel & Deli, a bustling diner that has been providing affordable breakfast and lunch to the Deerfield community for over 7 years. “For example, our Nova Lox is hand sliced and at $8.99 a platter, it is a great deal,” adds the native New Yorker as he drops off a couple of orders of the smoked salmon specialty to some of his regular customers. Overflowing with a hodgepodge of nostalgic trinkets, curios and bibelots, the décor in this 50’s era deli harkens back to a less complicated time. This return to old neighborhood values translates into a busy and unpretentious atmosphere where one can find a good meal at a great price. “People relate to our memorabilia. We have created an ambiance that shows when life was simpler,” says Steve who, along with wife Kay and their two children, has turned this family operation into a Deerfield institution.

The breakfast menu is as complete as they come. Pancakes, fruits, French toast, morning sandwiches, filling omelettes and, of course, the traditional 2 eggs with bacon and potatoes are all available any time of day. The eggs Benedict feature extra large farm fresh eggs poached to perfection served on English muffin with either Canadian bacon or ham. The whole thing is smothered in a tangy homemade Hollandaise sauce accompanied by homefries or tomatoes. Another popular choice is the Cove Slam that comes with pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage. The three egg omelettes can be made with just about any ingredient one desires.

“We serve country club omelettes without the country club prices,” asserts Steve as he shows off a resplendent Western omelette destined for another hungry customer, “we have enjoyed huge success because we offer only the best quality food.” On the lunch front, the deli options are seemingly limitless. The popular salad platters, also available as sandwiches, showcase the best homemade chicken, tuna, shrimp, whitefish and egg salads around. “Everything is made in house and nothing is ever frozen” insists Steve. One of the best sellers is the Chelsea – a hearty serving of chicken, tuna and shrimp salads served on mixed greens with tomato, cucumber, carrot, lemon wedge and bread. Of course, Cobb, Caesar, spinach and house salads are also on the menu.

The Cove Bagel & Deli proudly promotes its famous “Big Burgers”. These ½ lb behemoths are grilled to perfection and served with fries and all the trimmings. The Hillsboro features sautéed mushrooms, crisp bacon and provolone cheese, the Alpine comes with melted Swiss cheese and grilled ham. For aficionados of real New York style deli meats, a hearty sandwich is the highlight of any visit. “We use only National Deli products for our lunchmeats,” says Steve as he points to the pastrami, beef brisket, kosher salami and various other delectable options.

The Reuben overflows with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled rye bread with fries – a true classic for anyone who has ever enjoyed this New York specialty. For an awe-inspiring club sandwich, the Cove Triple-Decker is laden with fresh turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Add roast beef, chopped liver, corned beef, pastrami or tongue to create your own masterpiece. The Cove Bagel & Deli is also proud to provide healthy wraps, hearty soups such as the matzo ball or chicken noodle and a good selection of fresh baked desserts such as apple strudel and cheesecake. All menu items are priced under $9, there is ample free parking and major credit cards are accepted. Free delivery is available and a convenient catering service is also offered. “Our regulars eat here daily and visitors come often. It is a hub for vacationers as well as locals. Plus, we have nice outdoor seating for those who want to bring their pets,” says Steve who greets most of his customers by name.

For an inexpensive culinary voyage to New York, the Cove Bagel & Deli is a great option in Deerfield Beach.

Customers rave about Under The Sun Subs and More, home of the overstuffed subs at 3330 East Atlantic Blvd.

By Phyllis J. Neuberger

Pelican staff

Owner, Mitch Frachtman, says, “Everyone knows me as Mitch, so call me Mitch. I make the best subs in town.  Try me once and you’ll be back,” he adds a jolly laugh and says, “Business at the Under The Sun Subs and More gets better every day as my regulars return and refer their friends to me.

Sub lovers stop here on their way to the beach for a picnic on the sand, and on the way home for a great sub dinner. Some of my fans even stop for subs on their arrival in town before they check into their hotels, and they stop to take a sub with them to eat on the plane before they leave. Come September, I’ll be here two years. Before that I ran Under The Sun Eatery at Royal Vista.”

He continues, “My experience behind a deli counter began in New York City at chain supermarkets where I worked when I was in high school. I worked in a New York style deli in California, but I liked Florida better and I’ve been here since the early 80s. I worked on the beach in concessions until 1998 when I opened my own sub business.  I use only Boar’s Head meats and offer overstuffed subs, hot deli sandwiches, sides and salads to take out or to eat in.”

The interview with The Pelican was sandwiched in between customers.  Brent Martorann and his daughter Nya drove in from Coconut Creek to pick up two overstuffed subs. He said, “My wife eats the turkey one, and I eat the Italian which is stacked with ham, capocollo, salami, provolone cheese, veggies, lettuce and more. I drive here every week and have for two years. The quality of the meat and vegetables is the best.”

 His daughter, Nya, was happily eating a watermelon ice which Mitch gives to all visiting children. He offers free cold drinks to adults while they wait for him to create the piled high subs they order. Michael Bracao, Pompano Beach, stopped in as he does every day for a sub. He says, “I love the Philly Cheese Steak and his pastrami subs are piled so high, I can’t finish it in one sitting. This is a great neighborhood sub shop.”

Still another local customer, Rainee Blanski, ordered a turkey sub and her friend, Jack Snow said, “I have to try an Italian sub because I’ve heard so much about them.” They watched, fascinated as Mitch built his overstuffed subs stacking mayo, mustard, cheese of choice, 6 ounces of Boar’s Head meats, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot/sweet or banana peppers, black olives, salt, pepper, oregano, topped off with another two ounces of meat. Big enough to share, one sub weighs over 4 pounds.

Mitch says, “My white or wheat sub rolls are delivered fresh every day.  I use rye bread only on Reubens and Rachels. I introduce a different cut of Boar’s Head meats every week to add variety to my subs.” When traffic slowed for a moment, Mitch sat down and sipped a diet coke.

“My U.P.S. driver eats here four times a week. We often sit together and watch a sporting event. Many of my customers come from out of the area so you could say I’m a destination.  I’ve been around here for 30 years so I know many people and for me, Mitch’s place is always a party. My favorite thing is seeing customers come back and hearing their raves.” His wall of fame, covered with compliments hand written by happy patrons, runs from the rear entrance to the deli area. Regulars are invited to sign on. Open Monday to Friday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat. 10:30 to 5 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking in rear. Call 954-933-3888.

Friendliest little eatery in Pompano, Nelson’s Diner serves up winners

By Malcolm McClintock
Food writer
Nelson’s Diner
438 S Cypress Rd
Pompano Beach, FL
Tel: 954-785-3646

Ensconced in the corner of the Garden Isles Shopping Center on South Cypress Rd,, Nelson’s Diner is a little place that leaves a big impression. In June Nelson will celebrate its first year. This impeccably clean eatery has already gained a remarkable reputation for its friendly atmosphere and affordable fare. Even the mayor of Pompano Beach drops in regularly to savor the food and, on weekends, to treat his kids to some of the best pancakes to be found in South Florida. When asked about the secret to his fabled flapjacks, owner Greg Nelson admits with a wry smile that his recipe calls for “a bit of malted milk among other things…” In fact, this fiercely gregarious South Carolina native has brought his own twist to many breakfast and lunch favorites.
Be it the homemade gravy prepared with fresh sausage and milk used in the “Country” Eggs Benedict or the smoked ham flown in directly from the mountains of Eastern Tennessee for the “Graceland” breakfast platter, Nelson has infused the menu with his unique brand of flavor profiles and showmanship. Passionate about Baseball, Elvis and GM cars (Nelson was a top salesman at Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet for 20 years before following his culinary passion), the diner oozes nostalgia. With pictures of the King, cars and related Americana adorning the walls, the look and feel of this restaurant is distinctly American. The food is as well.
“I make food the way I like it, and I hope people will agree with me” says Nelson as he delivers an order of his signature dish – the famed Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. Overflowing with juicy meat, the hand pulled pork is smothered in a rich, yellow mustard based BBQ sauce that will leave you licking your fingers with delight. Other lunch favorites include classic sandwiches such as Albacore Tuna, Baked Turkey, Slow Roasted Beef and Applewood smoked Bacon with Lettuce and Tomato. In an homage to Elvis, the voluminous ½ lb. “Hunka” Burnin’ Love burger and ¼ lb. “Hound” Dog with sauerkraut or onions will satisfy the most voracious of appetites.
The many freshly prepared salads at Nelson’s Diner are a must for those looking for healthy alternatives. The mouthwatering Caesar salad with grilled or blackened chicken is truly fit for a king. For some baseball metaphors, the dazzling Ty “Cobb” Salad features Romaine and Boston lettuce, baked turkey, crisp bacon, cucumber, tomato, egg and blue cheese. It is accompanied by a wonderfully tangy homemade Dijon vinaigrette. With this flavorful salad dressing, Nelson has definitely “hit one out of the park.”
When asked about other specialties, the affable waitress Candy opined “We have the best Philly Cheese steak in town and our chicken Cordon Bleu is amazing as well.” This sentiment had previously been echoed by Nelson’s effervescent right hand gal Carol. “We deliver and cater a lot of pulled pork and cheese steak” said Carol as the phone rang repeatedly. “I feel fortunate to be here. Business is very good because we care about the people in our community.” “We have pricing that reflects the state of the economy” says Nelson. With breakfast starting at $2.99 and lunch specials under $6, this is a great spot to drop by for a hearty yet affordable meal. There is plenty of free parking as well.
If you live in the community, Nelson’s Diner is a great place to get acquainted with your Pompano neighbors. If you are simply hungry for some good inexpensive food, grab your blue suede shoes and head for this haven of friendliness. It’s worth the trip. Malcolm McClintock is president of Alabaska LLC, a firm that assists hotels, restaurants and individual property owners with their purchasing needs. He can be reached at malcolm@alabaska.com.

A quick meal at Pompano’s Art Café is a great way to start the day

By Malcolm McClintock
Pelican food writer

Located about halfway between the beach and the Intracoastal on Atlantic Blvd, this friendly and clean eatery is the ideal place to enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch for very little money. “No one can beat our prices, we are the best value you can find in Pompano,” say owners Ana and Ron Neigel.At $3.99 for the mouthwatering deep dish sausage and veggie omelette with toast and potato patty, there is no doubt that a meal at the Art Café is a wise choice for tourists as well as locals. “The best thing about this restaurant is that everything is made fresh on the spot. We can therefore modify your order to your liking and we never charge extra for that,” says Ron, a New Jersey native who has been working in the South Florida restaurant business since the early 80’s.

As the name would intimate, there is art work to be seen. The walls are adorned with myriad paintings from artists who proudly show off their talents. “We have 12 different local artists displaying original works,” says Ron as he prepares a sinfully refreshing mango smoothie. “We opened January 1st and enjoyed a good start with the tourist season. But to our surprise, business has been steadily picking up for us lately as local residents tell their friends and neighbors about our food and friendly service,” says a beaming Ron.

The menu at the Art Café is quite straightforward. Pancakes, waffles, breakfast sandwiches and burritos and, of  course, the signature deep dish omelettes are offered all day long.On the lunch front, tasty spicy chicken or beef quesadillas are always a good option. The Hero sandwiches come in a variety of flavors such as the Austin with horseradish cream, roast beef, cheese, lettuce and tomato or the Super Chicken with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and sprouts. “Our most popular Hero is the Hollywood with turkey and Swiss cheese, but people also really like our homemade soups” says Ron as he greets one of his regular customers. There is also a varied selection of grilled sandwiches, melts and wraps. Tuna, egg salad, chicken salad, roast beef, salami, bacon, turkey, ham, veggies and a multitude of cheeses can be combined any which way to create one’s perfect meal.

“We also offer Jamaican patties, hot-dogs and authentic homemade tamales,” says Ana, an El Salvadorian transplant who has brought her tasty family recipes to the menu. Having taken over the locale of the old Heidi’s Ice Cream, the Neigels thought it wise to continue the tradition of offering delectable frosted treats. “We serve only Gelato Fino products for our cones, sundaes and gourmet decadent treats. They are the best and least fattening frozen desserts one can find,” says Ron. With names such as white chocolate fudge truffle, banana foster, ultra chocolate cake, raspberry chocolate truffle and molten lava, it is hard to imagine these desserts being truly beneficial for one’s waistline. Nonetheless, if one needs to indulge, this is the best way to go.

The Art Café also offers free wi-fi for those wanting to check e-mails over a cappuccino or espresso. In addition, the proprietors offer mailbox rentals and offer copying and notary services. The most expensive menu item is $6, so an outing to the Art Café will not noticeably lighten one’s wallet. The restaurant can be rented for private functions, catering is offered and delivery is also available.