NEW: What’s behind the huge new restaurant boom in Jupiter?

8:18 p.m Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 Local
Papichulo restaurant is expected to open this summer on the west side U.S. 1 in Tequesta, just north of Beach Road (Photo/Bill DiPaolo)

New restaurants are popping up in the Jupiter/Tequesta area, more evidence of the rapid growth in the north county beach towns.

“This is the tightest market I have seen in 10 years,” leasing agent Rob Hamman said. “I’m getting at least three calls a week looking for commercial and restaurant property.”

The latest is Mexican spot Papichulo, which will open this year in the former Pep’s Island Grill in Tequesta on the west side of U.S. 1, just north of the Jupiter Lighthouse Diner.

Plans call for renovating the 1,800-foot-square white building with blue trim. Papichulo will be walking distance from Lynora’s, a popular Italian restaurant opened this summer, said Angelo Abbenante, owner of Lynora’s and one of three owners of Papichulo.

“Fruits, tacos — everything will be fresh. We’re going for the beachy, Jupiter feel,” said Abbenante.

The other owners are Scott Frielich, owner of Lost Weekend and Kapow on Clematis Street, and Clive Mash, owner of The Pawn Shop on Clematis Street.

Papichulo, which will have a full bar, will employ about 25 people. The 70-seat restaurant will have outdoor seating, said Abbenante.

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Lou’s Bar & Grill, which advertises “seasonally adjusted menus,” opened about six weeks ago just north of the future Papichulo. Lou’s is in the former site of the Park Avenue BBQ Grille.

Kareem Kablouti, a spokesman for Lou’s, says the more restaurants, the merrier.

“All the restaurants are different,” Kablouti said. “More restaurants, more people from out of town. I’m not worried.”

Among restaurants opening soon are 1000 NORTH, the waterfront restaurant partly owned by former NBA star Michael Jordan. The restaurant, which will have a private club on the second level, plans to open today just south of the U.S. 1 bridge.

The former Pasquale’s, located nearby on the southwest corner of Riverside Drive and Alternate A1A in Jupiter, is finishing renovations and plans on opening soon. The new restaurant will be called Crosby Kitchen and Bar.

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There’s more development coming:

- Charles Modica has won approval to build an outdoor marketplace on Love Street.

- The former Rustic Inn restaurant next to u-Tiki restaurant is scheduled to become an upscale wedding venue.

- At the site of the former Suni Sands mobile home park, an inn with about 100 rooms and about 40 town houses/condominiums is planned. That 10-acre property on the Jupiter Inlet is also owned by Modica.

Too much?

Modica says no. Continuing population growth in north county means there is enough demand.

“Look at the PGA Corridor. There’s lots of restaurants. They are doing well,” he said.

Abbenante agrees.

“Yes, it’s competitive. But if you are good, you’ll survive,” he said.

The section of U.S. 1 where Papichulo will open is going through a $3 million renovation. U.S. 1 is being narrowed from six to four lanes. Bicycle lanes, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting are being added.

More construction is planned in 2020, including replacing the U.S. 1 bridge over the Loxahatchee River. Construction of the higher, wider bridge is expected to cost about $120 million.