Top Chefs

July 2017

Michael Schulson

by Tyler Davidson

Michael Schulson

Michael Schulson

Fresh off a massive revamp that brought its F&B options to 10 unique venues, Hollywood, Fla.’s The Diplomat Beach Resort has upped its on-site culinary offering in a big, and varied, way.

With something for everyone, from grab-and-go to a sweets shop and chef-driven restaurant concepts, the luxury beachfront property may rise 39 stories and boast 1,000 guest rooms, but until now it never had a variety of dining options that would keep today’s travelers on-site for meals and drinks.

“Prior to the whole new project, they really didn’t have food and beverage,” said celebrity chef Michael Schulson, founder and CEO of the Schulson Collective, who is operating one of the resort’s more interesting venues, Monkitail. “They found that people were leaving the hotel to get simple things to eat. They needed reasons for them to stay in the hotel, from American-style [restaurants] to a steakhouse, and now this.”

Monkitail, which opened in April, is a modern take on a traditional izakaya restaurant, an informal gastropub-style setting that many describe as the Japanese equivalent to an Irish pub. It features sharable small plates, sushi and a full complement of specialty cocktails and sake. The venue offers an open robatayaki kitchen in its heart, with a 15-seat sushi bar and a private dining area overlooking the ocean.

One fanciful feature is the small “speakeasy-style” karaoke bar, Nokku, which serves drinks and signature dishes late into the evening. Nokku offers five rooms, including a large room that can accommodate up to 50.

“We created our own restaurant and our own concept, and we’re really excited to be a part of it,” Schulson said. “I think that people are loving that whole concept of sharing and getting to taste different portions. We also have steaks, chicken, lamb and tons of fish as well. Obviously, if you don’t like sushi, it’s still a place for you to go.”

The Diplomat now features 10 culinary “destinations,” including Diplomat Prime, a steakhouse led by Executive Chef Nicolay Adinaguev; traditional diner Bristol’s Burgers; Portico Beer & Wine Garden, a waterfront beer and wine garden; The Hotel Bar, the center hub of the resort; The Canteen, offering convenience F&B items; Point Royal, a coastal American-style restaurant led by television celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who also operates coffee and fresh-juice venue Counter Point; Candy & Cones, with fresh-churned ice cream, sandwiches and pops; and Playa, a poolside Nuevo Latino concept.

Group Offerings
Keeping guests on-property for F&B obviously pays big dividends with meeting groups, which now have a range of settings for private events that match the refined atmosphere of The Diplomat.

“We wanted it to be a place where event coordinators or meetings planners can say, ‘This place is amazing, we need to do an event there because it’s hip and has amazing food,’ and I think people like that specialized thing, such as Asian cuisine or a steakhouse,” Schulson said. “It’s not, ‘We’re going to do our function in a conference room and we’re going to eat crab cake, some roast chicken and some green beans.’”

Monkitail can seat 55 seated and 80 for cocktails in its sushi area outside of the lobby, with a main dining room right off of that can host 200 for hors d’oeuvres and up to 150 seated. The restaurant also has a private dining room that can seat 30, or up to 60 for a reception. Its outside space, about 50 yards from the ocean, can seat another 100 seated or up to 200 for a reception.

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