It has taken a while, but the 500 block of Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, has finally sprung to life. Now the only question is whether the roots that these local businesses have established, can take hold and grow. Hullabaloo, opened in January 2013, is the latest concept by restauranteur and visionary, Rodney Mayo, to take a chance on this often forgotten about section of town. Mayo’s other places include: Dada and Tryst in Delray Beach, Dubliner and Kapow Noodle Bar in Boca Raton and LongBoards in West Palm Beach.
Hullabaloo is an Italian inspired Gastropub with Chef Fitz Cassel at the helm. “We are doing fresh pasta’s and gnocchi’s, but we don’t claim to be a traditional Italian restaurant, more italian ideas. Italian ideas, using fresh italian ingredients as an influence and doing our own thing,” says Chef Fitz. The space is cozy and inviting with a rustic meets old school Little Italy feel. Music inspired posters adorn the white washed exposed brick walls, with marble tables and a leatherette banquette. A large communal table is the center piece of the dining area. A long bar leads to an open kitchen where at the heart is an impressive wood stove, used to prepare many of the items on the menu.
Chef Fritz’s inspiration comes from his roots. “Growing up in Oklahoma, my parents were really into food and cooking. We would watch Julia Child and The Frugal Gourmet. My dad was a pilot, traveling all around the world he would eat at some of the best restaurants and dine on all kinds of cuisine and bring ideas back. Food was a big focus growing up.” Chef Fritz’s menu is built around the concept of simple, fresh ingredients with flavors layered upon flavors. “Growing up, our garden would produce more than what we could give to the neighborhood. Zucchini, squash, corn, tomatoes, green beans, cantaloupe and everything you can think of. We would go pick stuff right out of the garden, bring it in and that’s what we would have for lunch or cook for dinner.” To say that cooking is in Chef Fritz’s blood would be an understatement. He credits most, if not all of who he is as a Chef and his inspiration to his mom. “Some of the stuff on the menu, we made growing up at home.” After a delicious meal, it was apparent, there is a lot of love that goes into in Chef’s food. Just talking with him, his passion for food, flavors and ingredients is infectious.
The menu, traditional American, has distinct Italian influences, such as Slow Roasted Pork with Broccoli Rabe or Braised Short Rib Ravioli with Arugula. But at the same time still serves up an American classic, a burger. Whether it’s pasta, stocks or cheeses, everything is made in house from scratch. Some of the menu items are staples, like the Sea Scallops with Roasted Corn Risotto or Chicken Meatballs with fresh made Ricotta, but Chef Fritz is constantly adding items based on seasonal freshness. He also looks to reinvent traditional Italian classics, such a Veal Saltimbocca. “Last week, we did an Ostrich Saltimbocca, with pounded out ostrich and we used speck ham and sage.” “Thats what’s great about being a cook, you are never done learning and there is an unlimited amount of things you can do. The possibilities are endless in a kitchen.”
If you gave up on the west end of Clematis, like I had, your missing out. There is some noise and excitement (Hullabaloo) going on, that shouldn’t be missed!
517 N. Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL
Phone: (561) 833-1033