Favorite restaurants make a comeback. So do Kentucky Derby parties.
Good news on the openings and re-openings front: One local gem is welcoming a sister restaurant to the family next week just as some local favorites make or plan a comeback.
Queen of Sheeba
The county’s only Ethiopian restaurant and one of just two in South Florida, Queen of Sheeba reopens Wednesday in West Palm Beach’s Northwest Historic District. The reopening comes 26 months after the welcoming spot closed its doors during the state-mandated pandemic shutdown of restaurants.
Extensive street and sidewalk construction along Sapodilla Avenue delayed owner Lojo Washington’s plans to reopen the restaurant. The Ethiopian-born nurse originally opened the charming, full-service eatery in September 2015 after renovating the space where she once ran a popular neighborhood soul-food takeout counter.
The transition from Southern soul food to Ethiopian soul food required equal parts patience and storytelling on her part as she introduced the similarities between the cuisines. But she did win back most of her customers and earned so many new ones as her restaurant became a destination for diners from all over the state.
For the restaurant’s backstory, here’s the profile piece I wrote on Lojo and her Queen of Sheeba in 2015.
Queen of Sheeba: Reopens May 11 at 716 N. Sapodilla Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-514-0615, QueenofSheebaWPB.com; open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. for dinner. Closed Sunday through Tuesday.
The team behind Okeechobee Steakhouse, led by the iconic restaurant’s third-generation owner Ralph Lewis, will debut Lewis Steakhouse in suburban Jupiter on Friday, May 13, at 4 p.m.
Lewis tells me it’s the first time the Okeechobee family has opened a steakhouse in nearly 75 years.
“We’ve opened a few other restaurants but this is the first venture into another steakhouse. It’s exciting for my family and for myself,” he says.
The new, dinner-only Lewis Steakhouse has breathed new life into the former Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant space on the corner of Indiantown Road and Central Boulevard.
Lewis Steakhouse: Opening May 13 at 6390 Indiantown Rd., Jupiter, 561-277-9188, LewisSteakhouse.com; serving dinner
Double Roads Tavern
The Jupiter bar, loved for its live music, weekend jam sessions and flame-broiled burgers, is planning a comeback this summer. Double Roads Tavern owner Vince Flora, who opened the original bar in 2014 but closed it in April 2021, tells me he is overhauling the former Outback Steakhouse space in the adjacent plaza as the tavern’s new home.
A bold new menu focused on barbecue and creative pizzas is in the works as well. Read all about the upcoming Double Roads – and other relocated restaurants – here.
Where to Kentucky-Derby
You may be 1,000 miles from Churchill Downs Saturday, but chances are there’s a decent mint julep and a Kentucky Derby watch party near you. Find one at:
This seafood-focused restaurant on downtown Delray’s restaurant row will serve a Derby brunch Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. At Lionfish, they’ll pour traditional mint juleps and serve Southern bites (chicken and waffles, $22, shrimp and grits, $26) and welcome Derby hats and attire. (307 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-639-8700)
Tucked into The Regional restaurant in West Palm, this sophisticated bar is hosting a watch party starting at 4:30 p.m.
They’ll pour Woodford Reserve mint juleps and white peach juleps and serve Southern-style small plates by executive chef/partner Lindsay Autry (think deviled eggs, fried chicken thighs, country ham and cheddar biscuits, Autry’s famous tomato-pie burger, pimento cheese).
Dress in your Derby duds and you may win a prize for “Best Derby Hat.” (651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-557-6460)
Proper Grit Whiskey Library and Supper Club
The Ben hotel’s signature restaurant Proper Grit will be showing the Kentucky Derby throughout its dining room Saturday, pouring mint juleps made with Glenmorangie X single malt whiskey and putting on a “best hat” contest.
If you stay for dinner, the restaurant will give you a bottle of Sea Sun wine by Caymus when you purchase two or more main plates. (251 N. Narcissus Ave., 561-461-0040)
Burt and Max’s
This suburban Delray favorite is bringing back its annual Derby Social on Saturday for the first time in two years. The party, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m., takes place on Burt and Max’s back patio and bar area.
Expect classic juleps and Kentucky mules, Southern-inspired bites (deviled eggs and pulled pork sliders) and lots of Derby outfits. The staff will award gift cards to the “most dapper male” and/or “most unique” ladies’ hat. (9089 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-826-1790)
Batch New Southern Kitchen
This Clematis Street restaurant and bar will host a big Derby-themed party Saturday, starting at 11 a.m., well before post time for the biggest race of the day at 6:57 p.m. Batch will have plenty of big-screen TVs indoors and out, broadcasting the day’s slate of races.
In a collaboration with Maker’s Mark, Batch will release three new julep-inspired, house-infused whiskeys (classic mint julep, chocolate mint julep and watermelon mint julep) during the day-long celebration. The bar will offer these in craft cocktails, shots and to-go bottles. Expect Derby-duds contests as well as pick-the-winner trifecta contest prizes. (223 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-708-0000)
A word to the mothers, las mamas and tout manman yo…
Happy Mother’s Day weekend to you. May it find you healthy, happy and surrounded by love and good food.
Have a delicious weekend!
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Newsletter: Favorite restaurants make a comeback, as do Derby parties