DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A long-standing hospitality operator from New York is heading south this winter and opening a new restaurant in Delray Beach.
Avalon Delray is nearing completion along Atlantic Avenue and expected to open within the next six weeks.
“We were waiting for the perfect spot to present itself in South Florida for the past five to seven years,” said Curt Huegel, president and founder of Host Restaurants.
Avalon Delray will feature modern dishes and a coastal-inspired twist on the traditional steakhouse.
The restaurant is currently looking to fill about 60 jobs including chefs, servers, bartenders, and some managerial positions.
“We’re looking to hire across the board right now,” said Huegel. “Over the years, the people who have worked for me have been able to apply the things they learned in the restaurant business to everything else they did for the rest of their lives.”
Every position also comes with the opportunity for candidates to grow within the company.
“I believe hospitality is really that genuine feeling of how you make someone feel when you come into your own house,” said Antonello Paganuzzi, director of operations for Avalon Steak & Seafood. “I’ve been watching Delray Beach for a long time and it’s just evolving more and more and more.”
Even though fine dining experience is preferred, the company is open to all candidates who express a strong interest in providing excellent customer service.
“We're looking for people who really have that internal hospitality vibe that we could train and mold and hopefully grow with us in the future,” said Paganuzzi. “We're very big as far as growing people internally. If they want to make this a career we will definitely help them push forward.”
However, Avalon Delray’s opening comes during a challenging time for Florida’s tourism‐sensitive economy.
According to a report released by the Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research this month, several industry groups have already predicted that it will take at least two years to reach recovery from this pandemic.
Previous economic studies of disease outbreaks have shown that it can take as much as 12 to 15 months after the outbreak ends for tourism to return to pre‐disease levels.
The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority continues to remain optimistic that the ‘Village by the Sea’ has a strong model to assist small businesses with a plan that was solidified during the Great Recession.
“Every day is someone’s first day out,” said Laura Simon, executive director of the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority. “We work hard to make sure we’re working with our businesses during the pandemic.”
Simon credits Delray’s proximity to the ocean and access to I-95 for the exponential growth in the downtown district over the last decade.
However, most recently, there has been noticeable interest from businesses looking to relocate from the northeast.
Since November, more than two dozen storefronts have opened in downtown Delray Beach.
“Delray Beach is considered one of the happiest seaside town’s in America,” said Simon, in reference to a ranking by Coastal Living magazine.
The DDA is ready to welcome more businesses to the area, including Host Restaurants.
Avalon Delray is located on the corner of Atlantic and SE 1st Avenue, which is footsteps away from Old School Square - the arts and entertainment center in the heart of downtown Delray Beach.
For more information about the opportunities available, click here.