From the upscale to the casual, Vero Beach has a culinary culture that drives gastronomes wild. Within the same area, you can sample everything from Latin fusion to comforting classics. While all of the restaurants here are worthy of a visit, we picked five of our favorites below to try. Each of them is unique in character and style.
Emilio and Gloria Estefan are well versed in the nature of mixing things together. It stands to reason that their Costa D’este hotel restaurant, The Wave, would use the flavors of Cuban food to accentuate classic American dishes. The inside reflects as much, with the sharp edges of postmodern American styles meeting the warm woods and sumptuous detail of Havana’s finest residences. The depth of Cuban cooking is on full display here, with dishes such as Roasted Cauliflower Steak with Salsa Verde and the Paella a la Costa made in the traditional style and studded throughout with calamari, scallops, and chorizo. Cheekily named drinks such as the Vitamin Water (Grey Goose Le Citron, Pama, blueberries, and lemon juice) top off the experience, making it a tropical vacation.
Southern Social Kitchen and Bar
The owners of this restaurant call their technique ‘rustic meets refined’, and it’s an approach that follows throughout every part of their business. Customers get a taste of it as soon as they enter, where they’re met with large tables to suit large parties, unfinished wood lining the walls, and simple wall art decorating the area. It’s clear that the chefs here have done their research regarding Southern cooking’s roots, as proved in the Deviled Eggs served Southern style for an appetizer, and Hogfish with collard greens and fried mashed potatoes. Finish off your dinner with a traditional Hummingbird Cake, layered high with pineapples and cherries.
The Kilted Mermaid
When the residents of Vero Beach look to unwind after a long day of fun in the sun, they come to Kilted Mermaid. The Kilted Mermaid serves as the middle ground between the new and old guard of cuisine and alcohol. The proof is in the product. The servers will tell you what wine pairings go best with each dish, the menu describes the flavor profile of certain cheeses, and the bands that play here range from The Leftovers to Wild and Blue. Stop by after a few rounds of golf for the Manchego Pesto Fondue with chicken and bread skewers, served with a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale.
The Lemon Tree
Sometimes, a sign that something is truly good is that it never really changes. While the rest of the world feels like it needs to catch up with its neighbors, there are certain restaurants that retain their small town charm and great cooking. You’ll find such an example at The Lemon Tree. This diner has been serving up plates to locals for ages. The chefs here don’t feel the need to experiment with tried-and-true menu options. Classics such as Buttermilk Pancakes and Grilled Chicken Sandwiches are served alongside the chef’s take on familiar favorites. The next time that you stop by, grab the Local Mahi Sandwich with Dijon Vinaigrette – you won’t find a fish any fresher than the ones caught locally and served here. Feel free to spend some time here with a cup of coffee, a conversation with a good friend, and a plate of their complimentary muffins.
Waldo’s calls itself ‘The last of the great American hangouts.’ Said to have once been the Driftwood Inn, the building is constructed nearly entirely out of wood and retains a quirky, Old Florida aesthetic. True to Waldo’s nature, the extensive menu is of a different theme than the restaurant’s exterior, filled with options such as Southern Style Fish Tacos and Beer Battered Dolphin Fingers. These dining options represent the restaurant’s style: ostentatious, a little brash, but definitely loveable. Top off dinner with one of their over-the-top cocktails, such as their Malibu Confusion or a Pomegranate Martini.
The things that make a great meal vary between every person. One might say that they would need ingredients of the highest caliber or something made with the most advanced tools. Someone else might point out that they like to try new foods and new flavors, or that they like a mix of things. Even then, someone else might say that all they need is a good sandwich and someone to share it with. There’s no argument that Vero Beach knows how to serve up a great plate, no matter what’s on the menu. This isn’t limited to cooking. This ‘Hibiscus City’ has a reputation for offering the best in quality for everything, from shopping to living options. But there’s one neighborhood that puts the best of everything together.
With an amazing history of its own, Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club has been proudly serving members for over twenty-five years. Members love to call this place home. The West-Indies style Beach Club serves as a gathering place for families and friends to reunite. Private club events and holidays are held in the dining room, and families enjoy fun in the sun along the Atlantic Ocean. Championship golf and amenities such as tennis, pickle ball, and a fitness center make it even better. Orchid Island spans from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Indian River.
This private community is committed to providing an unparalleled level of service. Golf is an experience, as the Arnold Palmer designed, 18-hole course is renowned as an Audubon Certified Cooperative Sanctuary or its commitment to natural preservation. Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club was also the proud host of 2018’s 57th Annual U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
Love the Vero Beach location and thinking of making it your home? Luxury residential properties range from the $800s to over $10 million and include custom estate residences, courtyard homes, cottage, or oceanfront condominiums. For a full list of available real estate listings at Orchid Island, visit orchidislandfl.com/real-estate/.
Step behind the gates to learn more about this one-of-a-kind community through the pages of the inaugural issue of Orchid Island Lifestyles Magazine. To request your copy, click here.
If you’re in the area, stop by the oceanfront Orchid Island Sales Center and see the community’s beauty for yourself. Call 772.388.3888 to schedule an appointment or for more information visit OrchidIslandFL.com.
Orchid Island is home to three distinct dining venues, each with its own menu, personality and dining experience. It takes a true culinary veteran to orchestrate everything. That’s where Orchid Island’s executive chef, Chris Sozio, steps in, spending his day coordinating daily menus, among many other tasks, to give Orchid Island members a true culinary experience.
The Buck’s County, Pennsylvania native started his culinary journey at his father’s restaurant where he gained his respect for the culinary arts. He then attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he received first-class training. While in culinary school, Sozio took his first professional steps as an intern at the Williamsburg Inn. After graduating from CIA, he moved closer to home and began working at an upscale restaurant in Doylestown, Pennslyvania.
Sozio’s journey to Orchid Island was full of many miles and a few tropical stops along the way. Before landing at Orchid Island in 2014 as executive chef, he worked at fine dining restaurants and resorts in the Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Connecticut. His first destination was Caneel Bay Resort in St. John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands signature luxury resorts. From there, he was in Hawaii as part of the opening team at The Lodge at Koele, known for its elegance and distinctive charm, followed by a stint at the Manele Bay Hotel, a luxurious hotel that is situated on the picturesque island of Lanai. But when his mentor, John Farnsworth, moved to Connecticut to open up The Mayflower Inn, Sozio followed suit helping it earned the distinction of becoming a Relais & Chateâux Property. Eventually moving to Florida, Sozio and Farnsworth both worked together again at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach for 18 years before Chef took the helm of the culinary program at Orchid Island.
The Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club community has three dining options, all of which are supervised by Sozio and conveniently just a short golf cart ride away for the members: The Pool Grille, Golf Club and Beach Club.
The Pool Grille & Turtle Bar is the perfect poolside paradise where you can enjoy tranquil breezes beneath the swaying of palm trees while enjoying lunch. Offering both bar and dining seating options the venue is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. The menu includes creative salads, local seafood and delicious burgers. This is, without a doubt, is one of the biggest perks of waterfront living.
The Golf Club is a wonderful place to unwind and catch up with friends, offering a comfortable and casual atmosphere for dining or socializing. One of the favorite activities is sitting out at the fire pits overlooking the 10th tee, fairway and sparkling lake where many tropical birds like to hang out. On Fire Pit Fridays, members like to sit back and relax to the sounds of live music while enjoying delightful bites from the Fire Pits Favorites Menu. On chilly nights, blankets are available, making it extra cozy.
The Beach Club Dining Room overlooks the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, making it a superb upscale dining experience where members indulge their palates with one of the chef’s masterful selections paired with great wines from the Club’s well-thought-out wine list.
And if time or convenience factors become an issue, delivery and catering services are available.
As food can be subjective, Chef Sozio makes sure to have a menu that covers everything. Healthy and innovative dining options are offered alongside more decadent dishes. There are also a handful of country club favorites offered. The Orchid Island kitchens focus on a farm-to-table philosophy. Sozio’s relationship with local family-owned farms as well as small-time distributors, the relationship is filled with respect as farmers will even email him when their crops are ready, including details about what’s ready to be harvested.
Catering to members’ tastes, Sozio makes sure members know that the kitchen door is always open and that their appetite is on his mind. This gives members the opportunity to request some of their favorite dishes. It isn’t just the members that Sozio encourages to provide him with feedback. He motivates his sous chefs to assist him with writing menus full of creative and diverse options. Though every menu is different, the outstanding quality always stays the same. Your taste buds will never be bored when dining at Orchid Island.
In his free time, when he isn’t cooking, Sozio loves trying new restaurants all around the area and traveling. Outside of his passion for the culinary arts, he also enjoys taking to the crystalline waters of the Indian River Lagoon and the Treasure Coast in his boat.
For more information about this truly unique private club, sign up for a complimentary copy of our Orchid Island magazine publishing soon!