By Baris von Coburg
With Crazy Uncle Mike’s, Boca Raton has gained a new and exciting evening destination — designed with a very specific concept in mind. Founder, creator and restaurateur Mike Goodwin has a penchant for good craft beer — made in-house, that can be enjoyed in a laid-back atmosphere with live music. What Mike and his wife often found in Boca Raton, however, is that while there are many excellent craft breweries offering a relaxed atmosphere, quality food is often a rarity – if offered at all. This has in large part to do with the fact that Florida Law prohibits breweries to bottle and sell their beer outside of the premises if they serve food on the same premises. Those restaurants that serve top-notch food, Goodwin said, are often too fine-dining. He and his wife wanted to create an atmosphere that delivers on all fronts: craft brews, quality food and a laid back environment with live blues music, Goodwin said. Thus, his new venture, Crazy Uncle Mike’s was born.
The selection of craft beers is extensive, ranging from IPA’s to stouts, sours and lagers. At the helm of the brewing operations resides brew master Corey Wilson. Prior to being recruited by Goodwin, Wilson worked for award-winning breweries such as Copperpoint Brewing and Copper Kettle Brewery. With the brewery’s state-of-the-art 10-barrel system, Wilson is capable of pumping out 300 gallons of beer a day. There is a clear focus on “culinary brewing,” which is the idea of incorporating flavors from everyday foods into the beer creations. An example of this is the must-try English style oatmeal porter with caramel elements or the coffee oatmeal porter made with Colombian coffee. The objective is to constantly innovate – try new flavor combinations, extend the repertoire and partner with other local breweries.
On the restaurant side stands Executive Chef Tara Abrams. With her extensive experience, she was given carte blanche to design the menu. One of the most popular items are the bacon croquettes accompanied by maple aioli and a maple drizzle. Tara’s creation has gotten so popular in fact, the kitchen can hardly keep up with the demand.
“We had to assign someone that strictly focusses on making the croquettes. We can’t keep up. I almost wish I didn’t put them on the menu,” she said jokingly.
Prior to Crazy Uncle Mike’s, Abrams worked in some well-known Florida kitchens including OTC Brickell, 32 East and for JEY Hospitality Group. Some of her other fan-favorites are her purple potato skins, pork belly tacos and vegetarian tacos-elotes.
There is a clear focus on diversity on the menu as well, ranging from seafood, to vegetarian and hearty meats, served in a variety of ethnic styles. For an appetizer, we tried the a Mexican street-food-inspired appetizer with charred broccoli, cauliflower, toasted pepitas and crumbled cotija cheese. We, of course, couldn’t pass up the bacon croquettes either.
For entrees, we tried the catch-of-the-day fish tacos with an avocado lime puree, pico de gallo, pickled red onion and shaved radish; as well as the the zesty skirt steak with chimichurri, yucca mash and chili rubbed baby carrots. Other notables on the menu include a grilled squid steak with butternut squash risotto; an ancho honey rubbed half roasted chicken with black bean puree and a pineapple fresno chili relish.
To round off the trifecta, Crazy Uncle Mike’s placed high value on the design and atmosphere. Mike Goodwin, a talented woodworker and builder, took the existing venue and completely re-invented it from the ground-up – designing, constructing and building everything himself. He collected drift wood left in the wake of Hurricane Irma to incorporate into the stage, which he said makes the restaurant true to Boca Raton. Overhead, wood barrels light the dining area, each painted with the name of a famous blues or rock musician. In clear abundance, the space showcases passion and creativity. Bands take the stage several nights a week and the lineup is extensive. Check the schedule online at crazyunclemikes.com/entertainment/.
“Brews, bites and beats” – that’s what you will find at Crazy Uncle Mike’s!
Crazy Uncle Mike’s is open seven days a week from 11:30am until 2am. The brewery and restaurant is located at 6450 N, Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Call 561-931-2889 or visit crazyunclemikes.com for more information.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]