Tex-Mex restaurant opening: Cactus Grille debuts in Palm Beach Gardens

·4 min read
Upscale Tex-Mex: Cactus Grille is located at the Donald Ross Village plaza in northern Palm Beach Gardens.
Upscale Tex-Mex: Cactus Grille is located at the Donald Ross Village plaza in northern Palm Beach Gardens.

Here’s your first call for tequila cocktails and guac, north county: Cactus Grille, the long-awaited Tex-Mex restaurant, opens Saturday at Donald Ross Village plaza in Palm Beach Gardens.

The grand opening celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. with complimentary specialty drinks and passed-around appetizers. (There’s a cash bar after 7 p.m.) The restaurant opens for full dinner service Monday.

Co-owner Jordan Brown offers this welcome message to the public at large:

“Come on over and see what we have to offer. Be part of the Cactus family.”

Related: Upscale Tex-Mex restaurant to take over former Burger Bar space

Also at the plaza: Acclaimed chef to open traditional Indian restaurant

Just as Tex-Mex cuisine, the Brown family has roots far from South Florida. Cactus Grille’s ode to Tex-Mex was first sparked in a city well removed from the Texas/Mexico border and its hybrid culture: Providence, RI, the Brown family’s hometown.

The restaurant really is a Tex-Mex ode to Brown family history. Jordan Brown’s mother Beth loved Tex-Mex food so much she and Jordan’s father Jason would drive to Boston for authentic dishes, back when their romance was new, decades ago. Those shared meals inspired the original Cactus Grille, which the couple opened in Providence in 1992.

Cactus Grille, which transformed the former Burger Bar space in Palm Beach Gardens, offers indoor and outdoor seating, include bars in both sprawling areas.
Cactus Grille, which transformed the former Burger Bar space in Palm Beach Gardens, offers indoor and outdoor seating, include bars in both sprawling areas.

Former Burger Bar restaurant space transformed

The new restaurant pays tribute to that original Cactus Grille, which opened before Jordan Brown was born. Brown has memories of growing up at the restaurant and celebrating milestones there. She was particularly fond of the restaurant’s big Margarita coupe glasses with cactus-like stems – so much so that she went on a hunt for replicas for the new Cactus Grille.

“I found the cactus glasses and there will be drinks served in them!” she says.

In creating the approachable-upscale restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens, the Browns have transformed a prime space at the plaza. It’s where Burger Bar operated until it closed in 2019.

With an outdoor patio sprawled around a fountain, Cactus Grille will offer an alfresco dining and bar area as well as a spacious indoor dining area.

Also in the Gardens: Group behind popular Carbone restaurant to open related eatery

On the "Platos Principales" menu at Cactus Grille: blackened Florida grouper served over roasted sweet corn risotto.
On the "Platos Principales" menu at Cactus Grille: blackened Florida grouper served over roasted sweet corn risotto.

Cactus Grille's eclectic Mexican food menu includes unique tacos

As for bites to go with those funky drinks, the restaurant offers an eclectic menu that ranges from fine-dining plates to more casual Tex-Mex pub grub.

Fancier dishes on executive chef Bill Rosenberg's menu include blackened Florida grouper with roasted corn risotto, Chicken a la Pimientos with toasted garlic and pickled chiles, prime black angus strip loin and prime pork cheeks with cheddar grits. (Entrees are priced from $18 to $45.)

More casual starter bites ($7 to $15) include shredded chicken tostadas, queso fundido with Mexican chorizo and a seafood cocktail in a spicy sangrita marinade.

Glazed pork belly tacos with pickled red onions are served at Cactus Grille in Palm Beach Gardens.
Glazed pork belly tacos with pickled red onions are served at Cactus Grille in Palm Beach Gardens.

Tacos here range from the classic (adobo chicken, $15 platter) to the creative (wild mushrooms, shallots, goat cheese, $14 platter). Burritos, fajitas, soups, salads and sides round out the menu.

“When many people think of Tex-Mex, they think fast-casual. You can get casual at Cactus Grille, but there’s also more refined dining here,” says Brown. “I’m excited for everyone to taste those dishes.”

Cactus Grille makes its debut in a new dining district now rising in the north county, west of Military Trail. Its arrival comes 10 weeks after the expansion of chef Tim Lipman’s Coolinary Café and Parched Pig eateries, which merged into a larger location at the plaza.

It also comes as acclaimed chef Pushkar Marathe of Stage Kitchen on PGA Boulevard prepares to open Ela, a traditional Indian restaurant at the plaza. Less than a mile to the west, locals flock to the newish restaurants at Alton Plaza.

Cactus Grille took over the former Burger Bar space at the Donald Ross Village plaza.
Cactus Grille took over the former Burger Bar space at the Donald Ross Village plaza.

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The new Cactus Grille has breathed new life into the prime plaza location where Burger Bar operated until it closed in 2019.
The new Cactus Grille has breathed new life into the prime plaza location where Burger Bar operated until it closed in 2019.

Cactus Grille & Tequila Bar

Located at 4650 Donald Ross Road, Suite 100 at the Donald Ross Village plaza, Palm Beach Gardens, TheCactusGrille.com

Grand opening: Saturday, Jan. 22, at 5 p.m., with complimentary, passed-around appetizers; complimentary drinks till 7 p.m. and cash bar later. Closed Sunday, Jan. 23.

Operating hours starting Monday, Jan. 24: Monday through Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Brunch: Served on Sundays, starting Jan. 30.

Happy Hour: Weekdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m., starting Monday, Jan. 24.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: New Mexican restaurant, Cactus Grille, opening in Palm Beach Gardens

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