Fork & Balls Looks to Be Another Victory for the Restaurant People
It's 7 o'clock on a Thursday night.
CandaceWest.com Co-founder Tim Petrillo and Executive Chef and co-founder Peter Boulukos.
Outside, the damp pavement is steaming from an afternoon interspersed with showers and intense summer sun. Puddles line the curbs.
When the door opens, the cacophonous roar of multitudinous conversations rolls into the street.
"It'll be about two hours," says the hostess to an older, well-dressed couple inquiring about a table.
They walk toward the bar, quickly disappearing into the crowd.
The vintage-looking bar at Fork & Balls is stacked four deep with a wide array of people: 20-somethings in skyscraper platforms and short dresses, 40-something professionals in office-casual apparel, middle-aged couples in shorts and polos, and one dude straight out of a surf shop ad.
The people-watching is prime: Standing near the subway-tiled-partition separating pub-height tables from the bar, a guy with a manscaped beard, black-rimmed glasses, and a thin gold chain attempts to chat up a lean woman, with a half-sleeve tattoo, nearly a foot taller than him.
The Restaurant People are known for crafting a scene.
Founded in 1996 by Tim Petrillo, Peter Boulukos, and Alan Hooper, the company has owned and operated some of the hottest restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. It started with downtown Fort Lauderdale's comfortable epicurean haven Himmarshee Bar & Grille in 1997. Three years later, it expanded to include upscale nightlife spot Side Bar.
Two years later, the group opened the doors to River House. Set in two historic homes that were combined to configure the restaurant and catering hall, the elegant riverfront structure sat on the former site of Fort Lauderdale's original post office.
A year later, the team launched Tarpon Bend, one of the longest-running bars on Himmarshee Street.