South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Travel & Life -

7 a.m.-5 a.m. Fri­day-Satur­day, 7 a.m.-2 a.m. Sun­day

If a 1950s diner, an artist­driven cof­fee­house and an Airstream travel trailer some­how had a love child, it would be How­ley’s restau­rant. Jalousie win­dows and putt-putt golf greet vis­i­tors walk­ing up to the front door. Orig­i­nal ter­razzo floors frame the open, stain­less-steel kitchen in­side.

Es­tab­lished in 1950 by Patrick J. How­ley, the restau­rant has had only three own­ers. Through the years, it has kept one soft foot in the era of Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, with a long Formica counter, layer cakes un­der glass and curved cor­ner win­dow seat­ing.

New art is ev­ery­where from lo­cal artists, some up­lift­ing, some dour, some just plain odd. Hula lamps and star-rocket chan­de­liers light the con­ver­sa­tions of young and old, lo­cal and tourist un­til 5 a.m. Fri­days and Satur­days, and 2 a.m. the rest of the week.

Acai bowls and fresh­squeezed cel­ery and pear juices ap­pear on the menu next to vin­tage cock­tails such as Har­vey Wall­banger, mai tai and boozy Pink Squir­rel milk­shake. Long gone is the greasy-spoon menu, re­placed by or­ganic in­gre­di­ents pre­pared in a scratch kitchen with­out mi­crowave ovens.

How­ley’s is known for its daily spe­cials mod­eled af­ter TV din­ners.

“We have a dif­fer­ent TV din­ner for ev­ery day of the week,” man­ager Kris­ten Mor­ris says. “It takes peo­ple back to ones their mom used to make with the lit­tle tin­foil tray. They ask if it comes in a com­part­ment tray, and it ac­tu­ally does.”

Ha­vana Restau­rant

6801 S. Dixie High­way, West Palm Beach;

561-547-9799, Ha­vana

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri­day-Satur­day; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun­day-Thurs­day

No mat­ter what time of day or night, lines of peo­ple form out­side this 24-hour Cuban restau­rant a lit­tle south of down­town West Palm Beach. While Ha­vana’s din­ing room keeps nor­mal hours, its walk-up win­dow is al­ways open and fea­tures a full menu. It’s an ex­pe­ri­ence you’d ex­pect to find 70 miles south on Calle Ocho in Mi­ami’s famed Lit­tle Ha­vana neigh­bor­hood.

The win­dow draws a steady tide of lo­cals, tourists and cu­ri­ous peo­ple who wan­der over from the drug­store across the street to check out the brightly lit, two-story build­ing that looks right out of a Hem­ing­way novel.

Some cus­tomers talk to one an­other. Most don’t. But they all lis­ten to the hiss of the espresso-maker as or­ders get as­sem­bled and put into boxes. A name is The front door at Dada in Del­ray Beach.

called, and white bags of Cuban cui­sine head off into the night. The tra­di­tional dishes are all here: vaca frita, ropa vieja, ar­roz con pollo, lamb shanks in red wine, plus sand­wiches and em­panadas.

“We’ve been com­ing here for about 12 years,” says Americo Cateni, of Con­necti­cut, who re­cently vis­ited the restau­rant with his son. “We stopped by on our way up from the movie theater in Boca Ra­ton. Now we’ll head up to the ho­tel and have some good grub.”

Noc­tur­nal Eats

De­liv­ers to Boyn­ton Beach and nearby cities.

561-414-8998, Noc­tur­nal, noc­tur­naleats

Hours: 10 p.m.-3 a.m Thurs­day-Satur­day, 10

p.m.-1 a.m. Sun­day

Not feel­ing well and un­able to leave her house to grab a bite, Dana Kip­pel took mat­ters into her own hands. She opened a “ghost kitchen,” a de­liv­ery-only busi­ness that sub­lets the kitchen of a brick-and­mor­tar restau­rant af­ter­hours.

Kip­pel, who by day works as a mar­ket­ing man­ager, said she got the idea while in Cal­i­for­nia. Af­ter find­ing a kitchen and will­ing part­ners, she launched Noc­tur­nal Eats through so­cial me­dia, ac­quired elec­tronic-pay­ment sys­tems and be­gan us­ing Grub­hub and Uber to de­liver her food. Most of her cus­tomers are peo­ple who do not like or have time to cook, col­lege kids, shift work­ers, first re­spon­ders and peo­ple who can’t drive be­cause they may be drunk.

The menu draws from Kip­pel’s roots grow­ing up in New Jer­sey and screams com­fort food. Pop­u­lar items are the Workin’ Man Bur­rito with steak, Tater Tots, cheese, corn and gravy; Buf­falo Dip­pers, chicken chunks with a side of home­made hot sauce; and the Sriracha and Ba­con Dog, a fried hot dog wrapped in ba­con with Sriracha sauce.

“I used to go to the movies

and get a big cone of curly fries when I was a kid,” Kip­pel says. “So I had to put that on the menu. Our Disco Dip­pers are kind of like pou­tine.”

Op­er­at­ing late at night when it’s dark and most peo­ple are asleep is right in Kip­pel’s wheel­house. “I’m kind of ob­sessed with Hal­loween and night­time and ev­ery­thing ghoul­ish and creepy,” says Kip­pel, who is al­ready pre­par­ing a spe­cial Hal­loween menu with feed­back from her cus­tomers. “I like to take sur­veys on Face­book and see what they say and then kind of mix it with what I want. I’m think­ing of maybe a pump­kin pie or a devil’s food cake.”

Busi­ness has been brisk in the two months Noc­tur­nal Eats has been de­liv­er­ing to Boyn­ton Beach and nearby cities.

“Peo­ple tell me that I should be proud that we’re get­ting 25 to 30 or­ders a night,” Kip­pel says. “I’m very hard on my­self, and I think we should be around 50. I’m sat­is­fied, but I’d like to do bet­ter. I def­i­nitely think we need to stick with this lo­ca­tion and per­fect ev­ery­thing first and not make the mis­take of go­ing too big too quickly.”

El Camino

15 NE Sec­ond Ave., Del­ray Beach;

561-865-5350, ElCamino Del­

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily, late-night menu avail­able mid­night-2 a.m.

The art­work of cel­e­brated South Florida artist Ruben Ubiera is un­mis­tak­able on the out­side of the El Camino restau­rant in down­town Del­ray Beach. The nos­tal­gic ur­ban mu­rals of Mex­i­can cul­ture soar and glow in golden-rus­set tones around a de­pic­tion of the car-truck hy­brid that shares the restau­rant’s name.

El Camino of­fers a latenight menu that is far from the pared-down ones nor­mally of­fered to peo­ple who get hun­gry af­ter mid­night. The restau­rant’s com­bi­na­tion of a scratch Ve­gan bar­be­cue slid­ers are on the late-night menu at Death or Glory in down­town Del­ray Beach.

kitchen and bar, vin­tage ware­house-cantina decor,

$2 street tacos, $4 drafts and $3 bot­tles has kept their late nights hop­ping, es­pe­cially on week­ends, when wait times can ex­ceed 45 min­utes. Late night at El Camino mostly at­tracts a young crowd and peo­ple who fil­ter in from nearby At­lantic Av­enue.

The menu of­fers four tacos, in­clud­ing bar­ba­coa with brisket, queso fresco, onions and salsa bor­racha; car­ni­tas with queso fun­dido, ser­rano salsa and white onion; gringo with ground beef, Colby Jack, sour cream, shaved let­tuce and pico de gallo; and veg­gie with sweet potato, car­rots, mush­rooms, pick­led onions and epa­zote pesto.

Mar­gar­i­tas cost $5 and in­clude the Clas­sic, Hibis­cus, Kiwi-Mint, Cac­tus and Tequila Sun­rise. Spir­its cost

$5, and wine costs $3. One of the best val­ues on the menu is the chips and salsa for $2. It comes in a gi­ant metal pan with charred tomatillo (smoky) salsa and morita salsa.


52 N. Swin­ton Ave., Del­ray Beach;

561-330-3232, Sub -Cul­

Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. nightly

It seems as if Dada has been on the cor­ner of Swin­ton Av­enue and North­west First Street since long be­fore 2000, when the restau­rant opened.

That’s be­cause it has been. Dada re­sides in­side the his­toric Tar­ri­more

house that was built circa 1924. The orig­i­nal house is ba­si­cally in­tact, with a sec­ond story added in 1939. As with most homes, the liv­ing room is a hub of ac­tiv­ity. On any given night, as­pir­ing po­ets, mu­si­cians and artists pre­form in front of a brick fire­place as guests watch from the bar and ta­bles in nearby, semipri­vate rooms. Vin­tage wavy glass win­dows next to the man­tle shim­mer and light the bar. In the back­room din­ing area, clas­sic cult films are pro­jected on a wall, cre­at­ing an art­house ex­pe­ri­ence. “Dr. Strangelove” with tab­bouleh? No prob­lem. Front yard din­ing is avail­able un­der a banyan tree or on the porch, weather per­mit­ting.

Dada of­fers a full menu un­til 2 a.m. and a wide va­ri­ety of fla­vored mo­ji­tos. Late-night ap­pe­tiz­ers in­clude Dada Dates (ba­con­wrapped med­jool dates, goat cheese and tomato con­fit); tuna tartare (sushi­grade tuna, soy-sake vi­nai­grette and wasabi aioli); and the Mediter­ranean Plate (beet hum­mus, baba ghanoush, grape leaves, cu­cum­ber salad and tab­bouleh).

Death or Glory

116 NE Sixth Ave., Del­ray Beach; 561-808-8814, DeathOrGlo­

Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. nightly

Death or Glory re­sides in the his­toric Fal­con House built in 1925. The eatery prides it­self on be­ing a home for lo­cals and peo­ple pass­ing through who wish they were.

A hand­writ­ten note on the front door di­rects “friends” to a side en­trance and asks them to “stay awhile.” So­fas and vel­vety lounge chairs lure guests from the bar to just re­lax and sip their drinks. The vibe be­tween 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. is like a speakeasy where only cool, mel­low kids re­main. From the street, it is easy to think Death or Glory is closed if no one has parked out front — lo­cal cam­ou­flage.

Death or Glory’s latenight happy-hour menu is avail­able from 11 p.m. un­til 2 a.m., and in­cludes ve­gan bar­be­cue slid­ers ($7), ve­gan chick­pea curry ($10), veg­gie egg rolls ($5) and veg­gie burg­ers ($15) along­side their meat coun­ter­parts. The bar of­fers latenight drinkers clas­sics such as the Saz­erac, the Dark and Stormy, gim­lets and an old-fash­ioned. Each drink costs $6.

Flash­back Diner

1450 N. Fed­eral High­way, Boca Ra­ton;

561-750-2120, Flash­back

Hours: Open 24 hours seven days a week.

Af­ter fly­ing for 7 1⁄2 hours, Bob and Gina Sablo landed at Fort Laud­erdaleHol­ly­wood In­ter­na­tional Air­port and drove straight to the Flash­back Diner.

“I said be­fore, ‘We go home, we’ve got to get a good meal,’ ” says Gina Sablo, of Del­ray Beach. “It’s good here no mat­ter what time of day you come. We come for break­fast af­ter church. It’s good for groups, and the cus­tomer ser­vice is very good.”

Lo­cated in east Boca Ra­ton and only a few min­utes from I-95 and Florida At­lantic Uni­ver­sity, the diner at­tracts a wide va­ri­ety of peo­ple look­ing for late-night eats. Stu­dents cram­ming for ex­ams, peo­ple driv­ing home late from air­ports, co­me­di­ans done with their gigs, staffers from other restau­rants, first re­spon­ders and shift work­ers at nearby hos­pi­tals ebb and flow through the shiny and bright din­ing room well af­ter mid­night.

This isn’t a greasy spoon by the tracks in a sooty steel town. It’s in Boca Ra­ton, af­ter all, and that means the nicer the bet­ter. Like a her­mit crab that up­graded to a beau­ti­ful new shell, the Flash­back Diner has reaped the re­wards of the build­ing’s pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion as a lux­ury Ital­ian restau­rant. Thick Car­rara mar­ble ta­bles fill the din­ing room. Formica and plas­tic are nowhere to be found. There is a wa­ter­fall wall on the way to the kitchen and a grand piano in the foyer. What diner has a foyer?

Known for fried chicken, ham­burg­ers, full bar, omelets, gi­ant slices of cake and a menu that doesn’t seem to end, the Flash­back Diner does ex­actly what din­ers are sup­posed to — pro­vide good com­fort food no mat­ter what time it is.


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