One of the fiercest challenges on “Top Chef,” the reality TV series that’s in its 19th season, is Restaurant Wars. That’s when two teams of chef contestants must create and run mock restaurants.
Within the past six months, northern Palm Beach County welcomed a kind of “Top Chef” Restaurant Wars of its own. Three “Top Chef” alums — one of them a new recipient of a coveted Michelin star for his Miami Beach restaurant — have opened restaurants in one of the county’s fastest growing areas.
Series stars Jeremy Ford, Lindsay Autry and Stephen Asprinio have brought their own flavor to an area that’s not just for locals anymore.
‘Top Chef’ contestant opens restaurant: How a former ‘Top Chef’ villain is changing the Palm Beach County dining scene
LGBTQ+-owned restaurants in Palm Beach County: Pride Month dining: Critic’s guide to well-loved LGBTQ+-owned restaurants
North county is coming together as a drive-worthy area, thanks to a range of restaurants like chef Pushkar Marathe’s buzzy, Indian-inspired Stage Kitchen and chef Tim Lipman’s beloved and recently expanded Coolinary, both in Palm Beach Gardens.
In April, the iconic New York chef/restaurateur David Burke announced plans to open a modern American brasserie on the Lake Park waterfront in summer 2024.
Here’s a quick look at the new eateries recently debuted by “Top Chef” series stars Ford, Autry and Asprinio.
The Butcher’s Club by Jeremy Ford
Winner of “Top Chef” Season 13, Ford opened The Butcher’s Club in January in Palm Beach Gardens. The high-end steakhouse is part of PGA National Resort and Spa’s $100 million overhaul.
A Jacksonville native, Ford is the chef, partner and creative mind behind the critically acclaimed South Beach restaurant Stubborn Seed, which earned a Michelin star just this week. Also in Miami Beach, Ford is about to open a seafood bar called Crew-do at the TimeOut Market food hall. His Palm Beach Gardens steakhouse marks his foray into Palm Beach County’s restaurant scene.
Ford, who earned a semifinals nod from the James Beard Foundation this year for a James Beard Award for “Best Chef” in the South, hosts the truTV series “Fast Foodies.”
About the restaurant: The place exudes mid-century luxe, an unabashed steakhouse serving ample “Royal Cuts” of Certified Angus Beef. (As in a 50-ounce Swinging Tomahawk, $300). There’s $95 caviar service, summer black truffles served as steak enhancements ($10-$20), and a “grand plateau” of raw bar items ($155).
The Butcher’s Club: at the PGA National Resort, 400 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-627-4852
Honeybelle by Lindsay Autry
A finalist on “Top Chef” Season 9, Autry opened Honeybelle, an all-day restaurant at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, during this year’s Honda Classic in February.
The executive chef/partner is beloved in Palm Beach County for her elevated Southern cooking (with global influences) at The Regional restaurant in West Palm Beach. But even before she opened The Regional in 2015, the North Carolina native was a local star, having led the kitchens at Sundy House in Delray Beach and Michelle Bernstein’s restaurant at the former Omphoy hotel in Palm Beach.
Finalist tackles ‘eclectic’ batch of food projects: Lindsay Autry and the adventurous new sous chef who calls her ‘Mama’
Autry, who earned three consecutive semifinalist slots in the running for a James Beard Award for “Best Chef” in the South, has been active in charitable causes, be it the “No Kid Hungry” campaign, writing a culinary curriculum for Feeding South Florida or taking part in a range of community efforts.
About the restaurant: Set in a vintage, beachy Palm Beach style, Honeybelle embraces its tropical surroundings, pastel-hued umbrellas and all. Its location at the resort offers the greenest of settings. As for the menu, Autry describes it as “fresh Mediterranean with a little of that Southern touch.”
Honeybelle: at the PGA National Resort, 400 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-627-7015
Summer deals: Best restaurant specials in Palm Beach County
Stephen Asprinio’s AquaGrille
“Top Chef” star Asprinio, who quickly emerged as Season 1’s favorite villain, opened the stylish AquaGrille restaurant in Juno Beach in March. The restaurant’s debut is no random occurrence for the Wellington-raised hospitality expert. In recent years, Asprinio has been a creative force behind two other north county hospitality projects.
In 2018, he worked with the team that opened 1000 North, the Jupiter Inlet-area restaurant co-owned by NBA icon Michael Jordan. Later, he was a creative force behind the nearby Charlie and Joe’s at Love Street dining complex, which opened early last year. The complex, which is co-owned by football legend Joe Namath, includes three restaurants and an onsite retail shop.
AquaGrille is not Asprinio’s first restaurant in the county. Two years after his “Top Chef” debut, he and his partners opened Forte di Asprinio in downtown West Palm Beach. The chic Italian restaurant, which closed the following year, earned raves from critics and customers alike.
Here’s how to stay up-to-date with your local dining scene: follow our food & dining writer, Liz Balmaseda on Twitter @LizBalmaseda, Instagram at @silkpalm or sign up for our free weekly foodie newsletter, At the Table.
About the restaurant: The modern-coastal AquaGrille is an upscale spot with a menu of refined classics and cocktails with a ‘90s-era spin. Asprinio is big on the dining experience factor, which he enhances with luxe touches like hot towels and tableside sauce service.
AquaGrille: 14121 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach; 561-355-0438
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: ‘Top Chef’ food stars’ new restaurants in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens