There aren’t many resorts that can successfully open a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic. But The Breakers Palm Beach did exactly that this past June 17 with Henry’s Palm Beach. Not surprisingly, given The Breakers’ culture, Henry’s has met with rave reviews.
“Incredibly successful,’’ said Nick Velardo, the resort’s vice president of food and beverage. “But we did a lot of things prior to opening that helped.’’
For example, Velardo said, the F&B team removed some tables from Henry’s 4,200 square feet of interior space to ensure social distancing. Also, from this past March, when Henry’s was originally scheduled to open, until the opening, each staff member was given a daily online test of five to six questions to keep them sharp on everything from Henry’s menu to safety protocols to cleaning procedures.
“They were just so ready… almost over trained,’’ Velardo said. “It was one of the easiest openings I’ve seen, in many ways, because the team was confidant and calm. It felt like we had been open for a long time.
“There is a lot of trust in The Breakers. I think some people who feel comfortable going out will come here anyway. But those people who might be reluctant, or selective, in where they go, have told us over and over that they come to The Breakers because they trust what we’re doing. We know that they are watching. And we love that because it allows us to shine.’’
Named in honor of resort Founder Henry Flagler, Henry’s Palm Beach, which has indoor/outdoor dining, is the 10th restaurant in The Breakers’ F&B portfolio. Located on Royal Poinciana Way – just blocks from The Breakers resort – Henry’s is designed to be the ultimate Palm Beach neighborhood tavern.
“The thought process was to have an approachable neighborhood restaurant where people could go multiple times of the week’’ Velardo said. “We went through a lot of different cuisine (ideas), but we wanted it to be a gathering spot – regardless of the concept.
“So, we went with the idea of a tavern – a great, warm comfortable place that has great food. That’s how Henry’s has evolved into what it is today. It’s definitely a Palm Beach restaurant. Adam Tihany (hospitality designer) did a great job in the design. It’s stunning and it’s simple.
The centerpiece of Henry’s is the walnut and metal bar, compete with plum and gold leather bar stools.
“We wanted to make a statement right away,’’ Velardo said.
Henry’s menu reflects the tavern, comfort food mission, with dishes that include a Pigs in Pretzel Dough appetizer to Chicken Pot Pie to Butter Crumb Dover Sole. The Vanilla Beach Crème Brulé with Marcona Almond Streusel and Fresh Berry Confiture is a “must have’’ dessert. And don’t miss the Saturday/Sunday brunch, headlined by the Fried Chicken and Red Velvet Waffles, along a terrific lineup of cocktails.
“Our original plan was to do lunch and dinner, but we went with brunch. We’ll open for lunch in the Fall,’’ Velardo said. “Brunch has been incredibly successful. We weren’t quite sure, but that’s been one of the highlights because nobody up this way is doing brunch right now.’’
And nobody does openings like The Breakers.
Photo Credits: The Breakers Palm Beach