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Opening of a new restaurant, Pagoda, in Delray Beach

South County restaurateur Burt Rapoport goes all out to satisfy a craving. Then again, this is a recurring urge that many locals share, one for simple, unpretentious Chinese food, kind people in cities like San Francisco and New York might find in the neighborhood’s must-see spots.

Rapoport opens a Chinese restaurant in the suburb of Delray Beach.

“I’m a fan of Chinese food – well, me and everyone. And you know it’s hard to find a good Chinese restaurant in our area, ”says Rapoport, who hired a seasoned executive chef with extensive experience in Chinese and Japanese cuisines.

Chinese restaurant Pagoda Kitchen opens at Delray Marketplace

Rapoport hopes to open the new restaurant, Pagoda Kitchen, in October. It will take over the former Apeiro space of the Delray Marketplace.

Rapoport knows the place well – its restaurant group has the popular Burt and Max’s there. The space of the pagoda is also familiar. This is where Rapoport opened Apeiro Kitchen and Bar in early 2015. It sold it three years later and it closed last year.

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Rapoport says the time has come for this new restaurant.

“I’ve been considering doing this for some time. Business picked up and I said, ‘It might be a good time if I could find the right chef to do it with me,’ ”he says.

He thinks he’s found the right fit when he interviewed Chef Bryan Emperor, who most recently served as Executive Chef in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel’s Mizumi Japanese Restaurant, which was awarded four stars in the Forbes Travel Guide. . A native of New York, Emperor left a career in finance years ago to explore his passion for East Asian cuisine and culinary traditions.

“He is very familiar with Chinese and Japanese cuisine and culture,” says Rapoport. “I took him down by plane and we spent four days together. I felt he could fit into our culture.

The centerpiece of the future Pagoda Kitchen: a double vertical rotisserie.

Emperor’s resume, which reflected his travels in East Asia and his work in the kitchen, was impressive: early apprenticeships in Tokyo led the Culinary Institute of America graduate to a position as a line cook at Nobu in New York and later in the kitchens of starred chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Gray Kunz. A restaurant owner from Shanghai then recruited him to open a Japanese restaurant in Beijing.

While at the now-closed Kalu Asian Kitchen in Charlotte, North Carolina, Emperor was voted Best New Chef for Food & Wine in the Southeast in the magazine’s 2011 Audience Contest. Kalu was also selected as one of the best restaurants in the country by Esquire magazine.

Most recently, while Emperor ran the kitchen of Japanese restaurant O-Ku in Washington DC in 2018, the restaurant received a positive review from the Washington Post for robata-grilled meats and dishes that reflected the chef’s travels in Asia. from the east.

What to expect from the restaurant menu at Pagoda Kitchen

At Pagoda Kitchen, he will bring his range of experiences to a menu that includes classics like Peking duck, Chinese-style frozen ribs and Mongolian dumplings. For certain meat dishes, the Emperor will use the vertical rotisserie, the centerpiece of the restaurant.

Pagoda will add a new layer of Asian inspiration to a group of restaurants rooted in more traditional American concepts (Burt and Max’s and Deck 84 in Delray Beach and Max’s Grille in Boca Raton) and includes an Italian-American concept (Prezzo in Boca Raton). ).

The pagoda kitchen: Scheduled to open in October at the Delray Marketplace, 14917 Lyons Rd, # 100, Delray Beach, PagodaKitchen.com. The restaurant will only serve dinner at first, but there are plans to offer a daily lunch and weekend brunch service later.

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes

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