Chef Pablo Salas Bringing Lona to Fort Lauderdale Beach
When Lona—celebrated Mexican chef Pablo Salas’ chic new Mexican eatery opens its doors on a gorgeous strip of beachfront real estate December 2017—it will surely be one of the hottest new spots in Fort Lauderdale. Lona will offer Salas’ eclectic, soulful Mexican cooking in a chic, yet funky environment, complete with a gorgeous indoor/outdoor bar, casually elegant interior dining room, a special tequila tasting room and multiple private dining spaces. In a market in need of great Mexican food, Lona—which translates to “canvas” from Spanish—will serve lunch and dinner daily with a sister space, nicknamed Tinta (Spanish for “ink”), handling breakfast service (and available for private event buyouts/catered affairs).
A tattoo devotee, Salas’ body is a living canvas and the restaurant, a clean slate, the canvas, for his culinary creations. The menu will be diverse, affordably priced and a definitive step above what passes for “Mexican food” in South Florida. Small Plates are perfect for those looking to graze or as starters, mix n’ matched and meant to share. Options range from spicy crab-infused guacamole with preserved lemon and roasted garlic (also available in a more classic iteration) and zucchini flower empanadas to bone marrow tamales. Of course, those looking for great ceviches and tostadas will find killer offerings here as well. Also on offer, a bevy of tacos, enchiladas, meats from the grill, classic and modern sides; there is little doubt the Chef’s Table offerings will truly steal the show. Expected must-trys will include pork shoulder pibil with achiote, sour orange and pickled onion; 48-hour wagyu brisket with salsa negra and brown butter and hog snapper with zarandaco, spicy mayo and lime. Desserts are in the works.
No great Mexican restaurant is complete without an equally great bar and Lona will have that in spades. Seating both indoor and outdoor, the bar will offer a special menu of snacks, small plates and tacos as well as a selection of agave-centric craft cocktails, freshly-made margaritas (no premade mixes here!), house-made sangrias, Micheladas (perfect for the beachfront vibe) and, for true tequila worshipers, agave flights. Lona will be a tequila lover’s paradise; the bottle menu will feature 270 tequilas and close to 200 mezcals. True connoisseurs will no doubt revel in the fact that Lona will offer private tequila lockers for diehards to rent and store their own prized bottles for consumption on-site. Progenitor of the bar program is none other than Dushan Zaric, founder of the trendsetting cocktail bar Employees Only.
Listed as one of Forbes Top 50 Tastemakers, he is a master of the art and science of craft cocktails and will ensure Lona’s cocktail program is as progressive, provocative and delicious as its menu. Final cocktail list to be unveiled.
When Lona launches it promises to bring something truly unique in the region: quality service, cuisine and setting of a high-end restaurant with the laid-back fun, approachability and price points of a casual waterfront Mexican cantina.
Designed by powerhouse design firm Ishihara Wilson, Lona will have a light, open, airy feel, evoking an almost New Mexican spirit perfect for the restaurant’s choice waterfront locale. Warm earth tones will abound with design elements including natural wood tables and chairs; Santa Fe-style planters sprouting lush foliage and cacti; gas lanterns illuminating the outdoor bar and sand-colored lighting elements casting a welcoming glow inside. The décor and design will deliver an ambiance equal parts chic beachside cantina and homey hacienda.
Located at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort at 321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Lona will open December 2017. The interior dining room seats 107, the patio 127. Private dining spaces will sit 12, 25 and 100 (Tinta) respectively. Lunch and dinner will be served daily. Breakfast will be served in Tinta daily. Brunch at Lona to be announced at a later date.