A restaurant that became known as much for its raucous parties as it was for its award-winning cuisine has closed.
The Grille Fashion Cuisine shut its doors for good earlier this summer, a spokeswoman for Grille owners Fashion Cuisine Group confirmed.
The restaurant opened in 2010 in the Mizner Place plaza off South Shore Boulevard between Big Blue Trace and Forest Hill Boulevard. The space previously was Nicole’s Village Tavern. A property manager for Mizner Place did not return a call for comment.
It’s unclear when the restaurant closed — co-owner Juan Carlos Gando did not return a request for comment — but the restaurant’s website and social media accounts have been deactivated.
Gando and fellow Fashion Cuisine Group co-owner Dustin Parfitt have turned The Grille and the group’s other Wellington restaurants — Oli’s Fashion Cuisine, Don Chepo’s Taco Shop and Whitehorse Fashion Cuisine — into hot spots with a loyal following that serve as a draw for celebrities in town for the Winter Equestrian Festival and polo. Among those names are rumored to be actor Robert Duvall, singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen and Wellington’s own Vanilla Ice.
The Grille also was known for turning from tame lunchtime spot to wild party venue on weekends during the season. It was one of a handful of Wellington restaurants popular with equestrians to blow off steam after busy weeks of competition.
While its party scene was well-known,the restaurant also garnered praise for its menu, honed by former head chef Clayton Carnes. It earned accolades several times over from The Palm Beach Post, including a spot on its Best Burgers list for Carnes’ “The Burger,” served on a brioche bun with a special sauce.
The restaurant earned a high-profile boost in 2015 when Carnes appeared on and won an episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Post food editor Liz Balmaseda visited The Grille soon after and raved about Carnes’ short rib tacos and free-range roasted chicken with pesto.
Thanks to its large space, The Grille played host to numerous fundraisers for local nonprofits and as a site for local campaign events. In March, celebrity bartenders helped sling drinks for cash for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Current council members including Mayor Anne Gerwig and Councilman Michael Napoleone had campaign kick-off parties there.
The Grille had developed a following for its four-course wine-pairing dinners, which regularly sold out. Fashion Cuisine Group also expanded its event offerings at The Grille to include Comedy Nights, which also became popular. Both events have been moved to other Fashion Cuisine restaurants, with a wine-pairing dinner set for July 26 at Oli’s, and a Comedy Night scheduled for July 18 at Don Chepo’s.