Elliot Wolf, founder and CEO of Be Nice Restaurant Group.
Why he’s Food 50: From bisque to barbecue and brunch to blintzes, Elliot Wolf’s restaurants serve food for everyday people, with a big helping of hospitality.
Wolf, a graduate of Florida International University’s hospitality school who worked for Houston’s restaurants as well as Coconut Grove raw-bar institution Monty’s, did South Florida’s food scene a favor when he decided to open his own joints. It started with his makeover of dockside dining spot Coconuts in Fort Lauderdale in 2007 with business partner (and former Houston’s colleague) Merv Jonata.
The pair turned the restaurant from tourist trap to locals favorite, then continued with original projects like G&B Oyster Bar (connected to Coconuts), low-key gastropub The Foxy Brown, smokehouse and grill Red Cow, and the newest, Top Hat Delicatessen in Fort Lauderdale’s growing Flagler Arts and Technology Village. The deli’s name is an homage to Wolf’s grandfather, a German immigrant whose top hat is worn by the men in Wolf’s family on their wedding day. Stories like that are reminders that Wolf’s Be Nice restaurants are run by real people, not a corporation.
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Where to find him: Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar, 429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-2421; The Foxy Brown, 723 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 754-200-4236; Red Cow, 1025 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, 954-652-1524; Top Hat Delicatessen, 415 NE Third St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-900-3896.