- By Kevin D. Thompson Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The calendar says it’s February, but for downtown Lake Worth restaurant owners, this weekend will feel more like Christmas.
On Saturday and Sunday, the 24th Annual Lake Worth Street Painting Festival rolls into town as more than 600 artists turn Lake and Lucerne Avenues into a giant outdoor art gallery.
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend.
“This is a huge event,” said Amanda Smith, a bartender at Rhum Shak. “It’s a big deal and we want to make sure we don’t run out of anything and that everyone is happy when they come in.”
Rhum Shak owner Kevin Knight said he orders about 30 percent more food and drink than normal. Between beer and wine, he said Rhum Shak spends $6,000 to $7,000.
“We make about $15,000 per day,” Knight said. “On a regular weekend, we do about $10,000.”
Rhum Shak also limits it menu to items that can be made quicker. “We turn our tables in 30 to 45 minutes,” Knight said. “You won’t have to wait an hour and a half to get your food. I’ve tightened up our menu so much it doesn’t even faze me anymore.”
Marcin Lyczkowski, owner of Brick Oven Pizza, said he spends three times more on food and beer for this weekend. “We make sure we buy enough products,” he said.
Erica Lantz, Brick Oven Pizza’s manager, said the restaurant makes about three times as much as they do normally. “It was really busy last year and brought in a lot of kids, a lot of families,” she said. “Thousands of people came through.”
Brogues Down Under will be hiring an additional 10 workers. “It’s our busiest weekend of the year,” said Tania Gerst, co-owner. “It’ll be a long day. This is a great time for staff to make some extra money.”
Lilo’s Streetfood and Bar will have a DJ Saturday evening and all day Sunday, said owner Lindsey Lipovich. The eatery also hooked up with a company that sells pre-made shots.
“Last year we learned to not over order,” Lipovich said. “We got kind of nervous and made too many shots. People want to have fun and those shots seem to be the most popular option.”
There are several new downtown businesses in Lake Worth, including Book Cellar and Snoballs, that will be experiencing the festival for the first time.
Tamra Ayraud, co-owner at Book Cellar, said they’re making sure they have enough people working. “We’re scheduling the 7 or 8 people we have for more hours,” she said. “We don’t really know what to expect since it’s our first festival. Will 100,000 people come in here, or 10,000? Who knows.”
Taylor Castillo, Snoballs manager, said the store ordered more food — hot dogs, nachos and pulled pork. “We don’t have anything really big planned,” Castillo said. “We have five staffers, but all the managers and owners will be here. Two owners and their wives. We’ll have everybody.”
Maria Matias, owner of Kilwins, said each year the festival brings in customers — new and old. “It builds relationships,” she said. “We look forward to it every year.”
Arias Verisha, co-owner of Downtown Pizza, called the festival two crazy days. “But if you make enough money, it’s OK,” he said.
When John Reilly, kitchen manager at Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar, was asked what he’s looking forward to most, his answer was simple.
“For it to be over,” he said, smiling.