A northeastern Ohio family migrates south to introduce Salute Market to Palm Beach Gardens.
The Corky & Jacks sandwich arrives on a square plate moments after Michelle Lefkowitz raves it’s the best in town. The Salute Market lunch item is fat with corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, a layer of sauerkraut and a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing. A toothpick skewers everything between two slices of toasted rye bread. One bite leads to a verdict: Michelle could very well be right.
The sandwich is one of many odes the PGA Village restaurant makes to Cleveland throughout the menu. Corky & Lenny’s and Jack’s Deli are two restaurants in northeast Ohio that Michelle, her husband, Rob Lefkowitz, and his twin brother, Tommy Lefkowitz, frequented before moving south to open Salute last summer. “Our customers, they call us the Salute family,” Michelle says. The kinship even extends into the kitchen and bar with Michelle’s sister, Angela Santo Domingo, as the beverage director and her brother-in-law, Mario Santo Domingo, as the executive chef.
On the Salute family
Plans made between strangers at a bar don’t typically follow through. But they did for Michelle and Rob, who’ve been married for 15 years. The two met one night out in Cleveland. Michelle asked Rob what he wanted from a relationship, to which he responded football on Sundays and no part in cleaning bathrooms. When he returned the question, Michelle said someday she wanted to live where there was a beach and palm trees. When the couple moved to Palm Beach Gardens to open their first restaurant last August, Michelle finally got her end of the bargain.
On choosing the name
“I can remember sitting on the porch in Chardon, Ohio, bouncing around ideas,” Michelle says. The brainstorming session concluded with the name ‘Salute,’ an Italian word that translates to ‘Cheers.’ “It’s based on the premise to enjoy life,” she says. And what better way to enjoy life than over food? In addition to brunch, lunch and dinner, there is a full bar and shelves upon shelves of wine (more than 200 bottles). Each month, the restaurant also introduces season- or region-inspired dishes and libations. In July, guests can expect a Mediterranean theme.
On helping others
In addition to starting their own “passion project,” the Lefkowitz family likes to support others. Shelves in the dining area are stocked with everything from hand-blown glasses to bags of tea produced by small or local businesses. Take, for example, BrownBag Popcorn Co., a Boca Raton-based gourmet popcorn shop; or Rabbit Coffee Roasting Company, an organic coffee roaster based in Riviera Beach. “We feel that by supporting other like-minded entrepreneurs, that we are paying it forward and inspiring others to do the same,” Michelle says.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated the name of the restaurant the Lefkowitzes frequented in Ohio was Corky & Jack’s. They frequented two restaurants: Corky & Lenny’s and Jack’s Deli.