- February 4, 2014
The former Blue at the Topaz location will soon host a new restaurant run by the owners of Woody’s Bar-B-Q.
“This group has so much talent and experience that Island Grille” — the new restaurant — “will hit the ground running. There will be no startup period. We know exactly what we need to do to be in business on day one,” local real estate agent David Alfin said. Alfin believes he and other community members — Woody’s owners Joe Rizzo and Chris Zwirn, plus community leader Carla Cline and chef Gary Maresca — will be able to take the Topaz location to new heights with the new restaurant.
The Island Grille is scheduled to open sometime in May at 1224 S. Oceanshore Blvd. in Flagler Beach. Unlike its predecessor, Blue, the Island Grille will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Those who once enjoyed Chef Gary Maresca’s dishes at the Blue before he left in 2012 can expect his return.
“When David and I spoke about reopening the Blue, my first thought was that, if we’re going to do something here at this location, we need to have the same food quality here as before,” Rizzo
said. “That’s how Gary got in the picture.”
Maresca plans to include various foods from around the world on the menu, saying, “Since the name is ‘Island,’ it can be any island, from Thailand to Japan to Ireland to whatever I want.”
The Island Grille is currently under construction, and the work is being done by all local businesses, including Palmer Studio, Certified Construction Consultants and Rhino Property Services Inc.
“The key point is that we’re all local, and we’re using local resources,” Alfin said. “That’s what we’re really about.”
Part of the plan for the Island Grille is to put on community events, such as fundraisers, beach beautification events, off-site catering, weddings and more. There are also plans to bring room service to the guests of the hotels.
“We want to make this restaurant a destination for locals that are here and for people coming from other places,” Alfin said. “When people think of Flagler Beach, We want them to also think of Island Grille.”
It doesn’t hurt that The Island Grille and the Topaz motel — one of the city’s oldest buildings — is on the beach. As previous frequenters of the Blue restaurant, the members of the Island Grill team remember evenings of admiring the waves crashing against the shoreline as they dined.
“You can’t look at anything prettier than when you stand on the porch of the Topaz hotel and look at that ocean,” Rizzo said. “Man can’t make something that looks like that.”
With a wide range of networks in many separate business areas, Alfin, Cline, Zwirn, Maresca and Rizzo have no doubt the Island Grille will thrive, beginning on opening day.
“We all agreed that, if we put the right people together, there’s really no reason why this can’t be successful,” Zwirn concluded.