On Atlantic Avenue, not 50 paces from the Gulf Stream Canal, nestled under two very tall palm trees and a smaller shade tree hugging the building’s interior Mediterranean-style walls, is Over The Bridge Cafe.
OTBC, on its surface, could easily fit comfortably along any coastal town’s genre. The name inspired by the drawbridge nestled close by, it’s the first restaurant from Daniel Newman, the executive chef who received his gourmet training and experience at Disney World’s prestigious Culinary School. Opened in 2017, Daniel spent the better part of 10 years in South Florida perfecting his craft before opening this quaint, open-air dining experience in Delray Beach.
OTBC’s creative Floridian flair bring to you dishes like Breakfast Tot-Chos, Sticky Buns, and Mushroom Breakfast Flatbread. The sandwiches and wraps lean on Daniel’s home NY state panache, serving dishes, such as NY Style Bacon, Egg and Cheese; Short Rib Grilled Cheese; and The Frenchman. Daniel’s titles are as creative as the flavor of his dishes, for instance, The Drunken Cheeseburger Omelet and Sam’s Palacsinta are just two of the items on the entree menu. OTBC’s meals are both delicious and affordable, with most plates in the $10 to $15 range.
But there’s more to OTBC than what’s on the menu. The restaurant is both family and dog-friendly. During both our visits, guests had their dogs quietly relaxing, undisturbed underneath the tables.
Our restaurant experience began last month, in January.
It was an early Sunday morning. Our bellies were growling. All of us were trying to unwind from a hectic work week and travel schedule leading up to vacation. We had covered close to 2,000 miles mostly by car and by air, prior to vacation, just returning from a long 36-hour ’round trip’ from Del Ray to Key West and back again two evenings before. You could say, we needed a vacation from our vacation (but that’s not entirely true)…
While feverishly searching for a place to eat we stumbled across OTBC in a local advertisement, “Why don’t we try, Over the Bridge Cafe?” “It’s just up the street and within walking distance.” We were all starving, everyone nodding and agreeing, “I’m game!”
Our arrival. We were second in line. The lone guest before us, waited only a couple minutes before being seated (despite being relatively packed at 11:10 am). We were a larger party of six, but our host, Rob (who we would later find was the owner’s father), greeted us with a warm hello and big smile, and found us a spot in the center of the outdoor setting. Soft jazz music was playing in the background, it was so smooth I thought it was pre-recorded music being piped in through the loud speaker. Our son Travis had to enlighten me, “Turn around, dad…the music is live!” By then, I was already enjoying the vibe so much to really care! Being a big fan of R&B and jazz though, I was equally impressed to learn it was Lawvawn Israel, singing and playing all the musical instruments by himself!
A relaxing atmosphere. Despite the stirring of activity, there was a gentle calmness here among staff and guests. While another melody played in the background, I keyed in on the restaurant’s service…it was well-choreographed. From the activity in the kitchen (off to my left). To the greeters. To the servers who were coming and going, refreshing drinks, taking orders and talking with guests, and always with huge smiles on their faces! It was no wonder why things were abuzz here! By 11:51 am, our six orders had already been taken, drinks refreshed (more than once), hors-d’oeuvre served and devoured and our meals soon would be on their way. I had just finished shooting a brief, half-selfie, half-over the shoulder video of the restaurant’s ‘vibe’ and uploaded it to Facebook! All things were in motion…
Our meal arrived hot off the grill, simple and savory. The six of us ordered an assortment: the Good Morning Wake-Up, the Morning Mac N’ Cheese, the Palacsinta, the French Toast Duo, the Short Ribs Grilled Cheese, and the Orange Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad. They were all very delicious and filling! I believe not one of us came up for air, even between bites it was so good!
For dessert, we had Pecan Pie Egg Rolls, which were a wild array of textures–a shattering, airy crunchiness with the flaky toasted crust at the edges. The inner-softer pecans were lathered with rolling bubbles of warm butter-filling with flavors that popped in our mouth. The rolls were lightweight, yet complimentary to the hot cup of espresso I had and both went down so smoothly. We sampled Chef Eddie’s famous Tiramisu, which was fluffy like a pillow–with perfect blends of liquor, espresso, texture and colors and went well with a splash of hot coffee.
Just before departing. I stepped into the kitchen. Paused for a moment. Observing. There was order. There was no confusion here. There was no Chef Ramsay-syle drama. Everyone had their place. Everyone was focused on tasks. This moment was all by coincidence. The restroom was just off to the left, but after observing, I took the opportunity to ask, “Could I get a picture of all you guys!?” “We really loved it here…and your staff was so kind, we’d love to take a couple pics!” Rob, now working here in the back, introduced me to Dan (the owner), I shook both Dan and Rob’s hands and introduced myself and told them, we had such a good time and enjoyed our experience. There was no hesitation. Within seconds Dan and Rob had the entire staff (waiters, waitresses, the owners, cooks…I think even the kitchen sink) stepping in for a couple pictures. I thanked them, shook their hands again and told them my wife and I are bloggers and we would really love to feature them in an upcoming story! Gwen, Dan’s mom was busily working quietly by and chimed in, “Wow! That would be great…we love bloggers!” Dan, Rob & now Gwen were all very appreciative of the fact, we were considering featuring them in our blog!
Our second visit was a carbon copy of the first. It was an evening in the middle of the week, much quieter though. We spent more time with the owner, Daniel. Off in the corner, were his wife and child. He was busy multi-tasking…hosting, waiting on tables, talking to guests, eating, and spending a little quality time with family…but he took several opportunities to meet and talk with us. He was friendly, warm and open. A very down-to-earth guy. Told us how he came to Florida. How his family followed. Why he opened Over The Bridge Cafe. His story is as unique as his restaurant. You can catch more about him here: Brunch | Delray Beach | Over The Bridge Cafe. We asked Dan if it was okay to get another picture of him and his staff. Of course, they obliged!