Published On: Thu, Jul 8th, 2010

Bevy of restaurant openings lets Boca revelers eat, drink and be merry

The bright lights, the big city – the breast implants.

The summer social season in Boca Raton is glitzing, awash in mini sliders,

Among those attending opening of VIVO Partenza were, from left, Amy Frisman Rosenthal, Lori Ludwig, Nicole Flier, Marla Reich.

mozzarella cheese balls and pizza.

And restaurant openings.

In just the past week two popular restaurants were reincarnated from the ghost of their past. Saturday night, the lights went back on at the former Pranzo in Mizner Park.

This new restaurant (called RACKS) is classier and clearly more comfortable than the frigid noisy Pranzo.

Owner Gary Rack (who also owns Table 42) is the brains behind this new Mizner haunt. And to celebrate its five-star renovation (to the tune of $4 million) the place was jumping with a collection of beautiful people and mini-sized portions of things to come (food wise).

There were mini grilled cheese sandwiches, miso sea bass wraps, Buffalo calamari, chicken wings and pizza. The sparkling wine flowed and the crowd seemed to multiply within minutes of the official pre-official opening (there was an outside courtyard serving food and drinks to those who could brave the heat).

The guest list included many familiar faces – Harvey Wachman, Steve Fox and his gal pal, Carrie Roman and singles guru Ann Rotman (and pals).

Like many star spangled bashes in Boca Raton, the ratio of men to women was clearly a boon for men. I often wonder if they clone beautiful women in the basement at these events, but then I remembered that hot Boca babes usually come out at night (like mosquitoes and bats).

Over 1,200 people attended the lavish affair (about 900 were women) and everyone seemed pretty happy. “This restaurant is great and the food looks delicious,” said stunner Giselle Radice, a local optometrist. The exotic dark woods, classy chandeliers (one made of silverware) and intimate interior made up for the lack of testosterone.

On Wednesday night, the former Bova Ristorante came back to life as Vivo Partenza. This glamorous sexy space is elegant, upbeat and comfortable in a California way. Tony and Laurie Bova wanted to continue doing what they do best – serving great Italian food in an upbeat friendly atmosphere. (VIVO means alive and lively in Italian).

And they didn’t disappoint. The crowd was a wonderful mix of former Bova patrons and locals who wanted to celebrate this new hot spot. And, aside from the terrific food (there was Wild Scottish Salmon, French fries, meatballs, pizza and mozzarella balls) there were men.

This abundance of testosterone was not on the press release (or on the menu) but it was a welcome sight. The guests happily munched on coin-sized cuisine and seemed to genuinely enjoy the company of such an eclectic classy crowd (that included Russell of, Douglas Heizer and the Boca Tribune gang, Marleen Forkas and a slew of other great folks).

What’s it like to attend these events? It’s a lot of fun if you enjoy great people watching and sampling foods that often don’t declare their origin. Large platters are passed around above eye level (if you’re short you’re at a disadvantage) and like any competitive sport you have to be in the right place at the right time. But, there was plenty of food and drink to go around at both events.

“With this opening, we feel like we are coming home,” said Tony Bova. “As a family we are focusing on the things that have always been most important to us, which is making each and every guest feel they are part of our family every time they dine with us.”

So there you have it. It’s time to get off the couch (turn off the news) and watch life unfold in its natural habitat while enjoying one of life’s greatest pleasures – food.

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