Foodie Archives - Big Picture Broward | Big Picture Broward

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale The Locals

[The Best Info For March 2019 and Beyond]

[Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes]

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Did you know that Fort Lauderdale is the nation’s 2nd most popular spring break destination?

Before you assume our neighbor to the South took the cake at #1, think again. Miami actually came in at #8.

Can you guess which city ranks numero uno? Hint: it’s the happiest place on earth…

Following the famous 1960s film “Where The Boys Are,” Fort Lauderdale earned a reputation as a college student spring break hotspot. However, today—some 49 years later—the month of March attracts a much more diverse, family-focused group of vacationers.

It is still expected that thousands of families and vacationers will be hitting our shores throughout the month of March, but…now that the days of the rowdy college masses have come to a close, us locals can come out to play, too.

We reached out to FTL natives and members of the BPB community to compile a list of the best Spring Break tips for Fort Lauderdale locals.

That way, we can all get the most fun out of March 2019.

Here are the top spring break tips by the locals for the locals

[below are the best tips for navigating Fort Lauderdale, enjoying the best of our beaches, and getting the most out of your dining experiences.]
Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #1  — Drawbridge Schedules

First things first, you and every person in town will be flocking to Fort Lauderdale beach. It’s best to know the drawbridge schedule at the 3 main access points so you don’t end up stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as the sun gradually dips below the horizon.

Sunrise Blvd.—The drawbridge opens on the hour and half-hour. On the first weekend in May, the draw need not open from 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Las Olas Blvd.—The drawbridge opens on the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour. On the first weekend in May, the draw need not open from 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

SE 17th St. Causeway Bridge—The draw shall open on the hour and half-hour.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #2 — Travel by Scooter

Look around any street corner and what will you find? That’s right, Lime, Bird, and Bolt scooters.

Now, the last thing you want to do when scootering to the beach is to ride down a busy road like Federal Hwy., Broward Blvd, and Sunrise Blvd. There are much safer [and more scenic] roads to travel.

PRO TIP: If you do choose to ride down one of these busy streets, however, remember that you are allowed to ride on the sidewalk just so long as you yield to pedestrians.

Anyway, after speaking with all of our seasoned scooter enthusiasts, we reached a conclusion on the best [and safest] routes to take to the beach. By the way, these routes are family friendly in most situations. They are safe for young teens so long as they are accompanied by an adult. Just be sure you ride on the right side of the road and obey traffic laws at all times. 🙂

Word of advice: if you have been drinking, order an Uber instead. The beach isn’t so enjoyable with scraped elbows and knees. Or a DUI for that matter! That’s right, drinking and scootering don’t mix in the eyes of the law—doing so, can get you in serious trouble. So probably best to avoid.

UPDATE from the City of Fort Lauderdale: From March 1st – April 7th the following scooter services will be prohibited from crossing beach access bridges. The following routes are still recommended, however, you will need to park your scooter on the sidewalk before the bridge and walk over to the beach.

#1 — Victoria Park: The Best Route To The Beach Via Las Olas

You won’t find a more beautiful neighborhood anywhere in Fort Lauderdale. Every road is abundant with bright, multi-colored Florida foliage, quaint historic houses, and modern architecture. The blend of new and old truly showcases Fort Lauderdale’s rich history and our promising future. Not to mention, every passerby is super nice. Which reminds us, our BPB community agreed there is one rule if you choose to ride through Victoria Park: that you must smile and wave to fellow travelers. 🙂

If you are traveling from west of Federal Highway, cut through Holiday Park for easy access and smooth riding. Fewer cars and more sights are a scooterist’s best friend.

#2 — Coral Ridge: The Best Route To The Beach Via Sunrise Blvd.

Are you traveling North of Sunrise Blvd.? Rent a scooter and buzz through the lovely neighborhood of Coral Ridge. If you’re taking this route to the beach there are a few fantastic local spots to hit before you reach the sand. Grab an organic lunch or freshly squeezed juice from Maya Papaya [right across from Galleria Mall]. Or stop off at Birch State Park for a ride along the intercostal. There is an access tunnel right inside Birch State Park that goes under A1A and leads right to the beach.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

#3 — Rio Vista: The Best Route To The Beach Via 17th Street Causeway

If you are beach-bound via 17th Street Causeway then the neighborhood of Rio Vista is the way to travel. If you are going at your leisure and have time to spare, we highly recommend some sight-seeing. Tucked beneath the Rio Vista canopies are some of the most beautiful [and massive] houses in Fort Lauderdale.

Before you cross the drawbridge hit up Laspadas Original Hoagies—a true local favorite.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

If you are cutting through Rio Vista on your way to the beach via 17th Street Causeway, keep reading!

Below you’ll find details on a hidden stretch of beach only the locals know about.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #3 — Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret

If you have never enjoyed a day at the Fort Lauderdale Jetties add it to your Spring Break list.

Being at the jetties is like having a private beach all to yourself.

Not only does the coastline stretch on and on, but it is also one of the widest sections of beach in Fort Lauderdale, making it perfect for an afternoon game of beach volleyball or soccer.

If you want a quiet spot to enjoy Spring Break, you won’t find a better place. The Jetties is perfect for families who want to get away from the crowds gathering on Las Olas. It’s no wonder BREW Urban Cafe cited it on their top 6 spots to visit in Fort Lauderdale.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals
Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #4 — Where To Eat

Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale also means that some of our favorite local restaurants and bars are overcrowded to the extreme. The famous waterside restaurant, Coconuts, gets up to a 2-3 hour wait. That’s just crazy!

Here are a few local spots to check out during Spring Break if you want to avoid the swarms of vacationers.

#1 — Boatyard

If you’re leaving Fort Lauderdale beach or heading to the jetties for a sunset stroll, Boatyard is the place for you. Our favorite part of dining at Boatyard is the a-la-carte selection of fresh seafood they wheel around the restaurant all night. You really won’t find that any place else in the area.

#2 — Java & Jam

Located on Las Olas, this newest dining concept by The Restaurant People is ideal for a bite before or after hitting the beach. These guys know Fort Lauderdale best, so you can trust this will become a local favorite before you know it.

#3 — Top Hat Deli

It’s a little further inland [just across the street from the new Dalmar Hotel], but it is one of the best lunch/breakfast spots in town. Word of advice: their plate of hotdogs is crave-worthy.

#4 — Shuck N’ Dive

What’s spring break without a plate of New Orleans style fried shrimp or a crawfish boil? Straight out of Louisiana, this local favorite is our native destination for Cajun cuisine. Yes, they’re dog-friendly on the patio, so be sure to bring the whole family. 🙂

#5 – Lauderdale By The Sea

The perfect place for some Spring Break shopping and fresh seafood.

If you are interested in Spring Break advice in real time, be sure to follow Post Up Fort Lauderdale on Facebook.

This is where us locals share daily adventures and insights on where to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Also, be sure to follow Broward Police Department on social media for live safety updates throughout the month of March.

There’s something you should know 

The beginning of Florida Stone Crab Season isn’t about gorging on stone crab claws…

4th Annual G&B Oyster Fest

Over the past three years, we’ve realized the best way to kick off Florida Stone Crab season is at the annual G&B Oyster Fest! 🙂

What can we say, stone crab just tastes better with all you can eat oysters.

It’s October — Snowbirds are back in town, having followed the good weather to sunny South Florida. Fresh seafood is hauled into harbors and filleted daily. Yachties from all over the world are prepping the intercostal for the International Boat Show. This time of year is all about being by the water, soaking up sunset after sunset, and gorging on fresh seafood while sipping margaritas, cold beer, and delicious wine.

With that said… don’t go limiting your intake of fresh seafood to Florida Stone Crab, Mahi-Mahi, and Coconut’s signature Scoobies. This time of year is just as much about enjoying flavors from all over North America. And what better way to do that than with an assortment of oysters?

4th Annual G&B Oyster Fest

Oysters are called the ‘filter of the sea’ with good reason. 

Florida is best known for our Gulf Oysters, which are briny, creamy and plump. Oysters from other areas taste and look totally different. Some are tiny and sweet, others are crunchy and metallic.

The flavor of each varietal changes based on the region they’re grown, as well as the type and amount of mineralogy and salinity they filter from ocean water in that given region. There are a lot of factors that determine flavor: east coast vs. west coast, north vs. south, cold vs. warm, gulf vs. ocean, inland vs. coastal… even the style of farming impacts the flavor.

Every year the culinary dynamos at G&B Oyster Bar on Fort Lauderdale Beach celebrate this delicious specimen (and the start of Florida Stone Crab Season) with an annual Oyster Fest.

G&B Oyster Bar is a fresh seafood and tapas concept founded by the Be Nice restaurant group in 2012.

Attached to Coconuts — it’s iconic waterside cousin — they’re best known for the varieties of super fresh seafood they have flown in daily from all over the U.S. and Canada. Their selection of oysters from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Nova Scotia,  Prince Edward Island, Rhode Island, Maine (the list goes on and on) changes daily. It’s hands-down one of the best places to enjoy ocean-fresh seafood and beach flavors from unique coastal regions.

The 4th Annual Oyster Fest starts Friday, October 5th at 6:30 pm with a 5-course dinner and beer pairing at Top Hat Deli in Flagler Village.

In partnership with Funky Buddha, this exclusive dinner features the release of Pearl Diver Oyster Saison (ABV 7.5%) — a brewmaster collaboration that infuses 300 pounds of oyster shells with Saison yeast to capture the natural salinity and uplifting mineralogy of oysters.

If you think oysters are best paired with Chablis, Muscadet, or Champagne then RSVP to this dinner and wash that taste out of your mouth with a pint of Pearl Diver.

4th Annual G&B Oyster Fest
Click the image for event details and discounted ticket pricing.

The main event is Friday, October 19, from 6 pm – 10 pm in the parking lot of Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar. OysterFest features all you can Rappahannock oysters from West Virginia, all you can drink Pearl Diver Oyster Saison and Funky Buddha Floridian, unlimited access to seven food stations offering a variety of oyster preparations and other Be Nice restaurant favorites, as well as, live music and oyster slurping contest.

After a few dozen oysters, if you still have your heart set on a pound of Florida Stone Crab then step over to the bar or grab a table waterside at Coconuts. 😉

Fort Lauderdale's culinary scene

Fort Lauderdale’s Restaurant Renaissance

We’ve been hearing a lot of locals talking about all the restaurants closing their doors in recent months.

Heck, we’re among the league of diners still craving chicken adobo from Hot and Soul. After seeing other iconic spots like Sublime, Revenant Coffee, Tarpon Bend, Gaysha Sushi, and Market 17 closing, us foodies had to know what was happening.

What we originally considered to be a red flag, though, we realized was a welcome sign for local chefs and restaurateurs to add new creative concepts to the legacy of Fort Lauderdale’s culinary scene.

Fort Lauderdale's Culinary Scene

Don’t get us wrong, it is still a little sad knowing we will no longer be able to explore the wine room at Market 17—but what is really cool about this culinary shift is that long-standing concepts are actually being absorbed and incorporated into new and existing restaurants.

Market 17 had this really cool dining experience called “Dining in the Dark.” With their doors closed, we assumed “Dining in the Dark” was over. But…they kept it in local hands and passed the idea along to One Door East.

The same goes for Tarpon Bend which had a few of its core elements, menu items and staff absorbed into the new beer garden dining concept, Township.

So what about this restaurant renaissance?

Fort Lauderdale's Culinary Scene

Already, there are more than 35 restaurants and bars on Las Olas to choose from. That’s really impressive, especially because no themes or menus are repeated. You can literally have lunch and dinner 7 days a week and never eat the same meal twice.

Michael Mayo of southflorida.com reported that “three new restaurants — Sushi Shack, Talento and the Balcony — will operate side by side on the 1300 block of East Las Olas, next to the Fort Lauderdale location of Rocco’s Tacos and near many established eateries such as Louie Bossi’s Ristorante, Bao Bar + Asian Kitchen, and Caffe Europa.”

That’s 7 different style dining experiences all within a block from each other…and more are on the way.

Look beyond Las Olas, though.

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

Newly developed areas across Fort Lauderdale are providing more space for community amenities. This would not have been possible 5 years ago. It’s also great to see that those who have been developing our community for years are still shaping the landscape.

The Be Nice restaurant group, for instance, which has given us awesome spots like G&B Oyster Bar and Foxy Brown, are opening a second sandwich shop, “Lunchroom,” on 17th Street sometime this year. If you can’t wait, though, you still have the original location just past Oakland Blvd on Federal Hwy.. 😉

We also have El Vez, a new restaurant at W Fort Lauderdale that serves classic Mexican fare with an emphasis on Baja-style flavors to celebrate the fresh seafood of South Florida. And The Wilder, a hidden getaway with over 20 hand-crafted cocktails that serves up these unexpected Heart of Palm Tacos, which are a must try by the way.

After all this digging, we’ve realized that despite a few losses, a lot of really special culinary additions are being thought up.

Local chefs are taking risks to expand the scope and attitude of our culinary scene. There’s room to grow; room to experiment with new ideas and kitchen concepts. We’re seeing so much flexibility among restaurant goers (both new and native to the area) that suppliers are given an even greater ability to play.

One of the more unique concepts to open up recently basically extinguished all of our original concerns of seeing local restauranteurs throwing in the towel.

Fort Lauderdale's Culinary Scene

TRP Taste by The Restaurant People is a very intimate space with limited seating. They do not have a standard menu. Nor do they have a standard chef. The kitchen changes frequently, taken over by guest chefs curating their own unique pop-up dinners.

Hot and Soul chefs Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy were serving up culinary masterpieces there on July 28. If you were like us and were already missing the duo, then we hope you got to share in this new dining experience with them.

Oh, and if you’re still worried about the few culinary losses, don’t be. This is going to be an exciting new age of local dining. 

Township - a concept by The Restaurant People

Township fills a void in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s dining-and-drinking scene

[the new concept by The Restaurant People]

We have to tip our hat to these guys. It seems like every month The Restaurant People are inviting our community to enjoy innovative, delicious culinary experiences. These guys, Director of Operations Aaron Abramoff, CEO Tim Petrillo, Culinary Director Peter Boulukos, and Construction Development Director Alan Hooper — have been adding creative community amenities to Fort Lauderdale’s growing culture since 1997.

From upscale dining experiences like Boatyard and TRP Taste to the social bar scene of YOLO and Rooftop, The Restaurant People have consistently delivered.

With that said, it’s no surprise that Township has been added to our weekly dining routine. We say “weekly” and not “nightlife” or “social” because Township offers more than one, or two, or even three reasons to visit.

“For the Table, by the People.”

Honestly, truer words have never been spoken. Township answers multiple community needs in a really fun way.

So, what is Township, anyway?

In short, it is a beer-garden style restaurant and bar featuring a comprehensive beer selection of 55 craft beers (domestic and imported) on 72 taps, and innovative urban street-fare.

To really see how Township enhances the landscape, however, we had to look past the surface. So we strapped on our lederhosen and took to the bar.

Township - a new dining concept by the Restaurant People

We parked downtown and walked south down Andrews Avenue until we arrived at Township.

The patio was lively with a mix of families and Sunday bar-crawlers socializing over corn-hole, ping-pong, and giant Jenga.

We entered through the patio. There was a cozy lounge space with outdoor chairs and sofas, and a ten-seater bar that was perfect for small bites and drinks. What grabbed our attention, however, was just beyond that room — a huge round-about bar stacked with flat-screen televisions, surrounded by cushioned booths overlooking an open kitchen concept, and filled with locals eating, drinking, coming and going.

Everyone was having a great time so we made our entrance there.

**reenactment**

“Barkeep, two pints, please.”

“Why not make it a liter,” she replies.

“Excuse us?” we ask, slightly taken aback before confirming two liters of Tarpon River Deflated NE IPA.

**end reenactment**

Shocking right? Township is most known for serving up expertly crafted brews in their signature one-liter glass beer steins. One quick survey of the bar and we noticed nearly everyone was drinking a liter, so we joined in the festivities.

Township - a new concept by The Restaurant People

A good start for any dining experience. And for only $14… kind of a no-brainer. 

While enjoying our brews we explored the area a little more. Just beyond the big round-about bar is an open community space lined with long wooden tables and benches facing three projector screens on the south wall. There was private event space in the back and a few arcade games beside that.

Once we had downed our first liter of beer it was time to eat.

We ordered the TWP fries with cheese curds to start, a spicy chicken and slaw sandwich (a Tarpon Bend throwback) and a double cheeseburger because, why not?

The food was great. You can really gauge a restaurant on their french fry cooking talents, and, well, Township passed the test with ease. They serve their sandwiches with a side of fries in a tin container so they stay warm and crispy no matter how long it takes you to finish your liter of beer.

For a new restaurant, Township has perfectly functional systems in place, partly due to another Tarpon Bend incorporation: their staff. Just another way The Restaurant People put community first.

Township has a sister restaurant in Tallahassee that is wildly popular among Florida State students, alumni and faculty. Surely, that prompted the establishment of Township in downtown Fort Lauderdale as the third and final component of the dining-and-drinking block.

The cool part about all this, though, is that The Restaurant People managed to do this in a way that keeps the two establishments unique to their landscape and communities. Because of that, we can confidently say that the best part of the Township addition is, without a doubt, the preservation of longstanding community favorites in a fresh, new concept.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Township, put it at the top of your list… especially on those days when you just need a liter of ice-cold beer to unwind after a long day’s work.

Township - a new concept by The Restaurant People