‘Big Brother’ star Memphis Garrett introduces surf-themed eatery Point Break in South Florida – Sun Sentinel
Memphis Garrett first tried poke eight years ago. He visited Maui for a friend’s wedding, surfed monster breaks and stumbled upon a roadside shack serving up the Hawaiian dish of marinated raw tuna.
The Fort Lauderdale restaurateur, best known for a pair of star-making turns on CBS reality juggernauts “Big Brother” and “Big Brother: All-Stars,” fell in love instantly with the vibrant cubes of ruby-red fish. At the time, the simple bowl of diced ahi in soy sauce, sesame oil and onion wasn’t trendy yet in South Florida, but Garrett knew it could be. He opened his first poke bowl eatery, Poke House, in Fort Lauderdale’s Victoria Park in late 2016.
Garrett opened his second Poke House in the Shoppes at Cleary in Plantation 13 months ago as a lunch-only counter — without fanfare, advertising or even signage. Then he decided to change the name of both spots to Point Break to seize on another growing trend: pan-Asian street food.
At Point Break, poke bowls are still the star attraction, but now ramen, dumplings, skewered meats and Hawaiian fried rice share the spotlight at Garrett’s fast-casual restaurant, which is scheduled to stage its grand opening on Saturday, March 4.
Now that build-your-own poke bowl eateries are de rigueur in the region, Garrett sensed Point Break would only succeed if it diversified its menu beyond fresh seafood.
“We sat on that space for a year because I’ve been so busy,” says Garrett, a hospitality veteran who next plans to open Southern coastal restaurant Lady May in downtown Chicago in March. “There’s so much growth in that little square mile around Cleary, and it’s primed to explode.”
Yes, the name is an obvious on-the-nose reference to a certain Keanu-Swayze action-surf film, but “we’re a surf-inspired concept, and who doesn’t love that movie?” Garrett says, with a laugh.
Besides, if Point Break is successful, he plans to franchise the restaurant as soon as 2024. A second Point Break, a takeout ghost kitchen, already shares space inside No Man’s Land, his craft-cocktail lounge in Fort Lauderdale’s Victoria Park.
Inside the 1,300-square-foot restaurant, which added dinner service in February, the walls are adorned in white slate brick, with four surfboards propped up near the entrance.
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Last spring, he sat down and rebuilt the menu from scratch with Austin Blake, executive chef with Garrett Hospitality Group, which runs about 40 restaurants in its portfolio including No Man’s Land and Ya Mas! Taverna in Fort Lauderdale. Garrett estimates that “50 percent of the [Point Break] menu is brand-new.”
“It had to evolve into something new to survive,” Garrett says. “Some customers want poke and some want ramen, and we had to deliver both so we didn’t alienate either one.”
Roughly half of Point Break’s refreshed menu includes build-your-own poke bowls ($12.95), and diners can customize a base (such as seaweed or kimchi salad) and add proteins (salmon, tuna, inari), marinades, sauces and toppings. There are also four signature bowls, including Sunset Beach Hawaii ($12.95-$15.95), with sesame soy-marinated tuna (imported from Costa Rica and Panama) is tossed with white rice, red radish, red and green onions, serrano chili, pickled ginger, edamame and nori flakes.
Its “Endless Summer” appetizers ($9-$15) range from seared Spam musubi and coconut shrimp to crispy chicken thigh karaage glazed in szechuan and pork chashu-pineapple sliders on King’s Hawaiian bread. There are also tuna and salmon tacos and nachos ($12.25 each), standalone servings of fried rice ($14-$15), tonkotsu and seafood curry ramens ($17-$20), yakitori ($7-$11) and more.
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For dessert, there’s Hawaiian malasada doughnuts ($7) dusted in cinnamon sugar and Pocky biscuit sticks ($3.50). Finally, the restaurant offers Kona-branded beers.
During its March 4 grand opening, Point Break will give away free poke bowls for any customer who visits between noon and 4 p.m.
Point Break is at 8970 Cleary Blvd. in Plantation. For more information, visit EatPointBreak.com or call 954-999-5758.