Summer may be descending upon us, but at Tequesta’s new restaurant, Josco Garden, it will forever feel like spring. An explosion of greenery coupled with wood craftsmanship and Deco upholstery is part of a cross-sensory experience that defines the newly recast eatery. “In order to honor the restaurant’s locale in the town of Tequesta, there was a great deal of attention put into each fixture and piece of furniture and a multitude of design elements to create the coastal garden setting,” says restaurateur Stephen Asprinio, who is part owner of Josco Garden.
Above the bar, assorted ferns (including bird’s nest ferns) hang from the ceiling, adding a coziness to the space. Outside in the garden, an accent wall is covered in boxwood, succulents, air plants, and ivy. Wine boxes are repurposed as murals by artist Craig McInnis. Further enhancing the multisensory experience is the use of walnut woodwork, green-hued furniture and dishware, and Art Deco pieces like the large, Andy Warhol–inspired triptych of Marilyn Monroe in the main dining area. “The look, feel, and vibe of the space is intended to transcend guests further beyond just the cuisine, mixology program, wine list, and steps of service,” says Asprinio.
Josco Garden, which opened in late February, is housed in the space formerly known as Josco Bar & Oven. But aside from the name—a homage to the original restaurant—and the wood-burning oven, not much else is the same. Asprinio’s company, SA Hospitality (the group behind AquaGrille, the restaurants at Charley & Joe’s at Love Street, and 1000 North), put its creative stamp on Josco Garden and opened an entirely new, chef-driven restaurant.
To that end, Asprinio tapped esteemed Chef Aaron Black, the former chef de cuisine at PB Catch in Palm Beach. “PB Catch was an amazing journey, but I was ready for the next step in my career,” says Black, who is Josco’s executive chef and also a partner in the business. “It was a surreal feeling of coming home, actually. I grew up in Tequesta and attended Jupiter High School, so this is a familiar environment that I love being back in.”
The menu itself covers a generous amount of ground. There is a global aspect regarding the ingredients and techniques—but this is Tequesta, after all, so fresh seafood is a focal point. “Josco Garden takes more of an American approach with regional classics and global ingredients,” says Black, who sources ingredients from local fishermen, artisans, and sustainable farms. His top recommendations for guests at the moment are the roasted oysters in ajika butter, the octopus Nicoise, the grilled Verlasso salmon, and the surf and turf with filet mignon and blue crab risotto. “These dishes represent a nice cross section of the menu that speak to the Josco Garden concept, while also showcasing the signature wood-burning oven,” says the chef.
The cocktails are another draw here, best enjoyed outside in the garden. Swing by for after-work drinks and try the Queens Park Swizzle (a rum, lime, and mint blend) or the French 75 (the classic Champagne and gin drink but with Josco’s “purple twist”), both equally delicious as they are entertaining.
On opening night, imbibers and diners alike raved about the new Josco Garden, which is certainly music to the ears of those who aimed to please. “We wanted to bring something special to the local, existing clientele in Tequesta who have been loyal and supportive of the previous restaurant,” says Asprinio. 157 N. U.S. Hwy. 1, Tequesta; 561.972.7337