Imagine a town where you could walk to the cheese shop, butcher, and brewery. Imagine window shopping for elegant pastries, selecting fresh fruits and vegetables from a pristine farmer’s market, gawking at the latest in kitchen designs from a spectacular showroom. Imagine all of this in Downtown Oakland Park. The City of Oakland Park’s Community Redevelopment Association (CRA) has designated downtown as The Culinary Arts District, a tasteful destination. According to Kathleen Margoles, Community and Economic Director for The City of Oakland Park, “The mission is to create 1st class culinary experiences in a walkable park plaza environment.”
The project began in 2011 as a way to attract new business to downtown including a culinary school. The Funky Buddha brewery opened in May of 2013 and brought a culture of craft beers and food truck nights. Now expanded to 100,000 square feet, Funky Buddha offers a menu of burgers, beer battered chicken and casual fare. Alberte, next to Funky Buddha, serves Caribbean fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Power Up entertains the comic con crowd with fun and games. On the South end, Big Dog Station is jumping nightly with music, libations and wings. Coming soon, SwitchBox Coffee Roasters and an Allied Kitchen, with rental spaces for three additional restaurants available.
The Culinary Arts Showcase is held on the first Thursday of every month at 6pm in front of city hall. “The showcase features a local chef and four courses. Our January event was hosted by El Guanaco,” said Kathleen, “Over 100 people enjoyed their incredible Mexican fare.” Music on Main Street is also held once a month and showcases great local performers.
For the dreamer foodie entrepreneur, the city offers access incentive programs. They also focus on educating prospective businesses about the demographic opportunity and the goal to make this a culinary destination. Take a bite out of this project and get involved at www.opculinaryarts.com.
As a kick off to our Secret Recipe series, Ana Alvarez, Assistant City Manager Oakland Park shared her mother’s Green Spaghetti Recipe. This Colombian treat is a sneaky way to get your veggies in.
1 can asparagus soup
8 ounces of Sour Cream
1 lb. spinach pasta
8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix soup and sour cream in a large bowl, put to the side
Cook vegetable pasta and drain add pasta to soup mixture and stir
Pour into small baking dish and top with shredded mozzarella.
Bake at 350 until cheese is melted
Photo from My Colombian Recipes.