Update on Clematis Streetscape, Hullabaloo, Hamburger Heaven, and the State of the City

Hello Friends, Happy Friday!

What a crazy week! On Wednesday morning our Mayor, Jeri Muoio, in her State of the City Address recapped what the City has accomplished over the past year and set the stage for what is coming down the pipeline in 2013.

The overwhelming theme of the presentation is that the City of West Palm Beach is open for business. While we still have businesses that fail (RIP Five Guys), the Clematis Street District has boomed with lots of new businesses opening up shop and a general optimism, which is seen not just in the businesses but also in the people who come here after hearing the “buzz” that our downtown area is creating in our neighboring cities.

West Palm Beach – Open for Business

I have a lot to say about this topic and I am putting together a blog entry specifically focused on businesses downtown. But one of the things that I want to add is that in any business there is only so much that a city or district, or local bloggers, can do to encourage growth. At some point it comes down to the businesses themselves and their ability and willingness to step out and market themselves. The days of having to spend thousands of dollars in advertising campaigns are over; if you’re willing to put a bit of time (not money) into your online presence and market yourself through social media, as well as provide an outstanding service, you could find that this is the difference between building an established business and fizzling out due to “lack of walk-by traffic”. More to come on this one.

There is still a ways to go and lots of stuff in the pipeline, but I think we’ve gotten off to a good start this year!

Before I move ahead, the paving of Clematis Street starts on Sunday – I believe the details were sent around in a letter to downtown businesses, but from what I gather the paving will start on Sunday and will go on 12 hours a day for 4 days. Hopefully this means that we’ve seen the last of a Guy “with-a-jackhammer” on Clematis.

Friday – Come to Hullabaloo for their Grand Opening!

Hullabaloo is Rodney Mayo’s new “Gastropub” which occupies the space that formerly was home to The Lounge. They’ve done a great job of converting the space into an edgy and modern dining location.

Mixology at Hullabaloo
Mixology at Hullabaloo

I crashed the pre-party last night (you people need to actually start inviting me to these things, seriously). The vibe was great, food was prepared in the open kitchen by a team of chefs feverishly working to prepare flat-bread and pizza in their cool gas fired-pizza oven. The final menu promises to have an Italian twist with traditional gastropub items. If you want something to drink you can grab an “Elvis”, “Tupac” or “Winehouse” from the specialty drinks menu with items named after famous musicians who have shuffled off this mortal coil.

Hamburger Heaven – Now open for Business!

Keeping with the theme of new businesses, the beloved Hamburger Heaven finally opened their doors at the farthest end of N. Clematis Street.

I’m really happy to see the east end of Clematis Street being developed by well established eateries. With direct access to our beautiful waterfront commons, high-end establishments such as PB Dramaworks Theater Bar Louie, Slones, Pizza Girls, Tin Fish, WOB, Pistache, Grimaldi’s and now Hamburger Heaven open, the 100 block is making a name for itself as a great waterfront destination.

Hamburger Heaven - Now open on the 100 Block
Hamburger Heaven – Now open on the 100 Block

While I never had the opportunity to visit Hamburger Heaven when it was on the island, my trusted sources inform me that the new location is much improved. The burgers were priced at the same level as Grease, and I enjoyed a fantastic coffee milkshake.

Historic Trolley Rides are BACK!

The DDA has brought back the popular Historic Trolley Tours for another season. They began on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 and will run weekly on Fridays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. through Apr. 20, 2013, with the exception of Mar. 22 and Mar. 23 during the Palm Beach International Boat Show. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for kids under 10.

Support Junior Achievement in the FTI Great Charity Challenge.

Junior Achievement is a great program that my kids have taken advantage of in their schools.The local organization is great at helping schools out, organizing programs like the JA Biztown which give kids the ability to run a city straight out of their schools.

FTI Consulting has offered a $50,000 challenge! Please support Junior Achievement by clicking here and voting (http://www.ftigreatcharitychallenge.com/home/vote) .

The South Florida Fair is ON!

While leaving Clematis St. is not recommended, I’ll recommend heading down to the South Florida Fair simply because you won’t find fried maggots on the menu of our Clematis-based eateries. Go ahead, knock yourself out. It’s going to be perfect weather!

Get your whirl on at the South Florida Fair
Get your whirl on at the South Florida Fair

That’s all from me! Hope to see you on and around Clematis this week!

Aaron “aGuyonClematis” Wormus!

P.S. Remember that cast that I wore for 6 months, well it’s gone now! YAY.