Events and Things to Do in Delray Beach and Boca Raton

Boca Raton and Delray Beach are among the most vibrant communities you’ll ever find.

Both cities feature a vast array of events year-round that are sure to interest people of all ages and interests. From arts festivals and music events to a vibrant food scene and cultural landscape Boca-Delray has it all.

At YourDelrayBoca.com we strive to curate the best events and give you insider’s tips to make your experience the best it can be.

Things We Loved In July

Don’t miss the latest exhibit in the Cornell Museum. Seven Solos is awesome.

 

Things we loved in July

Coco Gauff’s magical run to the round of 16 at Wimbledon won’t be soon forgotten.
The budding Delray Beach legend acquitted herself with grace and courage on the grass at Wimbledon thrilling fans around the world.
We can’t wait to see her play in the U.S. Open next month.
CanCode is a really cool concept we learned about last month.
CanCode is a group of high school students in Palm Beach County, committed to teaching elementary school students computer programming through engaging workshops. The effort is funded by the Philanthropy Tank and was recently featured on Channel 25 news. We were thrilled to see CanCode working with the Summer Camp Program at Delray’s Achievement Center for Children and Families.
July 4th is always a highlight. After years of braving the crowds at the beach we have settled into a routine where we eat dinner with friends and watch the fireworks far away from the hustle and bustle.
On America’s 243rd birthday, I found myself still marveling at how lucky we are to live in America. My grandparents fled persecution and almost certain death so that future generations could enjoy freedom, opportunity and the pursuit of happiness. I’m grateful for their journey and for a country that would take them in and give their children and grandchildren and now great grandchildren a chance to enjoy all that America has to offer.
We had a chance to see The Spy Behind Home Plate at the Movies of Delray. 
It’s a terrific new documentary that tells the remarkable story of Moe Berg, a major league catcher who went on to play a key role in World War II as a Spy.
It’s an amazing story. Don’t miss it.
Restaurants
We really like Wood & Fire on West Atlantic and Military.
Very lively atmosphere, good food and a nice drink menu.
The Paradise Sports Lounge  also on West Atlantic and Military got some great national press as a result of the Coco Gauff Wimbledon run.
NBC Nightly News and other outlets captured the raucous scene of fans rooting for Coco at the restaurant/sports bar which is owned by Coco’s parents.
Just a great feel good story.
Great to see Troy’s Barbecue open a second location in Boca on Dixie Highway.
The restaurant on US 1 in Boynton is fabulous.
Delray’s Harvest continues to delight with some of the healthiest meals you can find.
We enjoyed a terrific happy hour at Vic & Angelos.
Inexpensive drinks and half price food from 4-7 makes this an extraordinary deal. The bar staff is terrific.
La Cigale remains a favorite.
We had two wonderful large parties in July with candidates for the CEO job at Old School Square.
The food is always sensational as is the service and ambience. Congratulations to the great Francis Toboul and his wonderful staff. 
On a sad note, we were disappointed to see Sardinia on South Federal Highway close. Boca lost the Tilted Kilt on Airport road.
Congratulations to the Chris Evert Pro Celebrity Classic which announced that Chase Private Client Group is the new title sponsor for the event’s 30th anniversary this year.
The two day event is set for Nov. 22-24 at the Delray Tennis Stadium. Celebs include Carson Kressley and Jon Lovitz among others.
Boca’s Chris Evert did a great job giving color commentary at last month’s Wimbledon. We also recommend her entertaining and often funny Instagram feed.
It was great to see Jonathan Burns on America’s Got Talent and on the cover of the Lifestyle section of USA Today.
The talented contortionist and comedian recently performed at Old School Square.
The Seven Solos exhibit at Old School Square’s Cornell Museum is a must see.
Unique installations using light, salt and other materials makes for a fun visit. Don’t miss it.
While at the Cornell, we also enjoyed the terrific 6×6 exhibit featuring a slew of local artists. More than 700 pieces this year.
Marusca Gatto and Melanie Johanson are doing an amazing job at the museum. We’re grateful.
Congratulations to Coach TJ Jackson and the Atlantic High School football team.
The Eagles are the subject of an upcoming documentary produced by the Sturdy Group. 
The documentary will emphasize the team’s devotion to academics and community service. TJ has been a game changer.
We had a blast at the Arts Garage’s summer fundraiser featuring several magicians including headliner Gary Goodman. 
If you haven’t checked out the Arts Garage, please do. You won’t regret it. World class talent served up several times a week in an intimate venue. It’s been really great for Delray.
Welcome to Atlantic Avenue Elisabetta’s. 
After a long wait, Big Time Restaurant Group parent of Rocco’s Tacos and Louie Bossi, debuted Elisabetta’s Ristorante Bar and Pizzeria at 32 East Atlantic.
At 7,800 square feet, the eatery is big and beautiful. Welcome to the Ave.
Two local companies were among the top 10 South Florida venture capital investments in Q2.
Coming in at number 5 was Boca based software management platform Pixeom which raised $15 million.
In 7th place, Delray Beach based health care software firm Sunwave raised $6 million. Keep an eye on both the ecosystem is growing.
Finally, July saw the 85th birthday of a special friend, the high Commissioner himself, Mr. Bob Costin.
Bob is somewhere out there with his lovely wife Sonya riding in his rock star RV. We miss him and will buy him his favorite Chinese food upon his return this fall.

A Star Is Born

Delray’s own: Coco Gauff

 

Every now and again an athlete breaks through and touches the hearts and minds of people all over the world.
The ability to capture those hearts is part of the magic of sports.

Maybe it’s the talent it takes to excel, maybe it’s the sacrifice or the personal story. Regardless, some athletes seem to rise above.

You don’t have to be a tennis fan to be caught up in the story of Cori “Coco” Gauff.

The 15-year-old from Delray Beach will play in the Round of 16 today at Wimbledon and that’s a monumental achievement.  Coco is making headlines all over the world after three scintillating victories, including a convincing first round win over her hero Venus Williams who also has extensive ties to Delray.

There are many aspects to the Coco story. Yes, she’s the youngest. Yes, she’s the “next one” and yes she has a very big game.
But she also has the “it” factor, that intangible that is hard to explain but you sure know it when you see it.

She plays without fear.

Staring down her idol Venus, beating a past semi finalist in the second round and digging deep to escape a tough third round match against a powerful and experienced opponent who was playing very very well announced to all who were watching that they were witnessing something special.

Coco has that champion’s demeanor. She know she belongs. And despite what must be enormous pressure she continues to play fearlessly, going for shots and digging deep  when she gets in a hole.
It’s amazing to watch. And she has become the story of the tournament no matter what happens from here on out.

You get the sense that you are watching history, the glorious coming out party of a special transcendent athlete.

Of course, a few wins at a high profile event does not a career make.
But…this feels different. This feels real.

For her hometown of Delray Beach, Coco’s amazing run has been a joyous occasion.
Large crowds gather at her parents restaurant, The Paradise Sports Lounge on West Atlantic Avenue and Military Trail for “watch parties” that have been covered on the national and international news.

Leading the cheers are Coco’s grandmother –the wonderful Yvonne Odom, herself an historic figure as the first African American student to attend Atlantic High School.
We’ve written about my friend Mrs. Odom on this site. She’s special too.

That her own athletic ambitions were scuttled by the racial attitudes of the times is a part of her grand daughter’s amazing story. Yvonne was not able to play sports at Atlantic despite her considerable athletic talents.
To see Coco thrive at Wimbledon must be extra special for Mrs. Odom and her family. You can see the joy the family is experiencing and it’s inspiring.
I’ll be hoping that the run continues. But even if it ends today or with Coco lifting the championship trophy, we have a strong sense that this story is just beginning.

Things We Liked In June

Delray’s Coco Gauff makes her Wimbledon debut today.

Things We Liked n June

 

After reading a stellar review, we checked out the Driftwood restaurant on U.S. 1 in Boynton Beach.

It’s fabulous.

 

Located in the former location of Sculley’s, the Driftwood offers craft cocktails and farm fresh food inventively prepared from local farms.

We recommend the Yuca tots, the calamari (the presentation is very different), the deviled eggs and the pita and hummus.

Great happy hour from 3-6 daily.

We skipped the lion fish, but they offer it.

 

 

We went back to La Vie, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Pompano. It did not disappoint. Great food. Entertainment and a really cool atmosphere. Highly recommend.

 

We enjoyed Maya Flavors of India in Boca and Oli’s Fashion Cuisine in Wellington. Recommend both.

 

Johnny Mango’s on North Federal Highway is a local treasure. Just a fun place to stroll through and admire the orchids, plants and eclectic decorations. These are the type of unique local businesses you hope to see last and flourish.

 

A special thank you shout out to Elise and Charles Johnson for hosting a tropical cocktail party at their beautiful home.

The goal was to bring Old School Square board members and donors together for a fun evening of bonding. Mission accomplished. The Johnson’s are a special couple who quietly do a lot for Delray.

 

Congratulations to Two Fat Cookies on their new location right next to Salt 7 in the SoFA district. The new store is larger than their previous location in Pineapple Grove. We wish them well.

 

It’s also good to see the new Aloft Hotel at 202 Southeast Fifth Avenue nearing their grand opening. The hotel held a job fair in June. We look forward to seeing the new hotel and WXYZ lounge.

 

Impact 100 For Men awarded $50,000 to the Florence Fuller Child Development Center and $4,500 each to the Milagro Center and First Serve West Palm Beach at their annual meeting in June.

I’ve been a member of this terrific group since its inception two years ago. We need more members so we can give away more money to important non-profits serving our community.

Please consider joining. Visit https://unitedwaypbc.org/impact100-men/ for more information.

 

The Dish on Dishes

 

The chicken lemon picatta at Grand Luxe is awfully good.

 

It’s hard to beat the chips and salsa at Senor Burrito.

 

The Chicken and dumplings at the aforementioned Driftwood—very good.

The pasta dishes at La Villetta are outstanding.

 

Summer Movies

 

Don’t miss Rocket Man on the big screen. Elton John music, great acting and unique storytelling.

Yesterday is a feel good movie and features a slew of Beatles songs. We loved it.

Lean on Pete is streaming on Amazon. It’s a sad, but exceedingly well done movie featuring a boy and his horse.

 

Chocolate Everywhere

We finally made it to The Chocolate Factory in Delray.

Beautiful facility, friendly staff and delicious chocolate all made right here in Delray. Add it to your list of places to scope out.

 

 

Congratulations to Delray’s Gary Woodland who shot 13 under to win the U.S. Open golf tournament.

 

Yes, he lives here. In a Marc Julien home. Pretty cool.

 

 

 

 

On a sad note, Delray lost a great friend in June with the passing of Charlie Gwynn.

The long time business and civic leader was born in Delray in 1931.

He was a business owner, coach, volunteer and just a wonderful gentleman.

He was also a regular at the old Green Owl where he met daily with several other long time leaders to eat breakfast, sip coffee and hold court on all things.

That’s how I will remember Charlie. Meeting with his friends and greeting everyone with a warm smile.

 

On another sad note, Delray lost a wonderful benefactor with the loss of Sara Jo Kobacher this month. I had the pleasure of spending time with Sara Jo and her late husband Art as they worked toward their dream of establishing The Village Academy in Delray.

Opened in 2000, The Village Academy School on the Art & Sara Jo Kobacker Campus serves students from low income homes from birth (Head Start) through 12th Grade. Following Sara Jo’s wishes, the United Way of PBC will be the beneficiary of donations in her honor. Condolences may be sent to the family at http://www.schoedinger.com.

 

Recognition

Congratulations to the fabulous Crane’s Beach House on earning a place in the TripAdvisors’ Hall of Fame.

Crane’s received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the fifth year in a row.

In order to be eligible for the Certificate of Excellence, properties must maintain an overall rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

Only 10 percent of properties worldwide are in the Hall of Fame so this is a special and deserved honor indeed.

GM Cathy Balestiere and her team have been great assets to Delray for a very long time. So cool to see the property recognized.

 

It’s also heartwarming to see another deserving local business win national recognition.

 

Boca’s Farmer’s Table was named one of the “100 Best Al Fresco Restaurants” in America in 2019 by Open Table.

 

Farmer’s Table—which is wonderful—was selected from the reviews of more than 30,000 restaurants submitted by Open Table diners.

 

Congrats to Delray’s Joseph Gianuzzi on this well deserved honor.

 

Congratulations also goes to the Sandoway House.

 

Sandoway Discovery Center received a two-year grant totaling $90,000 from The Jim Moran Foundation. The funds will be used to support Sandoway’s Education and Animal Care Program which allows students and visitors to learn environmental education through hands-on activities and live-animal encounters. The Jim Moran Foundation grant will also allow for the purchase of a new environmental education book to be sent home with every student participating in Sandoway’s Junior Naturalist Program from a Title I school.

 

 

This from CNN and it’s not fake news.

 

(CNN) – “American tennis prodigy Cori “Coco” Gauff just became the youngest player in the Open Era to advance through qualifying to reach Wimbledon’s main draw.”

The 15 year old Delray native has often been compared to Serena Williams. It’s not an unfair comparison. Stay tuned. She’s special.

Coco plays Venus Williams today at Wimbledon. She grew up idolizing the Williams sisters, who also trained in Delray.

No less a legend than Roger Federer calls the match-up “fascinating.”

Have a wonderful July and a safe Independence Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdom Amid The Pomp & Circumstance

Steve Jobs’ Stanford speech is considered a graduation classic.

Before we drift too far from graduation season, we wanted to share some of our favorite grad speech snippets.
We hope you enjoy and we wish our local graduates all the best in the years to come.

Steve Jobs Stanford 2005

“Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

J.K. Rowling, Harvard 2008

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me,” she said. “[R]ock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

 

Winston Churchill, 1941 Harrow School

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

 

Jeff Bezos, 2010, Princeton

“Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life — the life you author from scratch on your own — begins.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”

 

Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) Lake Shore College 1977 – a 75 second commencement address.

“My uncle ordered popovers

from the restaurant’s bill of fare.

And when they were served,

he regarded them

with a penetrating stare …

Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom

as he sat there on that chair:

“To eat these things,”

said my uncle,

“you must exercise great care.

You may swallow down what’s solid …

BUT …

you must spit out the air!”

 

And …

as you partake of the world’s bill of fare,

that’s darned good advice to follow.

Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.

And be careful what you swallow.”

 

Stephen Colbert, 2006 Knox College

“Cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or be disappointed in us. Cynics always say no … for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.”

 

Conan O’Brien, Harvard 2000

“I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of the Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet every failure was freeing, and today I’m as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good. So that’s what I wish for all of you—the bad as well as the good. Fall down. Make a mess. Break something occasionally. Know that your mistakes are your own unique way of getting to where you need to be. And remember that the story is never over.”

Tim Cook, 2019 Tulane

“Don’t waste time on problems that have been solved. Don’t get hung up on what other people say is practical. Instead, steer your ship into the choppy seas. Look for the rough spots, the problems that seem too big, the complexities that other people are content to work around. It’s in those places that you will find your purpose. It’s there that you can make your greatest contribution.”

Things We Loved in May

Great documentary with a guest appearance by Delray’s own Max Weinberg.

Things We Loved in May

 

It was great to see Boca Raton based Mela Artisans featured in Florida Trend Magazine in May. The company specializes in selling handmade goods made in India online and in stores such as Home Goods and TJ Maxx.

Keep an eye on this growing company.

 

FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science earned a $652,820 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Laboratory. That’s good news for FAU as the Lab is said to be a first of its kind grant for the National Science Foundation proof of the university’s growing reputation in cutting edge fields of research.

 

 

Over 64 of tomorrow’s stars converged on the Delray Beach Swim & Tennis Club May 4-6 for the United States Tennis Association Boys and Girls 18 and under championship.

 

The PIM Open features rising stars who come to Delray for three days of top notch competition.

 

The event provides a boost to the local economy just when we need it, putting heads in beds at hotels and exposing Delray to players, families, coaches, college scouts etc.

 

Tennis is an important industry in Delray and we should grow it,  not litigate it.

 

 

 

 

We wish The EJS Project a happy one year anniversary and congratulate them on a great mini- documentary that was released in May. Check out the organization here: https://www.ejsproject.org/

 

We were honored to attend the 100th anniversary celebrations Plastridge Insurance at the Delray Marriott. Please see our blog about Plastridge and the legacy of the Lynch family here. We were also thrilled to see Plastridge win the “Business of the Century Award” from the Boca Chamber at a gala luncheon at the Boca Resort.

Plastridge Chair Tom Lynch told the capacity crowd that the key to success is to balance business with family life and to find time to take care of your health along the way. Tom is a terrific role model.

Congrats to fellow honorees Sal Saldana GM of Town Center at Boca Raton named Business Leader of the Year & Roxana Scaffidi of Florida Accounting & Advisers who was named Small Business Leader of the Year.

 

We were thrilled to see Frances Bourque get an honorary degree from the University of Florida in May. Please see our tribute here http://yourdelrayboca.com/our-frances-a-most-distinguished-citizen/

 

 

Speaking of Plastridge, CEO Connor Lynch was honored by Sun-Sentinel with a Next Excalibur Award.

 

Lynch, 38,  was not only honored he is the first winner of the Next Excalibur Award, which recognizes the next generation of leaders whose voices will contribute to the growth and sustainability of business and civic life in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Connor was selected by a committee of previous Excalibur award winners. His father was an Excalibur winner in 2000.

How cool is that!

 

Restaurant fare

 

Crazy Mike’s has crazy good wings.

Timpano on Las Olas has awesome food.

Da Best on Dixie and Yamato is a great sandwich shop.

Okeechobee Steakhouse: a classic with a fun bar scene, great service and truly great food. A true gem.

We tried Duck Donuts in Boca and it was awfully good. Just delicious.

The penne with mushrooms at Sardinia—defies description.

Don’t miss the plum wine at Sushi Thai in Delray and we are loving the Bee Hive in Boca.

Also, if you visit iPic Delray check out the pizza. It’s delish.

Last but never least, Ziree never fails in the taste and service department. Highly recommend you visit.

 

Thanks Chuck

Kudos to our friend Chuck Halberg who does so much for the community.

Chuck, a longtime Arts Garage patron, donated the roughly $40,000 worth of improvements that will add a classroom, an improved box office, a bar and administrative offices.

Viva Las Vegas

I attended my first International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas this month.

In a word, it was overwhelming. More than 30,000 attendees, miles of booths and exhibits and some interesting seminars on the future of retail and shopping center design.

One takeaway: while we read about the “retail apocalypse” bricks and mortar still has some life left. Sure things are changing and we have to pay attention and adapt, but 91 percent of retail sales still take place in a physical store. We’ll revisit some of these subjects in upcoming blogs.

 

The 2019 Boca Raton Bowl will be televised on ABC on a Saturday afternoon instead of ESPN on a Tuesday night. The game will be played in FAU Stadium and the date is Dec. 21. Time is 3:30. Very cool. Mark your calendars.

 

Movies:

 

We caught Booksmart at Cinemark. Wonderful directorial debut from Olivia Wilde. The film has a chance to become a classic of the coming of age genre.

Finally, saw Vice on a cross country flight. Powerful. Christian Bale just may be the best actor of his generation.

We also caught a special showing of Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock N’ Roll at the new iPic. Wonderful documentary chronicling the rise, fall and rise again of a seaside city. We’ll have more in an upcoming blog. Highly recommend you go if you love cities, rock music and New Jersey.

 

Books:

 

I finished two books in May and recommend both. Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg is a beautifully written book about the public realm and the best defense of public libraries I’ve ever seen.

Love the title. And the sentiment.

Investments in libraries, parks, community centers, art, culture etc.,  are essential keys to happiness and strong communities. It’s a good message for our troubled times.

 

Thanks to Kate Volman I read Matthew Kelly’s book on creating a winning and happy culture, the Culture Solution.

 

A must read for business, government, academics and non-profit leaders who care about creating winning cultures. And if you don’t care…well you aren’t really a leader.

Until next month. Thanks for reading.

Our Frances: A Most Distinguished Citizen

Frances Bourque is a legend…and we love her.

One of Delray’s heroes received much deserved recognition recently and I can’t let the opportunity to write about Frances Bourque pass me by.

Frances—the founder of Old School Square and the inspiration behind so much good in Delray Beach—was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Florida. It’s a rare honor and truly a “big deal” as they say.

The award recognizes exceptional achievement and leadership that merits the special recognition of the University. While a committee on honorary degrees vets the nominees, winners have to be personally approved by the University of Florida’s President. Dr. Kent Fuchs knows talent when he sees it and I’m sure when the president reviewed Frances’ materials it was an easy decision to bestow the honor.

The effort to recognize the force behind Delray’s signature civic achievement was launched by Frances’ sister Judy who reached out to several of Frances’ friends, colleagues and admirers (which is just about everyone) to help write the application. I was honored to be included in the effort and it was truly a pleasure to write about Frances’ influence on the city we love.

Old School Square is the rare project that addresses our past, present and future. Its genius lies in the fact that it touches so many aspects of community building: historic preservation, adaptive reuse of buildings, art, culture, education and so much more. But perhaps its greatest value is that Old School Square gives us a place to gather as a community.

And you can’t put a price on that simple gift.

Old School Square is where we headed after 9/11. It was where we met to discuss the Jerrod Miller shooting in 2005 and where we gather for Town Hall meetings, special performances, speeches, art exhibits and scores of festivals.

It sits at main and main on Atlantic and Swinton—if you had to design a better location you couldn’t.

And yet….

And yet before Frances nobody saw the potential. They saw a rusted chain link fence, crumbling buildings and blight. But Frances saw potential and beauty. Some saw the need for new office buildings. Others saw the need for a downtown anchor store. Frances saw a place to gather and celebrate the arts—the best of humanity.

Pretty soon, everyone shared the vision. That’s Frances’ magic. She makes you see, she makes you believe and while you may have to work hard to get there you don’t mind the journey because she makes every step of the way fun.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the 100th anniversary of Plastridge Insurance and the leadership contributions of Tom Lynch and his family. Frances is yet another example of how a community can be blessed when an extraordinary individual decides to fall in love with a place and commit to a vision.

Back in November, when Frances received word of the award she wrote a few of us an email. She had just driven 12 hours from Highlands, N.C. and was tired. When she got home and saw the letter from President Fuchs she immediately reached out—and immediately sought to share credit. She was clearly elated, but she quoted Thomas Merton who said “no man is an island” and said the recognition belonged to “ALL (her caps) of us!”

Typical Frances.

The truly great ones are humble. They seek to share credit.

People like Frances don’t do what they do for the awards. But it is important to recognize them and to celebrate their achievements so that we too may learn, appreciate and be inspired to get to work ourselves.

For 32 years, I have hung on her every word. She remains an inspiration to all who are blessed to have crossed her path.

 

 

Plastridge Makes History

From left, Brendan, Tom and Connor Lynch.

If you Google companies that last 100 years…you stumble on some interesting facts.

The number of businesses that last a century is a very short list….less than half a percent of companies according to one study I found. It’s a rare company that lasts these days.

Delray Beach and Boca Raton are home to one of them. Plastridge Insurance, founded in 1919, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and we were honored to attend a banquet for employees, friends, retirees and family recently.

For my wife and I, it was a true pleasure. We feel very close to the Lynch family, who have led the business for the past 50 years or so. That’s when Tom joined the company after teaching English for a spell at St. Vincent Ferrer School on George Bush Boulevard.

I first met Tom 32 years ago when I moved to town to take a newspaper job. He was considered an up and comer in those days, a prominent business leader who was a founding chair of the CRA, chair of the Chamber, active at the local hospital and a key member of the Mayor’s Atlantic Avenue Task Force.

When Tom was elected mayor in 1990 it proved to be a landmark election for the city. As a reporter, I had a bird’s eye view of the changes he and his fellow commissioners were poised to make—implementing the Decade of Excellence bond, bringing Visions 2000 to life, working on local schools, stabilizing attrition at City Hall and hiring a police chief who would turn around the fortunes of the Police Department.

It was a great time to be in Delray and I loved covering the goings on. Diane, who came to work for the city during the same era, would later tell me that she (and others) were inspired by the vision, professionalism and team work that Tom and others on the commission championed. She (and others) were also struck by the courtesy extended to staff. Department heads and rank and file employees felt empowered to bring forth ideas, question assumptions and suggest the best path forward.

As a journalist, I was paid to question and to be skeptical. But I was won over by the leadership style of Mayor Lynch. Later, when I pursued my own entrepreneurial endeavors, I sought advice from Tom and began to become fascinated by his success with Plastridge and some of his other business endeavors. He was always generous with his time and advice. When we would get together, it would seem that we would never run out of subjects to talk about and while we agreed on many things, we also proved that you can be friends and politely disagree on the subjects where we saw things a little differently.

I’ve written before that Tom encouraged me to pursue local politics and it was his initial belief in me that got me to seriously consider a run for office in 2000. During my 7 years in office, he served as a trusted sounding board and I can’t overstate how valuable that is. He never once told me what to do, but he helped me through some difficult times with advice I knew was always meant to help me and the city we both cared a lot about.

Sitting at the Marriott listening to long time colleagues such as Mike Bottcher (38 years at Plastridge) and his assistant Paula Post recount how many lives he’s touched at the agency and in the community, I realized how lucky I was to be one of them.

Over the years, I got to know Tom’s wife Hillary who is wonderful and community focused too and his terrific children all of whom are accomplished and kind.

Out of the six kids, I’ve gotten to know Connor and Brendan the best. Both have done a great job moving Plastridge into the future now that Tom is taking some time to paint and indulge other interests.

Both Connor and Brendan are friends and I’ve grown to admire them both greatly. They are smart, talented, dedicated and effective in business and in the community. I was thrilled when Connor was recognized by the Sun-Sentinel last week with a prestigious award that recognizes his devotion to the community and his business acumen and potential for even greater success.

As I made my way around the party and ran into a few folks I’ve known over the years—Tom McMurrian, Peter Arts, Lula Butler, Janet Meeks, Ryan Boylston—all noted the incredible achievement of lasting and thriving for 100 years. And all noted how special the Lynch’s are.

Communities rise or fall based on the quality of people that show up to lead, encourage, mentor, volunteer, run for office, serve, give, employ, invest, think, risk and nurture others.

We were so fortunate that Tom came from the cold of Chicago to the warmth of Delray. Here, he and his family have chaired non-profits, given generously to good causes, dreamt of a better city/county/state and did something to make it so. The list goes on and on. Now, thanks to a new generation, all the good is sure to endure.

Here’s to the next 100 years.

 

 

4Kids Addresses The Silent Crisis

Karen Granger, Tom Lukasik and other dignitaries celebrate the new 4Kids office in Delray.

I have known and admired Karen Granger for well over 20 years now.

We go back to her days at Levenger, the Delray Beach company that I loved so much because they built a business around my favorite hobby: reading.

Karen was in public relations back in those days and I was with the press, first the Delray Times and then my own education newspaper. Levenger was one of the early Delray entrepreneurial success stories and so Karen and I found ourselves crossing paths every now and then.

We became closer friends when she was hired by the Delray Chamber of Commerce where she eventually served as president and CEO. I was on the board for those years and I thought she brought a lot to the job. She had the warmth of former chamber execs Bill Wood and Ken Ellingsworth and she had a special affection and way with the young entrepreneurs who were flocking to our city as a result of Delray’s long renaissance.

Along the way, we become each other’s confidants and supporters. When Karen felt the political heat on hot button issues such as Ipic and the future of special events in Delray, I and others tried to be there for her. When I published my book and agonized over whether I should run for office again, Karen was there with sage advice and support.

So when she landed at 4Kids, a non-profit that focuses on helping children, I was thrilled for her. I truly believe she is where she needs to be; doing important work for a great cause and shining a light on a silent crisis in our community—the need for adoptive and foster homes. As a woman of faith, Karen also believes that she is where she is meant to be.

Last week, a large crowd came to celebrate 4Kids’ new location at The Arbors office building on Congress Avenue and Germantown Road. My company, CDS International Holdings, owns the building and it is part of a redevelopment project envisioned for the abandoned site where Office Depot once had its worldwide headquarters. LynLee Fraser of Parkview Realty (another CDS entity) worked hard to bring 4 Kids to The Arbors and I am proud of our company for supporting the new regional office.

Having a Delray location means that more children in crisis will be served and more foster families will be identified, supported and engaged.

At last week’s ribbon cutting, an array of 4Kids executives, volunteers, board members, supporters, business leaders, elected officials and chamber presidents from Boca and Delray discussed the acute crisis in our community.

More than 100 children in Palm Beach County needed to be removed from their homes for their safety last month. Tragically, 145 children had to be turned away because there is a lack of foster homes in which to place them. Those are staggering and sobering numbers.

If you visit the 4Kids website http://www.4kids.us , you can plug in your zip code and see how many children from your neighborhood were removed from their homes in a year’s time. My zip code saw 22 children removed. It is a silent crisis. Each story is unique. Each child needs love. They are being saved from violence, dysfunction even human trafficking. Yes, it happens here.

Karen and others—including 4Kids executive Tom Lukasik who has fostered 57 children—asked those in attendance at the opening to spread the word. But even if you can’t foster yourself, you can donate clothing, movie tickets, gift certificates—anything kids can use.

Pastor Casey Cleveland, who gave a heartfelt and emotional blessing at the ribbon cutting, also noted that it’s important to support, visit and nurture foster families in our community. Visit them. Bring a dish. Drop off something they can use. “Show them love,” says Casey.

Show them love.

Thanks, Karen for opening our eyes to the silent crisis. Thanks 4Kids for all the good that you do. And welcome to Delray Beach.

 

 

 

Things We Loved in April

A Delray institution celebrates a landmark birthday.

Things we Loved in April

A Milagro Milestone & A Proper Affair
April was a big month for Delray’s Milagro Center.
The non-profit celebrated its “Gala of Light” at the Loft at Congress and also marked the opening of its new Middle School program at the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Milagro Junior Teen Center.
The opening means that the Milagro has three distinct centers serving the needs of our children from Kindergarten through high school.
The Kimmel’s have been a true blessing to Delray supporting many key nonprofits including the Delray Beach Public Library and Old School Square.

Speaking of great non profits, the Achievement Center for Children & Families is marking it’s 50th anniversary this year.
It’s Proper Affair fundraiser honored two of our favorite leaders: Karen Granger of 4 Kids and leadership consultant Suzanne Spencer who did stellar work with Delray’s Drug Task Force before departing to work with clients, our schools and the chamber’s leadership program.
Both are deserving honorees and fabulous leaders.

Recommended
We tried the Vino Wine Bar for the first time this month. This charming Boca Raton restaurant offers great Italian food in an intimate setting. Also a highlight: a wonderful and vast wine list and awesome food.

Mr. Plum Was A Local Legend
On a sad note, Delray lost a wonderful friend with the recent passing of Bill Plum at age 90.
It’s hard to overstate Bill’s contributions to the community.
Owner of Plum’s Pharmacy, founder and manager of the Delray Beach Club, President of Carney Bank, owner of Plum Realty, developer of the Plum Building and a prodigious fundraiser for Bethesda Hospital.
He also co-founded the Drug Abuse Foundation and was active in the Delray St. Patrick’s Day Parade and The Haven. And the list goes on.
He was a wonderful man. Who will be fondly remembered by all who were fortunate to cross his path.

A Theatrical Gem

We have become big fans of FAU’s Theatre Lab, a small intimate space where new plays come to life.
Under the direction of the talented Matt Stabile, local audiences get treated to cutting edge theater works.
We’ve  had a chance to see two plays by Jennifer Lane, an up and coming playwright who is bound for big things.
In April, we saw Lane’s  “Harlowe” an at times funny but mostly intense family drama.
It was a powerful performance and we highly recommend that you check out this wonderful venue if you enjoy thought provoking production. Another great treasure in our backyard.

Big Time
Nice to see State Attorney Dave Aronberg on Morning Joe.
Mr. Aronberg was opining on the college admissions scandal and particularly the questionable decisions by actress Lori Loughlin who at the time had not taken a deal by pleading guilty. (Disclosure: I went to high school with Ms. Loughlin).
Aronberg has gotten a lot of national press lately as a result of the situation involving Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Jupiter Day Spa.

Madison’s
Madison’s restaurant off of Glades Road is a terrific place. Love the bar, a great happy hour menu, amazing food and the wait staff is always great. Highly recommend.

Celebrating a Landmark
Delray’s Fifth Avenue Grill is celebrating its 30th anniversary in May.
That’s a lot of years in a tough business and a competitive landscape.
We recently dropped by for lunch and loved the new menu. Lots of great choices and always a bunch of specials. Now under new management with a new chef too.
(Disclosure: my company has an ownership stake).

The Mighty Max Delivers
The Max Weinberg’s Jukebox show at the Crest Theatre was in a word: amazing.
Two hours of unadulterated fun and great music from a rock and roll hall of famer and his terrific band.
Max, a proud Delray resident, talked up how much he loved playing the Crest and also gave some shout outs to local favorites Da Da and Doc’s.
If you have a chance to see the Jukebox don’t miss it. It’s a great night of music courtesy of an E Street legend.
Also kudos to promoter Rusty Young and his Music Works for bringing all sorts of great acts to the Crest—John Sebastian, Karla Bonoff, Stephen Bishop etc.

Healthy Options
We discovered the Bee Hive restaurant in Boca last month. Healthy food, reasonably priced and very generous portions. A welcome addition to the fast casual scene.

Motivation at La Cigale
We had a chance to have dinner at La Cigale with performance coach and best selling author Dr. Kevin Elko.
Dr. Elko has worked with 7 national college football champions and several NFL teams including the Cowboys, Eagles, Steelers and Packers. He’s about winning in business, sports and life by connecting, eliminating distractions and being present.
It’s a good message. Check out his website. https://www.drelko.com/

Pompano Rising
Sometimes we go a little afield to  try new things. So we traveled to Pompano to experience Mora Grill, a Lebanese restaurant.
It was outstanding. Lively (lots of belly dancing), really good food and just plain fun. Also very reasonably priced.
We then wandered down the recently improved beach promenade and ended up at the magnificent Beachhouse which is a really vibrant hot spot directly on the ocean. Keep an eye on Pompano.

Attracting VC attention
Congratulations to our friends at Bidtellect for ranking 13th on the South Florida Business Journal’s list of top 25 venture capital deals for the past four quarters ending March 31.
The Delray based paid content distribution platform raised $8.68 million.
Keep an eye on this company. It’s going to be big.
Boca’s Greenlane, a vape company, landed in  third place landing a whopping $48.2 million.
Christine’s is Magnificent
Kudos to Lynn University’s newest culinary gem: Christine’s.
Located on the second floor of the beautiful University Center, Christine’s offers great food with a beautiful view of the campus. A wonderful addition.

Devour
We visited Devour Brewery in Boynton Beach and sampled several excellent beers. My favorite: the Pineapple Hefe.
Definitely worth your time to visit and sample.

The Power of Vulnerability
If your not willing to build a vulnerable culture you can’t lead or innovate.
That’s was one of many messages/gems in the new Brene’ Brown Netflix special. “Call to Courage” is a great way to spend 75 minutes. So step away from the endless division on cable TV “news” and learn from a thought leader who teaches us about courage and vulnerability and how you can’t have one without the other.

Taking a Free Ride
Beatles on the Beach…Edgar Winter in Delray. How cool is that? Nuff said.

Long Awaited
We finally visited Louie Bossi in Boca. It was very good.
Wonderful food, excellent service and Nonna’s cheesecake is to die for.

Thanks & Happy Retirement

Congratulations and a heartfelt thanks to Phil Dorfman who retired after 30 years with the Delray Police Department.
I had a chance to ride with Phil several times over the years. We saw some things..Delray has come along way thanks in large part to the efforts of officers like Phil. We wish him well in his retirement.

A Can’t Miss Rock N’ Roll Experience

Max and me…

Do you love music?
I mean really love music.

Do you wake up with songs in your head?

Do you sing in the shower?
Do you sing all the way to work listening to a great tune on the radio?

I do.

If you love classic rock—the best music ever made (along with Motown)—you have a unique chance to hear it played live by a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his amazing band right here in Delray Beach.

On April 11 at 8 p.m., Max Weinberg’s Jukebox will play the intimate Crest Theatre at Old School Square. You don’t want to miss the show.

Repeat: Do not miss this show.

We caught Max and his amazing band last year at the Arts Garage, where he played two sold out shows which left people breathless, singing and dancing to music from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The “jukebox” format is unique. The theater is ringed with TV’s scrolling the names of hundreds of classic songs. Audience members choose from the list and Max Weinberg’s Jukebox plays a faithful version. It’s interactive, fun, high energy and showcases the talents of a great group of musicians including Max or “Mighty Max” as he’s known to legions of E Street Band fans around the world.

Max Weinberg joined Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band in 1975 during the recording sessions for the iconic “Born to Run” album.

The rest as they say is history…but in Max’s case his legend transcends E Street to include a long stint leading the band on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, a seminal book about legendary drummers, acting roles, bandleader on the Tonight Show and several different musical bands including the Max Weinberg 7 and now the Jukebox which covers the landscape from The Beatles and the Stones to Bruce and beyond.

I got to know Max over a year ago. We met at the Arts Garage and later he joined my wife and I on a car tour through Delray where we talked about local history and future plans. Max is really into real estate and has become a student of Delray—soaking up visions and plans on the city’s websites. (P.S. we weren’t sure about the etiquette of driving him around: was it too goofy to play E Street Radio in the background? We decided to just provide narration with no background music.)

He’s also a good guy. And it’s really nice that he cares about his new home. It’s also nice when one of your heroes turns out to be a good person and someone you can talk to about ideas.

I’ve been a Springsteen fan (fanatic) since the age of 11, exactly when Max joined the band.

I still remember what it felt like to walk to the record store in Stony Brook N.Y. and buy the newest E Street Band record. The thrill of walking home and sliding the LP on my Technics turntable and hearing the first notes blast through Radio Shack speakers. Those were the days where you didn’t have instant streaming music, you had to wait for releases, listen to the radio, read rock magazines (Circus, Rolling Stone) and talk to the cool kids in home room to find out what was new and hot.

Back then, I never had enough money to buy all the albums I wanted, so I was judicious in my spending,  prioritizing my favorite musicians. Springsteen was one of the few artists that I just bought whatever they put out on day one. I knew the E Street Band  would deliver and they always did.

Darkness on the Edge of Town came out in ’78, The River in 1980, Nebraska during my senior year and the blockbuster Born in the USA in ’84 when I was in college in Oswego, N.Y.

We went to see the E Street Band at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse with a group of guys from my floor—it was the day before the “We are the World Sessions” and Bruce had a cold but the show was magnificent just like every show has been. And Max….well Max is just the best. Nobody works harder every night and nobody channels Springsteen quite like him. The music…it’s indescribable and touches so many emotions. It’s powerful and eternal. The best art endures.

So it’s a special thrill for me to know and occasionally hang with the musician who provides the driving beat for my favorite songs.

Come see the Max Weinberg Jukebox at The Crest Theatre on April 11. You’ll be glad you did. Click the link below and say hello. I’ll be in the second row singing along to the best music ever made.

https://oldschoolsquare.secure.force.com/ticket#sections_a0F0G00000SR9NqUAL

The Mighty Max