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Florida Weekly: Recipes For Success – Scott Frielich

The younger, hipper diners of West Palm Beach know the Subculture Restaurant and Nightclub Group’s properties well.With a stable that includes Respectable Street, Kapow! Noodle Bar, Sub-culture Coffee Bar, Lost Weekend, Camelot, Howley’s restaurant, Honey and Dada in Delray, and Hullabaloo, partners Rodney Mayo, Vaughn Dugan and Scott Frielich are the cool kids in the restaurant world of Palm Beach County.

The newest Kapow! just opened last month on Clematis Street, and Mr. Frielich says the time and place were right for the changeover from the failing Longboards. It’s slightly different than its Southern sibling.

“It’s a more loungy feel, and Asian-inspired menu,” than Boca’s, he said.

The group’s goal is to do an entire entertainment block on Clematis Street, with a redone Lost Weekend going in and Voltaire soon to open. A pool hall, club, coffee shop and restaurants will complete their plan, he said.

He admits it’s always been a challenge to compete on Clematis Street. “There are great operators on that street.”

Lost Weekend has been around for more than 21 years, and Dada, for 18. There’s a longevity that has helped them plan for new ideas yet keep current with their stable of 15 current spots.

Success comes from two areas, Mr. Frielich said. “The customers, and your employees. Treat them both like kings. If you can really understand your customer, and treat them like you want to be treated, and keep good employees, you’ll succeed.”

Failure, often, he said, is timing — “and a lot of it is also luck.”

High rents in some areas, details like parking and market saturation have much to do with it. Getting in to a market at the right time and reading the customer correctly is sometimes a “matter of luck.”

Despite a few failures, he’s still bullish on the business and sees nothing but growth for the company.

They’ll continue to expand their brands elsewhere. Sub-Culture Coffee, a big hit in both West Palm and Delray, is set to become a multi-unit brand throughout South Florida, with others currently planned for Jupiter and Fort Lauderdale. No two will be alike, however. Look for other concepts to emerge.

“Rodney has an eye for design,” he said. “He’s an artist and has an eye for trends.

“He’s a designer, and for him it’s all about creating new concepts.”

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