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Down Home Meets Downtown

Southern Social Kitchen and Bar serves up supper with style

Shrimp & Grits from Southern Social. Purchase the May 2017 issue for the full recipe!

Shrimp & Grits from Southern Social. Purchase the May 2017 issue for the full recipe!

Food trends come and go; restaurants open and close; and an enterprising restaurateur must stay ahead of the times, anticipate trending markets and gauge if the town is ready. Vero Beach must be ready. Recently there has been a tide of culinary innovation transforming our landscape, turning the ordinary into the upscale and the old hat into the new hip. 

Downtown’s Southern Social Kitchen and Bar is one such newcomer. Originally opening its doors as Swine & Co. in August 2016, the name didn’t stick, but the crowds did. Word quickly spread that a new progressive eatery was in town serving killer craft cocktails and protein-forward food along the lines of grandma’s Southern kitchen, albeit with an elevated twist. 

The idea behind the concept, hatched by owners Nick and Angela Novak of Filthy’s Fine Cocktails and Beer on 16th Street was simple: create a fun, vibrant space with uncompromising standards in food, drinks, and service. Make it Southern. Make it social. And make it really good. Having traveled the country in search of an untapped market to bring back to their hometown, the Novaks selected an amalgam of five different restaurants for their theme. The decision was perspicacious. Southern cuisine has been reclaiming its birthright in new transcendent ways around the country, appealing to a far broader base than just the South. 

On Feb. 15, 2016, the Novaks acquired the former Avanzare restaurant on 14th Avenue and, along with partner John Scharr, worked diligently to transform it into a stylish and progressive eatery. With polished cement floors, exposed metal ductwork, and a black backdrop offsetting the wall of salvaged wooden palettes, the space has the bones of industrial chic and the heart of rustic charm, eliciting a tacit invitation to relax and interact.