Brothers Behind Boca Raton’s Ouzo Bay Set To Open Their Second Mizner Park Restaurant
The masterminds behind Boca Raton’s Ouzo Bay are bringing their second restaurant to Mizner Park. We spoke with Alex Smith, owner and founder of Atlas Restaurant Group, and his brother and business partner Eric Smith, to discuss the opening of Loch Bar, Mizner Park's revival and more.
Loch Bar, an oyster bar and whiskey tavern, will be opening in Mizner Park in the fall. It has a flagship location in Baltimore, just like Ouzo Bay. Highlights from our conversation with the Smith brothers are below.
How will Loch Bar compare to Ouzo Bay?
AS: Loch Bar is a concept which will be at a lower price point than Ouzo Bay. Ouzo Bay is upscale, Mediterranean dining. Loch Bar is an oyster bar, whiskey bar tavern. It’s going to have a younger clientele, as it does in Baltimore. And not only that—the entertainment component and the bar component of Loch Bar is what really drives the traffic. We have live music seven days. We’ll have the largest whiskey list in South Florida.
How do guests’ expectations differ between Baltimore and South Florida?
ES: Any markets you go into, the expectation is still the same. You have to deliver a great product, you have to be incredibly hospitable and you have to take care of your clients. Baltimore and Boca are one and the same—people have a certain expectation of what our group is. We’ve been synonymous, as much as we can, with excellence and hospitality and atmosphere, as well as quality of product. The people in Boca appreciate that, just like they do in Baltimore. And in Baltimore, [Loch Bar] is at the Four Seasons Hotel, so we do have a pretty demanding clientele. Very particular of what they like and what they want. It’s very similar to Boca. They’re just people that demand the best product and best quality, and we’re fortunate that that’s exactly what we do.
Why was Mizner Park chosen to be the home of Ouzo Bay and now Loch Bar?
AS: We like to look at places that are in the midst of revitalization. That area in Boca in particular, it’s going to be completely revitalized over the next couple years. Mizner’s undergoing a complete renaissance where it’s really getting all these new retailers. We think that Mizner Park has a lot of potential as far as the South Florida market to be a really great center, which was what it was about 10, 15 years ago. I think a lot of the retailers turned over and now it’s getting the right mix in there to bring the traffic back.
ES: We also grew up in the South Florida area. Our parents had a home down there. We were constantly down there, every single year, from January to March. And Alex and I, and our other brother Jason, used to frequent Mizner Park every single time we went down there, you know, at least three times a week.
Tell us about the beverages for Loch Bar’s drink menu.
ES: Loch Bar is going to be more focused on whiskey, but at the same time, oysters pair well with Champagne. So, we have an increased Champagne list. Also a very specific, but increased white wine list, again, for seafood pairings. We have a smaller red list. And we’re going to bring some Baltimore specialties down to South Florida. Something [South Florida] probably does already, but doesn’t have the same name that we do, are called “crushes.” We have an orange crush, a grapefruit crush, a lemon crush, all kinds of crushes. Basically, what it is is we take fresh fruit and we squeeze it into the drink and then mix it with a slightly flavored vodka, a little bit of simple syrup, and then top it with Sprite or Champagne, depending on if you want to add on a Champagne topper. We’ll have a couple frozen drinks. We have a family recipe of a frozen slushy called Aunt Mel’s Bourbon Slushy that’s going to be incredibly flavorful and it’ll be received very nicely in your market. They’re going to love it. As far as whiskey goes, the original list will have about 300, just like we did in [Baltimore]. Typically what we do is we build it, and I know at Loch Bar in Baltimore we’re now up to 450. Overtime you just get stuff that’s very rare, highly accoladed added to the list. Up here we have Yamazaki Cask, which there’s only one bottle that goes to the state of Maryland and we got that. We’re talking bottles that cost us about $3,000.
What are your favorite parts about Loch Bar?
AS: What’s great about Loch Bar is the quality of the product, because we’re getting unbelievable products. I mean, we’re getting oysters in from all over the country.
ES: Everything we have at Loch Bar, it’s just the quality of product. We hand cut our own fries. The fried chicken we make fresh with a pressure cooker in the back. The quality of what you’re getting is unique to a concept at that price point, let me put it that way. You combine that with the lighting, and the old-school feel, and the musical elements, and you really have an entertainment experience. It’s not just a restaurant experience anymore. It’s an entertainment experience.
AS: Ouzo Bay’s more of a modern interpretation of Mediterranean. Loch Bar, you’re going to walk in and feel like you’re in a restaurant 75 years ago somewhere down on the shore. It’s a great, great concept in a modern area, in a modern park because it really takes you back to the old-school. You get this old-school feel when you walk in there, like you’re in another place and time.
To find out more about Atlas Restaurant Group and its restaurants, visit atlasrestaurantgroup.com.
Loch Bar, 346 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; atlasrestaurantgroup.com/#lochbar
Photos courtesy of Atlas Restaurant Group
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