Another piece of business history disappears

About 10 years ago Louis Flematti gave me a tour of the French Quarter, his restaurant just north of Las Olas Boulevard, and talked about how he had sold his 10 lots on the restaurant’s block to a developer.

What eventually emerged was the 30-story Amaray Las Olas, which has a coffee bar, yoga studio, swimming pool, billiard lounge, dog spa and dog park for residents. From a bottom line viewpoint, it’s a better and higher use of the property. Still, it seemed like another bit of Fort Lauderdale’s business history was lost. When I moved to the city in 1984, the French Quarter was the downtown hot spot for not only power lunches, but enjoying music upstairs in the evening.

In 2006, there was the consolation of Flematti’s Café de Paris still being open on Las Olas, but now that’s closing on May 15. Maybe there is time for one more Steak Diane dinner. In an era of ever changing, what’s hot now restaurant concepts, the 50-year-old Café de Paris has been a rock in offering classic French cuisine.

While Flematti in 2006 told me about challenges from the cost of insurance and finding good help, this time around he told the Sun Sentinel that he sold the property to the Las Olas Co. during the recession with the agreement that he would run it a few more years. He nows plans to travel with his wife.

In a rapidly redeveloping downtown like Fort Lauderdale, I can’t think of another fine dining restaurant that has lasted this long. During a grand opening for Capitol Lighting’s store on Sunrise Boulevard Tuesday night, a long-time Realtor told me he thought the restaurant scene in the city had actually gone down hill from the 1970s and 1980s.

Fort Lauderdale is by no means the only South Florida city facing changes. The end of Tobacco Road was a major loss of the Miami’s history, although Norwegian Cruise Line deserves credit for keeping some of its history alive on the Norwegian Escape.

There may be limits, though, even if there’s a better higher use of property. I can’t imagine what the reaction would be if it was announced Joe’s Stone Crab was being torn down for another condo. The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale is on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you are feeling nostalgic, here are a couple of stories from the Sun Sentinel and Eater about historic restaurants in the region – many of them still open.



You May Also Like

Reaching Out

I know that Stephen Garber knows people. The president of Third Level is a seasoned expert on change management, relationship building and quality-of-life issues. He is an international executive coach, mediator, trainer and public speaker. Stephen coaches individuals, teams and organizations to replace conflict and dysfunction with effective communication and functional relationships, causing increased profitability

Stephen Garber

This is the time and this is the page when the new editor-in-chief typically would tell you to get ready for a new SFBW experience—but since you’ve seen the cover, you already know. Graced by Charmel Maynard, the fashionable financial star who’s the chief investment officer and treasurer at the University of Miami, our cover

Are Your Salespeople Taking Shortcuts?

Connor, a software sales rep, had been having a rough day. He’d been bombarded with questions from several customers and gotten behind on work he needed to finish before the end of the day. Then, he got a call from Tony, a prospect who introduced himself by saying: “I’ve heard great things about your engineering

COVID and the Commercial Sector

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text] For South Florida’s vigorous commercial real estate sector, there is a Grand Canyon-size fissure between market conditions on March 1 and every day since. Punching delineators such as “pre-COVID-19” or “post-COVID-19,” South Florida commercial real estate brokers, developers and owners have struggled to recalculate the new

Other Posts

Inside the Design of Shoma Bay

Adriana Hoyos offers insights into her work at the 24-story condominium project.

Botanical Paradise in Boca Raton Lists for Nearly $15 Million

The home features a serene garden with a 40-foot waterfall, two lakes and plants from around the globe.

American Cancer Society to Host Evening of Hope Fundraiser

The nonprofit’s distinguished events portfolio has raised over $6 million in the last six years.

Discover The Palm Beaches Announces 2023 Providencia Award Winners

The awards help honor the local tourism community.