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How do you become Broward County’s oldest steakhouse? If you ask Tropical Acres Steakhouse, it’s all about having family values.

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THE PLACE TO BE: Founded in 1949, Tropical Acres is Broward County’s oldest steakhouse. Here is a photograph of the staff and guests in 1954 in the restaurant’s lounge.

By Larry Schwingel

To understand the essence of Tropical Acres Steakhouse is to understand the value of family. After all, it hasn’t earned the nickname of oldest steakhouse in Broward County on its sirloins alone.

The exterior is fairly nondescript, with a scattering of palm trees dotting the landscape. Inside, a new world awaits. Its 1950s décor reminds many of a slower, more enjoyable time. In the dining room, rows of brightly colored booths are separated by etched-glass partitions and historical photos of the area, such as East Las Olas Boulevard in the 1940s; Fort Lauderdale Beach in the 1960s; the original Broward County Courthouse; Hollywood Boulevard, circa 1930; and the construction of Bahia Mar in 1949. It’s Old Florida at its best.

With the retro ambience comes a level of comfort and relaxation akin to sitting around the family table. It’s fitting that four generations of the same family have maintained that tradition. “I’ve been in the business for 44 years, and I have people with me who have been here for 20 and 30 years,” says Jack Studiale, the current co-owner and manager. “That kind of recognition means a lot to customers.”

Gene Harvey, a cousin of Studiale’s mother, established Tropical Acres in 1949. He also created a fundamental philosophy that has guided each generation for 68 years: Give customers the most for their money. Back then, the restaurant’s dining area sat 75; today it seats 250. Filet mignon was $1.85; today it is $27.95.

Tropical Acres became a true family affair in 1964, when Studiale’s parents, Sam and Celia, packed up their car and made the road trip to Florida with eight children. Since then, sons, daughters and extended family members have all worked at the restaurant in some capacity.

As Studiale decreases his workload, the baton is being passed to another generation. His son, Joe, and his nephew, Mike Greenlaw—the son of Studiale’s sister and co-owner, Carolyn Greenlaw—have assumed additional managerial responsibilities. Despite the longevity, the family’s determination has been tested over the years through the challenges of uncertain economic times, large food chains entering a competitive market and two restaurant fires.

“We remained strong,” Studiale says. “We have stood the test of time.”

When a fire shut down the restaurant for six months in 2011, the staff grew even tighter. “They were so affected by the tragedy that they all wanted to help,” Studiale says. “We had half of the 65 employees working during the down time, and fortunately we were able to pay them; I feel they would have worked without pay.”

Tropical Acres has become a landmark—one that is all in the family.

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

Now in its 22nd year, Bal Harbour's Carpaccio continues to prove it's worth the wait.

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DINING DESTINATION: Carpaccio at Bal Harbour Shops has been a favored dining hot spot for jetsetters and celebrities, including LeBron James, Leonardo DiCaprio and Pharrell Williams.

By Jessica Mehalic Lucas
Photography by Gary James

On any given day at Bal Harbour Shops, you’ll find a crowd dressed to kill and willing to wait for a table, preferably on the terrace, at Carpaccio. The food—and the people-watching—is that good.

Since 1995, the legendary Italian restaurant has been the heart of the luxury mall and the place to be seen. It’s frequented by athletes, politicians, socialites and celebrities; Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Pharrell Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lionel Messi and Julio Iglesias are just a few of the stars who have made Carpaccio their go-to for thin-crust margherita pizza, linguini with fresh Maine lobster, lightly breaded veal lombata and filet mignon carpaccio.

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ITALIAN INSPIRATIONS: Owners Piero Filpi, Manuel Paucar and Tom Billante bring their extensive restaurant experience and knowledge of fine Italian cuisine to Carpaccio.

But really, it’s the atmosphere that draws the crowds. Think of a meal at Carpaccio like attending a modern-day Italian opera. The dramatics of presentation, frenzy of servers and guests and, of course, an audience of restaurant-goers craning their necks to take in the grand stage: the valet line. There, at the palm tree-lined entrance of Bal Harbour Shops, it’s a parade of exotic and vintage cars unlike any other. And there’s no better perch to capture the scene than at one of Carpaccio’s coveted patio tables.

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CAR & DRIVER: Lines form early for a table at Carpaccio, especially at the valet line, which sees its share of exotic and vintage cars.

“We didn’t realize it was going to be such a huge hit,” says Piero Filpi, who co-founded Carpaccio with veteran chef Manuel Paucar and Tom Billante, a silent third partner in the business. “We knew it was going to be a good restaurant because we know what to do.”

I love what I’m doing. I meet a lot of people
and make them happy.”—Manuel Paucar

Indeed, they have an impressive history. In 1988, the three opened Mezzanotte, another blockbuster Italian restaurant that started in South Beach and expanded to five locations (including one in Mexico City) over its 16-year existence. Filpi met the late Stanley Whitman, the visionary who built Bal Harbour Shops, in 1980 when he was a maitre d’ at former eatery Tiberio in the mall. When Whitman later called to offer Carpaccio’s now-renowned corner, the trio said yes without hesitation.

“It was an instant success because our consistency carried over from Mezzanotte,” Filpi says. “And what we do is unique because Manuel and I are both hands-on. Every single day, lunch and dinner, you’ll find at least one of us here.” Their presence is also reflected in the décor, which includes LED-lit murals of scenes from Venice hovering over cream-colored walls detailed with intricate gold leaf—all inspired by the owners’ travels through northern Italy.

Born in Palermo, Italy, Filpi moved to Brooklyn at age 12 and worked in insurance before becoming a restaurateur. Paucar left Quito, Ecuador, at a young age to move to New York and was head chef at popular Italian venues such as Trastevere, Parioli Romanissimo and Felidia. The two met in 1986 and instantly hit it off. While Paucar’s forte is in the kitchen and Filpi’s expertise is in the dining room, they both assist with all aspects of the business, from training staff to finalizing daily specials.

“Manuel and I are both hands-on. Every
single day, lunch and dinner, you’ll find at least one of us here.”
—Piero Filpi

 

They have an incredible attention to detail—evident in the freshness of ingredients and the precision of a cappuccino—but also a customer-first mentality that pervades everything they do. For instance, the restaurant’s extensive wine list includes selections not only from Italy but also from France, Australia and California.

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“Since Miami is an international hub, we’ve put together the wine list so people from all over the world can enjoy wines from all over the world,” Filpi says. “And we offer choices. We don’t start our wine list at $100 a bottle. That’s an offensive thing to do. We have wines that cost $30 and $40. We take care of our customers according to their needs.”

It’s no surprise then that Carpaccio serves about 1,500 to 3,000 guests a day, and many of those guests are repeat visitors. Think of Carpaccio as a very chic “Cheers”—where everybody knows your name. It’s a destination for consistent, palate-pleasing meals that offer plenty for all of the senses. So, what’s the best way to secure a table? To score a spot with minimal wait time, Filpi suggests arriving shortly after the restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. And always save room for dessert.

“The way Manuel makes the tiramisu, even in Italy it’s not as good,” Filpi says.

As always, the owners are content as long as customers are satiated and smiling. “I love what I’m doing,” Paucar says. “I meet a lot of people and make them happy. A lot of good people.”

 

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

The maturation of Hollywood Beach has arrived.

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ON THE HORIZON: A view of the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk from the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort showcases the unique seaside area in all of its glory.

By Nila Do Simon
Photography by Scott McIntyre

There’s something in the water in Hollywood Beach. And it’s percolating.

The narrow barrier island sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway is undergoing a metamorphosis that’s hard to ignore. Since the economy bounced back from the 2008 recession, Hollywood Beach has made one of Broward County’s more dramatic changes.

Unmoved by the glitz of Miami or the climbing prices of Fort Lauderdale, developers and hoteliers—including musician Jimmy Buffett with his Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort—have turned to Hollywood for their next adventure. Projects include a partnership between Jorge Perez of The Related Group and Sam Nazarian of sbe for the $240 million Hyde Resort and Residences and the Hyde Beach House Hollywood; The Diplomat Beach Resort, which recently underwent a $100 million makeover; and the soon-to-open $180 million condo-hotel Meliá Costa Hollywood Beach Resort.

As a beach that had its birth in the 1920s when City of Hollywood founder Joseph Young had a vision of turning sprawling farmland into a ritzy seaside escape, it stepped into the sunshine in the 1960s when Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack made frequent stops here.

To the uninitiated, Hollywood Beach has more recently been a land of no-frills seaside motels resplendent with blaring wall-unit air conditioning, shirtless French-Canadian snowbirds sunning themselves, mom-and-pop-owned eateries, teenagers wildly steering canopied surreys along the Broadwalk and pedestrians dodging those surreys. I would know: I’ve lived here for five years.

I fell in love with the area for the same reasons everyone else does: It’s off the beaten path, completely quirky and an absolute jewel in the Sunshine State. I love telling people about the restaurant-lined, pedestrian-centric 2.5-mile-long Broadwalk, and I don’t hesitate to correct them when they mispronounce it “boardwalk.” I can’t get enough of the live music performances at the Hollywood Beach Theatre, or bandshell, where spotting men and women with questionable dance moves is part of the experience.

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CHARACTER TRAITS: Hollywood Beach’s eclectic ambiance begets its fair share of bohemian atmospheres, including at Le Tub Saloon.

Born This Way
As of late, the beach area is undergoing a maturation process that is bringing a new, more sophisticated clientele to the nearly 5-mile-long strip of land that locals sometimes refer to as “Hollyweird.” Call it a transition into adulthood.

“I came to the beach when I was in college in the early ’80s, and at that time the Broadwalk was basically an asphalt path and the beach was pretty rundown,” says Jorge Camejo, the executive director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, which is charged with stimulating public and private investment and upgrading the streets and landscape. “I was overwhelmed when I came back in 2011. Seeing the Broadwalk with the brick pavers, against the shoreline of the Atlantic, is so impressive. I thought there was no reason to not have this place take off.”

And it has. If you ask residents about the heart and soul of Hollywood Beach, they would say it’s the Broadwalk, a path running alongside the beach that’s flooded with pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and snowbirds on any given weekend. In 2009, the CRA invested about $14 million into upgrading it and the beach, replacing the asphalt with bright pavers, adding a concrete bike path, erecting a low coquina stone wall to separate the Broadwalk from the sand, and adding small parks with public art and water features. The new features were so enticing that in 2013, the Broadwalk was designated one of 10 Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association, alongside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and Los Angeles’ Grand Park.

Since then, the beach area has continued to be lifted by a rising tide of development. Beloved independent eateries such as GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill and Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant have also undergone much-needed face-lifts in recent years, thanks to grants by the CRA. In 2015, the 349-room Margaritaville opened, ushering in a global crowd already familiar with Buffett’s lifestyle brand.

“Redoing the Broadwalk was the catalyst for me to develop here,” says New Jersey native Lon Tabatchnick, the developer behind the $175 million resort and the luxury oceanfront condos The Villas of Positano. “I thought if the city was willing to invest in infrastructure and beautifying the beach, then it’s the right place to develop.”

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NEW AGAIN: The Diplomat Beach Resort’s recent $100 million renovation brings 10 modern culinary concepts to the property, including an indoor-outdoor poolside bar.

Tabatchnick says the idea of connecting with the Margaritaville team came from a walk on Hollywood Beach, where he could see the bright signs of the Miami Dolphins stadium when it was called Land Shark Stadium, named for Buffett’s brand. “I thought, ‘If Jimmy wants to be here in South Florida, what better place for his brand to be than in Hollywood?’” Tabatchnick says.

He approached Buffett and his team about bringing Margaritaville to Hollywood and building on the city-owned land that formerly housed a parking garage. The rest is history. Embracing a “no-worries” tropical vibe reminiscent of Buffett’s famous song, the 17-story resort showcases entertainment galore, including eight restaurants and bars, a surf simulator called the Beachfront FlowRider Double and live entertainment at the bandshell five nights a week.

“What we have brought to Hollywood Beach is a lifestyle, an experiential piece,” says Cate Farmer, the resort’s general manager. “It brings fun and energy, but in a way that’s well-suited to Hollywood. From hearing bands play at the bandshell to watching guests ride the FlowRider from the Broadwalk, I feel like we’re adding entertainment, diversity and uniqueness to the area.”

In other words, Margaritaville hasn’t usurped the quirky Hollywood vibe; it’s complemented and enhanced it. It’s that character that lured Tabatchnick to live in Hollywood permanently.

“Hollywood Beach is not South Beach,” Tabatchnick says. “We’re not a velvet-rope crowd; we’re much more family-oriented. It’s a community that fits in with the Margaritaville brand. A lot of the people here are more bohemian. We’re flip-flops-and-T-shirts kind of people.”

A Star is Reborn
Ed Walls remembers visiting Hollywood Beach in the 1980s, when he was managing a Fort Lauderdale hotel.

“I’ve always kind of liked it here,” says Walls, now the general manager of The Diplomat Beach Resort. “Hollywood Beach was a little kitschy Florida, and it still is.”

And though the area might still illicit heavy kitschy undertones, the newly renovated Diplomat is anything but. Before we can truly appreciate what The Diplomat is today, however, we need to understand its past. Built in 1958 as a playground for the wealthy, the hotel’s location made it a natural pit stop for those traversing from New York City to Miami. It was frequented by stars such as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Financial troubles and arson in the 1980s beset the grand dame, leading to entire floors being closed, and eventually the hotel shut its doors in 1991.

The property had its second coming in 1997 when a North American labor union purchased it. A year later, 500 pounds of dynamite was used to implode the original structure, bringing a new era to The Diplomat. Modern additions arrived, including an adjacent 209,000-square-foot convention center and a 30,000-square-foot spa. Because of its meeting space, it became largely a property for out-of-towners, save for a few special occasion dinners that locals would reserve at its steakhouse.

All that started to change with the hotel’s third coming. Now operating under the Hilton Worldwide brand and fresh off a major face-lift, The Diplomat is looking to bring locals back to the beach. Part of its overhaul includes adding 10 new restaurants and bars. Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian of “Chopped” and “Iron Chef” fame is overseeing a restaurant and a café, and internationally recognized chef Michael Schulson is bringing his Japanese-inspired cuisine to the hotel. Schulson says it didn’t take much to convince him to open his first Florida restaurant, Monkitail, inside The Diplomat.

“We didn’t know anything about Hollywood Beach before a few years ago,” says Schulson, whose forward-thinking interactive dining concepts (think world-class cuisine in the dining area, and a bowling alley and cocktail bar in the adjacent room) have been all the rage in Philadelphia. “But we had heard of The Diplomat. If you ask anyone about The Diplomat, everybody knows it. So it was a no-brainer in that aspect to join the brand with Monkitail.”

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MONKEY BUSINESS: Philadelphia-based chef Michael Schulson opened Monkitail inside The Diplomat in April. Beyond Monkitail’s main dining room is Nokku, a discreet cocktail lounge with four private rooms, each having full karaoke capabilities.

While The Diplomat is focused on present and future travelers, the hotel hasn’t forgotten about its past. Black-and-white archival photos of Hollywood Beach in the 1960s hang in its lobby, steakhouse and guest rooms. This is a feature Walls is especially proud of, as his interest in Hollywood Beach goes beyond his property. As president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Walls is heading the organization in one of its most exciting times. “I think Hollywood is kind of on fire right now,” he says.

As Hollywood Beach residents know, there’s something special about living here. There’s no other beach in South Florida quite like it, where the beach and its visitors harmoniously blend with mom-and-pop shops and hotel giants. It’s that balance of posh with kitsch that makes Hollywood Beach as distinct as the sunburn on a snowbird’s back.

“I don’t believe the future of Hollywood Beach calls for a whole bunch of Margaritaville properties,” Camejo says. “The balance is how to retain the unique character of Hollywood Beach with the motels while maintaining the catalytic character of The Diplomat and Margaritaville. We are adamant about one thing: If we don’t keep the character of the area, then we have failed.”

Now in the middle of its maturation phase, perhaps Hollywood Beach is no longer that teenager who refuses to grow up. Instead, it’s just ready for the next phase of life.

 

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WATER WORLD: Swimmers wade in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean near The Diplomat Beach Resort.

 

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

The newly retired Shawn Thornton looks back at his hockey career and reputation as a tough-as-nails player.

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By Jameson Olive
Photography by Eduardo Schneider

When his career as a professional hockey player came to an end in early April, Florida Panthers forward Shawn Thornton tossed his skates unceremoniously into a small trash can near his locker at the BB&T Center before heading home to crack open a celebratory bottle of scotch with a few of his closest friends and family members.

“I was surprisingly OK with having that glass of whisky,” says Thornton, who had been saving the rare bottle of Balvenie 30 to mark his retirement ever since he received it as a gift from his teammates last season. “I guess it was symbolic of my career being over, and I had been waiting for it. I’m a lot better mentally with it than I thought I would be. As much as I’m going to miss the competition, I’m relieved that I’m never going to get punched in the face again.”

At 39 years old, Thornton somehow manages to look no worse for wear despite spending more than two decades doing one of hockey’s most vicious and unforgiving jobs: that of an enforcer. From fighting for a spot on his first junior team all the way up until the last of his 705 career games in the National Hockey League, his dues were typically paid in blood—sometimes his own, but more often that of his opponents.

“In a fight, defense is more important than offense,” says Thornton, who has never had the traditional bruised-and-battered look of a career fighter, save for a few minor scars here and there. “You’ll get your spots in a fight, but you’re better off not giving your opponent any spots.

“Hockey itself is chaotic, but when the gloves come off everything just starts to slow down. I think I was able to do it for so long because I was a little bit scientific about it. It’s the only thing in my life I’ve been really good at. I wasn’t swinging wildly, and I didn’t get hit in the face a ton. It might look like two guys just punching away, but there’s definitely an art to it.”

A third-generation steel mill worker from Oshawa, Ontario, Thornton admittedly couldn’t have been further from his dream of playing in the NHL while working at Gerdau Ameristeel during his late teens. “I was flipping bars, cutting scrap, sweeping the place clean,” he says. But at age 17, after being passed over in the Ontario Hockey League draft for the two previous seasons, he was given the opportunity to earn a spot on the Peterborough Petes for the team’s 1995-1996 campaign.

Standing in his way? John “Boom Boom” Shamoon.

“I’ll never forget that name,” Thornton says, letting out a chuckle. “He was their incumbent tough guy, so I squared off with him during my first scrimmage. It was actually a pretty even fight. I might have been a little bit better of a hockey player at the time, so I got the job instead of him. Ever since then, it’s always been that role for me.”

While in Peterborough, Thornton skated on the fourth line as a rookie and then split his time between playing forward and defense in his second year. He never scored more than 30 points in season, but with a little help from local boxing and conditioning coach Lionel Ingleton, he was able to make a name for himself as one of junior hockey’s premier brawlers, averaging, by his own count, between 20 and 30 fights per season.

“He really worked with me about the mental aspect of fighting, getting my gloves off and realizing it was going to be me or the person I’m squaring off with,” Thornton says of Ingleton, who he trained with two to three times a week after being drafted by Peterborough. “He turned me into a guy who could compartmentalize the fighting aspect of the game.”

 

“I was able to win two Stanley Cups, compete in the Winter Classic and start my own foundation. I was also able to give a lot of money back to charities. In essence, all of that came from my fist.” —Shawn Thornton

After two seasons with the Petes, Thornton had earned the respect of his teammates and opponents as a skilled and intimidating fighter but was always wary of being written off as a run-of-the-mill goon. He was selected by Toronto in the seventh round (190th overall) of the 1997 NHL draft, but he never suited up for a single game with the Maple Leafs. Eventually, he was traded to Chicago and appeared in only 31 NHL games over three seasons with the Blackhawks.

At 28, Thornton, having spent the better part of nine seasons in the American Hockey League, found himself at a crossroads. He had several brief stays in the NHL but was beginning to grow more and more discouraged. He made a pact with his wife, Erin, that he would give his dream one last shot before deciding to hang up his skates for good.

“We decided I was going to try one more team, one more organization and see how everything worked,” says Thornton, who opted to sign a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks. “I was making decent money in the minors, but I had thought about being a police officer in Toronto. My wife had actually started the testing process a couple of years earlier. I was playing hockey with some friends who were cops, and I was already trying to figure out which precinct I’d be going to.”

Yet, less than a year after he had considered trading in his hockey stick for a sidearm, Thornton finally reached the pinnacle of his profession, happily putting his impending foray into law enforcement on an indefinite hold after helping the Ducks capture their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2007.

“Thank God they liked a tough team,” he says. “I was up [in the NHL] ever since.”

After making his mark in Anaheim, Thornton went on to play 10 more seasons in the NHL with the Boston Bruins (2007-2014) and the Florida Panthers (2014-2017), winning his second Stanley Cup as a member of the Bruins in 2011. It was also during his time in Boston that he started to become recognized more for his impeccable character than his proclivity for throwing punches. Fans came to learn the pugilistic role he played on the ice belied the humble, mild-mannered man he was off it.

COOL AS ICE: Though legendary hockey player Shawn Thornton recently hung up his skates, he is staying with the Florida Panthers in a front-office role.

Although the incredible toughness he showed throughout his career made him a leader among his teammates, it was Thornton’s big heart that helped him become an even more successful global humanitarian. He used his on-ice success to launch his own charity, the Shawn Thornton Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

“I worked hard to groom my game to be in a place where I could contribute in other ways, not just fighting,” says Thornton, who finished his 14-year NHL career with 42 goals and 60 assists for 102 points and 1,103 penalty minutes. “No matter what I am doing, whether it’s on the ice or off the ice, I always want to be the best at it.”

With his bottle of whisky now empty, Thornton has had plenty of time to look back on his career, charting the highs and lows with each reminiscent sip of scotch. In the end, his story is one of unbelievable perseverance, earning him a special place in hockey’s history as one of just two players to compete in more than 600 games in the AHL and at least 700 games in the NHL.

But as he attempts to encapsulate the entirety of his career into one final goodbye to the game, there’s at least one thing he’s certain of: There was a purpose behind every punch.“The fights were a means to an end,” says Thornton, who will step into a front-office role with the Panthers next season. “I was able to win two Stanley Cups, compete in the Winter Classic and start my own foundation. I was also able to give a lot of money back to charities. In essence, all of that came from my fist.” 

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

For Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Dr. Stephen Nimer, it’s not a matter of if South Florida will become a premier cancer treatment center; it’s a matter of when.

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CANCER FIGHTER: Dr. Stephen Nimer is putting South Florida cancer treatment on the global health map.

By Chauncey Mabe
Portrait by Scott McIntyre

Haitian immigrant women in Miami have among the highest incidence of cervical cancer in the U.S. For cultural reasons, Haitian women generally avoid pelvic examinations, says Dr. Stephen Nimer, director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. As a result, they miss out on Pap smears, the best way to prevent the disease.

UM responded to this public health crisis not by trying to convince Haitian women to visit gynecologists and submit to pelvic exams but by sending Creole-speaking community health care workers into the neighborhood to test women for the HPV virus that can cause cervical cancer.

“We have one of the most diverse communities in the world here in South Florida,” Nimer says. “Prevention is not one-size-fits-all. You must deliver your message in a way that is culturally sensitive and culturally compatible so that people will lose weight or stop smoking or not engage in risky behavior. Everything is colored through the lens of community diversity.”

That cultural sensitivity is emblematic of the commitment to patient care Nimer has brought to Miami in the five years since he was recruited from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York by Donna Shalala, former president of UM. In New York, Nimer was a renowned leukemia researcher who often treated celebrities such as playwright Susan Sontag, actor Gene Wilder, journalist Jonathan Alter, and soccer player and reality TV star Ethan Zohn.

“In New York, I had the opportunity to take care of some amazing people,” says Nimer, who discusses celebrity patients only when pressed, and then only those who have spoken publicly about their treatment. “Some of them were famous, some were not. It’s a privilege to take care of anybody.”

That quality of humility was probably not on Shalala’s list of must-have qualities when she recruited Nimer. She wanted a doctor and researcher who could guide the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to the highest ranks, including the coveted National Cancer Institute designation.

“NCI designation is important in so many ways,” Nimer says. “It would bring in federal dollars, it would help us attract better faculty and it would help with philanthropy. There are certain grants you can’t even apply for unless you are an NCI-designated cancer center. A study by the Washington Economics Group predicts NCI designation will be worth $1.2 billion to South Florida.”

Since coming to UM, Nimer has hired more than 100 cancer doctors and researchers, many of them from places like Johns Hopkins and Harvard. He has helped boost philanthropy from $9.9 million a year to $21.2 million a year. The number of patients the UM center sees has also doubled since his arrival, from 3,500 in 2012 to 7,000 in 2017.

Nimer also joined directors from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa (currently Florida’s only NCI-designated cancer center) and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center to meet with Gov. Rick Scott, an effort that won $60 million in state money each year—divided among the three hospitals over a five-year period—to help achieve NCI designation.

“It’s a bit like turning in a 1,500-page income tax return,” says Nimer with a smile, noting that UM will be ready to apply for NCI designation in about a year and a half. “NCI designation is all about the research. That’s what they will judge us on. The dollars the NCI will give us will support the various core research facilities we have.”

In an era of great progress in cancer research and treatment, the internet has been a boon to cancer researchers, too. In the past, Nimer says, a scientific paper would take four to six months to reach publication. Now, it appears online as soon as it is accepted by a journal. “There is much more communication than there used to be,” he says. “The internet has really changed the way we do science.”

In Nimer’s field—leukemia and related blood cancers—stem cell research, immunotherapy and epigenetics promise exciting breakthroughs with new therapies and drugs.

“The treatments are working better and better,” Nimer says. “But the goal of curing cancer remains pretty elusive. So it’s probably not going to be one approach; it’s probably going to take more than one therapy to cure most cancers.”

At UM, Nimer’s emphasis on patient care means a multidisciplinary approach. A single lung cancer patient, for example, may be treated by a team that includes a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation therapist and nurse navigator to help with appointments and other patient details.

“Some people think an academic hospital means you are going to be taken care of by a medical student,” Nimer says. “The reality is you have expertise far beyond your own physician.”

If Nimer had it made in New York—and he agrees he did—he is fully committed to life in his new city. Since moving to Miami, for example, Nimer has taken up serious cycling, putting in as much as 100 miles each weekend. He is, he says, in the best shape he’s been since college.

“When recruiting new faculty, I tell them this is a young, up-and-coming city,” Nimer says. “Our center is a young, up-and-coming center. You can get in on the ground floor. I think Miami is going to be one of the three great American cities of the future. And this is going to be one of the great cancer centers in the U.S.”

 

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

Sea Lily founder Charlotte Hicks blends beach-friendly clothing with ocean conservation efforts.

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KINDA BLUE: Swedish-born Charlotte Hicks has found warmer waters in South Florida with Sea Lily resort wear.

By Madison Flager
Portrait By Allison Langer

Charlotte Hicks remembers the first store to sell Sea Lily clothing: Kristine Michael, located just off Dixie Highway in South Miami. “It was my favorite store; they were very good to us,” Hicks says.
Though Kristine Michael closed in January after the owner retired, Sea Lily is just getting started. In the three years since Hicks, 46, founded the luxe resort wear brand, the line’s jumpers, dresses, tunics and pants have gone from being sold in a few boutiques in South Florida to shops up and down the Eastern Seaboard and into the Caribbean.

The line is still undeniably Floridian, with an emphasis on breathable fabrics and bright colors. Hicks, who is originally from Sweden, has lived in Florida for 20 years and says she draws inspiration for her collections from the area’s everyday treasures—the ocean, the sky and even the various birds
flying overhead.

“Fashion has always been a personal passion, and when I saw a need in the market for fun, feminine and transitional resort wear, I jumped on it,” Hicks says.

The current Sea Lily collection, which launched in May, takes a slight departure from the fuchsias and teals of past collections, instead featuring softer tones like gray, white and light pink. Still, it was designed with South Florida in mind.

“The colors of Miami and South Florida are very bright, and we wanted to explore something a bit contrasting and softer,” Hicks says. “I think softer colors can be very feminine, and they let the person who wears them shine.”

When dreaming up new designs, Hicks says the Sea Lily woman she envisions is style-conscious, well-traveled, adventurous and philanthropic—an attribute that is especially important to Hicks, as a portion of all Sea Lily proceeds goes to ocean conservation efforts largely in Miami and the Florida Keys.
Sea Lily works with nonprofits like the Coral Restoration Foundation, Debris Free Oceans and the Oceanic Preservation Society. Through these organizations, Sea Lily has helped replant 450 corals. And as Hicks puts it, this is just the beginning.

After growing up near the Baltic Sea, relocating to South Florida and spending time in the Bahamas with her family, Hicks has a great appreciation of the ocean and has seen firsthand the damage being done to it.
“The world’s oceans and coral reefs are under attack,” Hicks says. “The reasons for this are vast and complicated—from global warming to development to overfishing to pollution. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just give up; Sea Lily is my way of doing what I can to make a difference.”

Sea Lily also regularly holds trunk shows, where hosts can name their charity of choice. Through these events, the brand has partnered with local organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Breakthrough Miami.
“It’s nice because people can give back and feel like they’re part of something bigger,” she says.

 

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

On the last Saturday of every month, Fort Lauderdale's FATVillage district is flooded with revelers attending ArtWalk, a street event filled with local creatives, unique vendors and food trucks. Photography by Michele Eve Sandberg.

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Nattassja Pick, Katy Kalian and Holly Griffith

 

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Chelsea Liles and Danielle Bruinenberg
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Tyler Hollingsworth, Melissa Bales, Edwin Marquiz and Evan Ressler
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Nattassja Pick, Katy Kalian and Holly Griffith
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Jose Dominguez, Jason Howard and Kristin and Nathan Newman
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Rochelle Crevier, Haley Glenum and Cayla Coningsby
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Matt Tedder and Erica Hosch
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Sarah and Vincent Pecora
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Alex Carreno and Cristian Nieto
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Alec Zenner and Gentry Cooper
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Max Burwick and Veronica Wilkins
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Micah Maron and Caitlyn Confer
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Brittany Law and Dylan Corsiatto
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Antonella Avogadro

 

 

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

Famed photographer Cookie Kinkead captures the spirit and heartbeat of the Bahamian people in her new book.

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FEEL THE BEAT: Island Rhythm peers into Bahamian life, including lively Junkanoo performances.

By Caris Harper

What is life like on a 3-mile-long Bahamian island? In short, it’s intimate. A new coffee-table book sets out to capture that illusive lifestyle. Island Rhythm: The Way We Live (The Landing Hotel) illustrates the local culture of Harbour Island in 325 pages of colorful images by photographer Cookie Kinkead. The book includes nearly 800 images that offer a local’s perspective on day-to-day life.

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The first book published on Harbour Island by a native Bahamian, Island Rhythm became a special project for book publisher Tracy Barry, whose roots to the island include having a mother who was the first
Miss Bahamas.

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COASTAL LIVING: Photographer Cookie Kinkead puts typical Bahamian homes, complete with plantation shutters and signature porches, on full display in her book.

“Harbour Island is exceptionally beautiful—it’s a place where the international jet set and locals mix,” says Barry, who also owns The Landing Hotel, a 13-room boutique property on Harbour Island.

“Everyone is walking, riding a bike or on a golf cart,” Kinkead says. “You’re more exposed to the experience of meeting up with people, and we set out to capture that.”

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ON WHEELS: On an island that’s just 3 miles long and half a mile wide, locals sometimes find the easiest mode of transportation is cycling or grabbing a scooter.

Snapshots of island life include children playing in trees and jumping off docks, locals going to church, men playing dominoes and people riding horses on the beach. The book also showcases photos of the local barber shop, the blue-haired supermarket cashier, a Junkanoo (Bahamian parade), a regatta and the roosters and chickens that wander the village.Island-Rhythm-Venice-Caris-Harper-Fort-Lauderdale

“Initially we planned a book with 236 pages, but as we looked at the images, so many of them were put in the ‘must-have’ category that the book kept growing,” says Barry, who admits one of her favorite photos is a shot at the water’s edge showing six children in pink swimsuits and one child throwing a pink bucket into the air. “The way Cookie is able to capture the heart and soul of a place and its people is very special.”

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ISLAND TOUCHES: Kinkead went both indoors and outdoors to capture some of Harbour Island’s most distinct images.

David A. Stewart, a musician and record producer best known for being one-half of the British duo Eurythmics, wrote the book’s foreword. “Harbour Island has a never-ending rhythm, and the days go flying by to the beat of the people and the ebb and flow of the stunning ocean,” he says. “That’s where I want to be: at the heart, the rhythmic center of this wonderful place.”

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

Steve Crombe and Will Rubino of Sweeter Days Bake Shop believe every celebration should be beautiful—and sweet.

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WITH FROSTING ON TOP: In addition to making dreams of brides and grooms’ come true, Sweeter Days is a regular supporter of local nonprofit organizations.

By Jessica Organ
Photography by Gary James

How do you make fashion even sweeter? Add frosting.

That’s what Sweeter Days Bake Shop, an upscale Fort Lauderdale bakery known for its decadent custom cakes and cupcakes, has done for the past seven years: It has weaved style and flavor with flour and sugar.

“It takes a lot of guts to open a cupcake store not knowing how to bake,” says co-owner Steve Crombe of the bakery’s beginnings.

Crombe and his partner, Will Rubino, spent their careers working in the New York City fashion world as executives for Liz Claiborne, Eddie Bauer and Spiegel. When the two retired to Fort Lauderdale in 2005, they began dreaming of opening a bakery modeled after famous New York cupcake shops like Magnolia Bakery, whose success has spawned multiple U.S. and international locations. While Crombe and Rubino had their extensive design backgrounds to draw from, they knew they would need help on the baking end, so they hired a team of experienced pastry chefs, led by head pastry chef and cake artist Veronica Duguay.

“A party without cake or cupcakes is just a meeting.” – Steve Crombe

Sweeter Days opened in January 2010 with a cocktail party filled with lavish cupcakes, and within four months, the team was making cakes for Neiman Marcus Ft. Lauderdale. Since then, the bakery has become a favored vendor for wedding cakes at prominent hotels up and down A1A and beyond. While the intimate bakery on North Federal Highway, decorated with a trademark color combination of espresso brown and seafoam blue, sells mostly custom goods, Sweeter Days does offer to-die-for cookies and perfectly coiffed and frosted cupcakes that customers can buy on the spot. As Crombe puts it, “A party without cake or cupcakes is just a meeting.”

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The bakery is also a regular fixture at local nonprofit events. Through the shop’s charitable arm, Cupcakes for a Cause, it raises money for organizations such as the American Heart Association and Women in Distress of Broward County Inc. The bakery also supplies cupcakes in the shape of “mini tatas” for an annual gala that supports the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen. “If you give to the community, it will come back to you,” Crombe says.

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Steve Crombe (left) and Will Rubino opened Sweeter Days Bake Shop after being inspired by the New York City sweets stores.

And come back it has. Crombe and Rubino love what they do, and it shows in their outgoing personalities and close involvement with all aspects of the business. Crombe says he remembers every bride he has ever worked with and keeps photo albums with pictures of each couple and their cake. It’s no surprise that both owners list their customers as the highlight of running the bakery, and they love to see the happiness radiating from people planning events from birthdays to weddings to
baby showers.

“That’s what we sell: memories and celebrations,” Crombe says.

Originally appeared in the Summer 2017 Issue.

Venice magazine celebrated its Spring Issue cover party by partnering with British Airways and The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale with a London-themed soiree. The party also announced British Airways’ new nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to London. Venice welcomed more than 500 guests for a event complete with fare from Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits, and in partnership with Ed Morse Automotive Group, Whispering Angel rosé, Peroni, Casamigos Tequila, Tito’s Vodka, Laurent Perrier champagne, Oak & Cane rum, Constellation Brands, and Flora and More.

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