3 Amigos LLC partners Scott Frielich of Subculture Group, Angelo Abbenante of Lynora’s, Cleve Mash of Clematis Social, and executive chef Tim Nickey have a soft spot for traditional, Chinese-American mainstays like Peking duck. So much, they nearly named the new modern Asian restaurant they’re hatching in September after the crispy, Cantonese classic. Rather, they chose Blackbird, a ubiquitous songbird emblematizing mystery, magic, and samsara, or rebirth.
Nestled along Old Dixie Highway near the foursome’s popular Mexican emporium, PapiChulo Tacos, on U.S. 1 in Jupiter, the restaurant occupies a prime corner once belonging to the iconic Jupiter Crab Company. Frielich and Abbenante share fond memories dining at the popular seafood eatery with their families.
When the property’s most recent iteration, Shipwreck Bar & Grille, shuttered and hit the market in early-2021, the partners quickly snagged it. “It represents a slice of Old Florida we respect and want to keep preserved for our community,” Abbenante says.
Frielich agrees. “We saw the opportunity breathe new life into it and introduce a progressive gastronomy experience that has been unexplored in North Palm Beach until now.”
The two-story, 5,500-square-foot space features 150 seats and banquets, three dining venues, and two vibe-led cocktail bars, including an alfresco setting on the second floor with expansive, southwesterly vistas of the Jupiter Lighthouse, Loxahatchee River, and beyond that guests can access inside or by an exterior staircase.
Executive chef Tim Nickey, who has commandeered two of Miami’s most popular Asian kitchens—David Grutman’s Komodo and Jeffrey Chodorow’s
China Grill—has prepared a gastronomic adventure that will transport diners to delicious dining locales around eastern and southeast Asia.
Coupled with Nickey’s innovative interpretation of Pan-Asian fare, the menu is dotted with dim sum favorites and Chinatown-style staples remastered with bold and luscious flavors. Highlights include Shanghai soup dumplings, smoked salmon and everything bagel ragoons, Australian wagyu tomahawk with truffle ponzu butter sauce, and sweet and sour pork with chunks of pineapple and dragon fruit. As a signature dish, the Palm City toque will present fork-tender Szechwan ribs inside a smoke-infused glass dome that will be removed tableside.
Complementing the kitchen’s neoteric creations is a libations menu offering scratch cocktails concocted with fresh herbs and exotic fruits, new and Old World wines, and an expansive collection of Japanese sakes. “We’ve created an uncompromising bar program where the liquid does the talking,” Mash says.
Blackbird also serves up a sophisticated feast for the eyes. Tapped to create an opulent mise en scène inspired by the Far East, West Palm Beach interior designer Kat Solomon of Kat Solomon Design collected luxurious textiles, mixed vintage and contemporary furnishings, and added avant-garde touches like a 12-foot Buddha, a ceiling adorned with inverted white umbrellas, and flocks of tiny paper birds—lit up with LED lights—that wing around the main dining room.
Per her clients’ request, Solomon, who formerly worked with Venus Williams and was her design protégé, kept the restaurant’s preexisting footprint intact while salvaging as many architectural elements as possible, including cast iron railings and the soaring mahogany ceiling and millwork. Art plays an important role in the design narrative, as well. Miami muralist and Mash’s niece Amanda Valdes created three seismic works, including a two-piece installation suspended above the main bar of a white-eyed femme fatale digitally imprinted on eight-foot-long metal chains.
Blackbird opens daily for dinner at 4 p.m. Entertainment and a live dj will be featured on Friday and Saturday evenings from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dim sum brunch showcasing upscale versions of tried-and-true classics prepared with modern twists will be hosted on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Blackbird is located at 1511 N. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, FL 33469. For more information, visit blackbirdmodernasian.com. Follow on social media at @blackbirdjupiter.