East End Eats on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale: New Spot for Breakfast and Lunch
East End Eats' owner J.P. Ottino says that he knows Biden as
"a personal friend -- it's not political" and that Biden stopped by Ottino's home during a recent visit to the area. Ottino served him the bisque as a first course (and gave him a goody bag).
Made with seafood stock and cream, dressed with a dash of cayenne, sherry, and a pinch of chopped scallions, the bisque is a recipe of chef Megan Pelloquin, whom Ottino plucked from New Orleans.
Pelloquin has drawn up a menu featuring muffins ($3.50), breakfast sandwiches (under $5), omelets (under $8) soups ($4.50 to $8), salads ($5 to $20), wraps ($6.50 to $9), sandwiches ($7 to $9), and a handful of specialties such as shrimp and grits ($10), empanadas (two for $8), lobster mac and cheese ($15), and a quiche of the day ($7).
I loved the crusty half-loaf served with the bisque. Pelloquin and Flanagan bake it in-house, along with all breads and muffins sold at East End Eats. I wasn't as enamored of the empanadas. Though the crust was flaky and buttery, the Argentine ground sirloin is seasoned "with Island spices" that didn't offer enough kick or complexity. And, like the soup, these come out hotter than hell. Give yourself a minute before taking a bite.
Cakes, pies, and tarts are courtesy of Dominique Beckers, a former cake decorator for the Oprah-endorsed We Take the Cake -- whose special-order cakes and pies will be offered beginning today. (Try the Key lime tart.)
Having retired last year as a developer of Corporate Amenities LLC, Ottino was intrigued by the potential of the location when the family that owned Barbara Young Bake Shop shut its doors.
"We've needed a takeout place like this one in the Las Olas area for a long time," said the Fort Lauderdale native. "Something that offers healthy meals with an emphasis on fresh for people on vacation who may not want to cook or who may be coming from the beach."
Ottino's logo is of three clocks, pegged at 8 a.m., five till noon, and 4 p.m. -- to reinforce to-go meals of breakfast, lunch, and after-beach snacks. Check out the collection of 25 actual clocks in the bathroom.
Though the emphasis at East End Eats is on takeout, the café offers a handful of tables framed by old-timey Fort Lauderdale photos, an open kitchen, spiffed-up deli cases, and a checkerboard floor.
Ottino said he wanted to open now, in the offseason, "to work out the kinks, to refine what we'll do, and to get a feel for the clientele."
If they're anything like Ottino's house guest, East End Eats will do just fine.