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Cabo Flats eatery mapping mas cantinas

Cabo Flats, which started out as a one-cantina location in Palm Beach Gardens, is about to launch itself into a regional chain.

The Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, which opened in 2010 at the Downtown at the Gardens shopping and dining center, will open a location in Stuart on Dec. 1, and a location at the Dolphin Mall in Miami-Dade County a year from now.

In addition, the eatery is looking to open a location in Jacksonville Beach and one in Doral.

This is in addition to the eatery’s second location which opened last year, at the Delray MarketPlace in suburban Delray Beach.

A location at CityPlace in West Palm Beach also in the works.

But that deal is being held up due to litigation over a rent dispute between CityPlace and the former occupant of the space, the shuttered Brewzzi restaurant.

(Brewzzi, a longtime CityPlace tenant, is appealing its July eviction of its coveted second-floor space, overlooking the fountain. If not resolved soon, CityPlace could enter the winter tourist season with the large space sitting vacant.)

Cabo Flats owner Stephen Giordanella said he became involved with Cabo about four years ago as an investor in the Palm Beach Gardens location, which was created by restaurateur Carmine Giardini. Eventually, Giordanella took control.

Giordanella said he was walking around Downtown at the Gardens one day and met Boca Raton restaurant broker Jeffrey Sussman, who was with a member of the Berman family. (The Bermans are the former owner of Downtown, which was just sold it to Excel Trust of California for $142 million.)

“We made introductions, started talking and (Sussman) brought to my attention that I should consider expanding,” Giordanella said. “One thing led to another,” Giordanella said, and three years later, the company is in growth mode.

Cabo Flats leases large spaces.

For instance, in Stuart, the location in the old Bru’s Room sports bar is 6,500 square feet at 1725 U.S. Highway One. A tropical patio also is outside. The Palm Beach Gardens location is larger, at 7,200 square feet. And the Delray Beach location is 7,400 square feet.

Because of the restaurant’s size, Giordanella said Cabo is three concepts in one: A family-friendly restaurant, with waits for the Delray location sometimes two-hours long; a sports bar with plenty of television sets; and a weekend bar scene that’s not a full-blown club but a place featuring a DJ and plenty of party-goers.

Giordanella recently brought aboard Adam Robin as director of operations, to beef up food operations. Robin previously worked at the company that owns Vic & Angelo’s in Palm Beach Gardens and Delray Beach.

“You can get a drink anywhere, but it’s the food we’re focusing on,” Giordanlla said.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.

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