When culinary partners Scott Frielich, Cleve Mash, and Angelo Abbenante first walked through the doors of what used to be a truck stop in Jupiter nearly 75 years ago, they were immediately inspired to create their next project. Taking over the old Shipwreck Bar & Grille locale, which closed in 2021, the men set out to launch Blackbird, a modern Asian concept bringing the flavors of traditional Chinese to Jupiter locals. The swanky digs feature a two-story, 5,500-square-foot space with three dining areas, two cocktail bars, and an outdoor mezzanine on the second floor that overlooks both the Jupiter Lighthouse and the Loxahatchee River.
The partners bring a wealth of experience to Blackbird. Frielich is the vice president of Subculture Group and the brains behind 16 culinary concepts between West Palm Beach and Miami. Abbenante owns the Lynora’s brand. And Mash is the nightlife guru behind hot spots like Clematis Social and Radius. With Blackbird, says Frielich, it’s about “being captivated by different cultures and inspiring beauty in such an unexpected location.”
To bring their culinary vision to life, the partners called upon Executive Chef Tim Nickey, known for helming numerous local haunts including PapiChulo, Lucky Shuck, and celebrity favorite Komodo in Miami. Now a fourth partner in Blackbird, Nickey took inspiration from recent travels to create the menu at the new restaurant. “Traveling through Asia has been extremely inspiring in creating new and innovative dishes in our area,” says Nickey. “Bringing culture to our community through food is a wonderful joy to be able to provide.”
The Far East–inspired menu comprises modern riffs of Chinatown-style staples, dim sum, and elevated Pan Asian delights. Standout dishes include smoked brisket ramen, Korean cauliflower, salmon with “everything bagel” Rangoon bites, and sweet and sour pork made with twice-cooked pork belly, dragon fruit, pineapple, and crispy shallots. The Emperor’s Selection, which can serve up to four people, includes Peking duck, Chinese pancakes, Beijing garnish, hoisin sauce, and a 32-ounce Australian Wagyu rib eye with truffle-soy butter.
On the cocktail front, expect to find an array of innovative drinks that are as sexy as the restaurant space. The menu includes 10 made-from-scratch cocktails including the namesake Blackbird—Skyy vodka, Amara Lucana, chai, cold brew, vanilla cream, and activated charcoal, garnished with a fortune cookie. There is also an expansive collection of Japanese sakes that pair well with various dinner items.
To curate the dessert selections, the team brought in Executive Pastry Chef Denise Elrod, a certified chocolatier from Las Vegas who has worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at The Venetian. The shareable treats range from a fun Asian State Fair funnel cake with matcha ice cream to a decadent chocolate bomb with salted peanut brittle ice cream, caramelized bananas, fresh strawberries, and dark chocolate.
When designing the space itself, the partners paid respect to the existing feel of the building by repurposing existing artifacts, millwork, iron, and metal that date back to the 1950s. They tapped interior designer Kat Solomon to add modern, glamorous Southeast Asian touches, replete with LED-lit paper birds, a 12-foot Buddha, and murals by local artist Amanda Valdes.
“The ambience has an upscale vibe that’s mysterious and sexy yet industrial with iron accents and concrete stained red floors,” says Frielich. “It is very much a space of such that you would find in Las Vegas or New York City. There is nothing else like it in our area.” 1511 N. Old Dixie Hwy., Jupiter; 561.589.7505