Top West Boca Stories for 2015

It has been an interesting year in West Boca. Here are some of the biggest stories we saw.
1. Old Business and New Business
We’ve seen a lot of new businesses opening, and that’s good news for the local economy.

Scott Levine and Randy Singer
Scott Levine and Randy Singer

Our favorite new business is Boca Black Box, a “comedy theater” in Piccadilly Square (behind the Dunkin Donuts on Glades near Boca Rio). It’s not just new. It’s different. Along with that, the plaza also opened Armadillo Cafe. Now if you want to do something special for an evening, you don’t have to leave West Boca.
Walgreens opened in a new larger outbuilding in Shadowood Square. Shadowood also saw the addition of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.
On the south side of Glades at the corner with 441, the Westwinds of Boca plaza added a new building. The story began in 2014 but the building didn’t open for business until well into 2015, and is still waiting for the 5th occupant to open. Pei Wei has opened and appears to be doing well. And it appears that a Benihana may be coming very soon to the building behind that, which used to be a Denny’s.
The big news in Mission Bay, from yesterday, is that Toys R Us is closing and Dick’s Sporting Goods will open in its place, sometime in 2016.
There was an odd closing and reopening of the Western Beef in Sandalfoot Square. We never learned a sound explanation for this one. Around the same time, ALDI opened in West Boca Square (the Target plaza).
We’re big fans of Sweet Dewey’s BBQ. As we reported earlier this month they are expanding and changing their name to Boca’s Best BBQ & Smokehouse. We’re not sure when the name change will be official or when the larger space will open, but it should be very soon.
Dunkin Donuts is coming soon to Loggers’ Run plaza. The Players Edge indoor baseball place closed. There’s a new art studio for kids, and a FitRX gym coming soon. The Wendy’s underwent remodeling in the spring.
Also in Loggers’ Run, behind the plaza, a new assisted living facility will be built. The work is under way.
Another assisted living facility has been proposed at Clint Moore and 441, and the animal shelter on Boca Rio is looking to expand.
We had fun making a nice video at Stella’s Pizzeria, below:

2. Year of the Coyote
2015 could be called the Year of the Coyote.  Our biggest article on the subject was about whether you can shoot a coyote. We also covered a meeting at Boca Winds conducted by the Fish & Wildlife Commission.
On Facebook one of our biggest posts was when a coyote took a small dog, Lola, in late May when she was outside with her owner. A larger dog was attacked by a coyote in July, also in Boca Winds. We also reposted a video of a coyote there.
There were coyote sightings in Meadow Lakes, Boca Winds and Lexington Estates, Palmetto Pines, and we also remember sightings reported in Boca Falls and Loggers’ Run. Our biggest Facebook video of the year was of a coyote in Boca Winds.
Eventually there was some success in trapping coyotes and the problem faded away, either because of the trapping or possibly for other reasons.
3. Restaurant Inspections
Restaurant inspection reports have become very popular with our readers. We were doing these on a sporadic, rotating basis, covering West Boca, East Boca, and “Near Boca” in separate articles. Now we do them all together in weekly reports. The most-read one of the year was about roaches at the La Bamba in Margate.
Other restaurants hit with bad inspections included:

The good news is that the worst inspections stories of the year seemed to focus on restaurants outside of West Boca. Maybe our coverage pushes West Boca restaurants to be more careful.
4. Dead Bodies and Deaths
Sadly we had a few big stories related to deaths. The biggest in terms of most readers was a body found hanging near Loggers’ Run in an apparent suicide. Others included:

5. Crime Stories

Officer Diaz of Coral Gables PD places handcuffs on Warren Redlich, founder of West Boca News and Fair DUI; image from YouTube video by Carlos Miller, founder of PINAC.
Officer Diaz of Coral Gables PD places handcuffs on Warren Redlich, founder of West Boca News and Fair DUI; image from YouTube video by Carlos Miller, founder of PINAC.

We used to do more arrest stories but we cut down on that during the year. Still, a few of these stories drew a lot of attention. The biggest was when this author, Warren Redlich, was arrested in Coral Gables while challenging a checkpoint. The traffic case coming out of that is still pending and a federal lawsuit is about to be filed.
Other crime stories that were popular included two cases where one teen and then another from The Oaks were arrested for battery in separate, unrelated incidents.
There was a mysterious incident in Mission Bay in June where police appeared to arrest two people.
And back in February there was a big drug bust in West Sandalfoot, aka Watergate Estates.
6. School News
Unfortunately some of the biggest school news stories were unflattering. We did a story on disparities between schools on AP exams that drew a lot of attention.
West Boca High was hit with a plagiarism scandal leading to the principal leaving. On the bright side the school has a new principal and a new performing arts academy too. And the school band was invited to participate in the London New Year’s Day Parade (they’re in London now).
Spanish River High buried a time capsule. Unfortunately the school got substantial local press for fights that were captured on video and spread through social media. Here’s one of the videos, a brawl in the Regency Square parking lot:

Olympic Heights has added a Marine JROTC program. The school did a cancer fundraiser in May and one of the school groups volunteered to help out at the Purple Stride cancer event at Sunset Cove Amphitheater. They also had a Trunk or Treat event for Halloween.
On the negative side, complaints about problems with the Olympic Heights air conditioning system date back years and are ongoing. There were issues with school buses throughout the county and we heard the most complaints about it from OH.
Below is a list of top articles on from 2015, as measured by “Jetpack Site Stats”

Homes Sold in Stonebridge, Saturnia, Shores and Boca Isles

Homes in the 33498 zip code are located north of Glades Road, and west of 441. Neighborhoods include Saturnia, Boca Isles, Island Lakes, Stonebridge, Shores, Boca Greens and the northern part of Mission Bay.
The schools have an excellent reputation and the area has one of the lowest crime rates in Palm Beach County. In addition, there are many unique attractions both nearby and within, such as South County Regional Park.
Stonebridge Golf and Country Club is a gated community located on 441 just north of Clint Moore Road. There are just under four hundred homes. It has a large clubhouse with a state of the art fitness center and many dining options. There is an 18 hole private golf course and 6 Har-Tru tennis courts. Equity membership is required.
The Mediterranean ranch home at 10786 Ashmont Drive in Stonebridge sold for $500,000. It has 4 bedrooms and 3.1 bathrooms in 3325 sq. feet of living space. The open floor plan features marble floors and a high end chef’s kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. The home overlooks the golf course and has a huge covered porch. The in ground heated pool is surrounded by a tumbled marble pool deck. Built in 1987, it was last purchased in 2012 for $560,000. It sold at a high of $760,000 in 2007.
The Saturnia neighborhood is wonderful for families and offers a 24 hour guarded gate, clubhouse, pool and spa. It also has basketball and tennis courts, and a fitness center. Students attend the highly regarded Eagles Landing Middle School and Olympic Heights High School, though some go to other area schools. There are HOA fees.
The exquisite home at 19213 Natures View Ct sold for $700,000. It has 5 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms in 3544 sq. feet of living space. The circular drive leads to a 3 car garage and large entryway. Ceramic tile and wood are throughout the house. The master bathrooms has double sinks and was recently renovated. There is an oversized kitchen with granite counter tops. The large salt water pool and screened in lanai overlook the lake. It was built in 2000 and last sold for $660,000 in 2004. The original purchase price was $443,894.

11729 Preservation Lane
11729 Preservation Lane

The contemporary home at 11729 Preservation Lane was sold by our brokerage (Signature) for $702,000. It has 5 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms in 4081 sq. feet of living space. The grand stair case leads to a private master bedroom with sitting room and gorgeous bathroom.
A unique feature is a spiral staircase in the back leading to a large master bedroom deck and overlooking the pool.
The salt water pool overlooks the canal. Built in 2000, it was purchased for $610,000 in 2012.
19122 Two River Lane sold for $645,000. It has 5 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms in 3348 sq. feet of living space.
Shores at Boca Raton entrance feature; image by Google
Shores at Boca Raton entrance feature; image by Google

The Shores is a gated community on the north side of Yamato across from South County Regional Park. Amenities include a clubhouse with exercise room, picnic area, tennis courts and a pool. Students attend Sunrise Park Elementary School, Eagles Landing Middle School and Olympic Heights Community High School.
The courtyard home at 18539 Ocean Mist Drive sold for $585,000. It has 5 bedrooms and 4.1 bathrooms in 3421 sq. feet of living space. The home has a new kitchen with granite counters, subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances including a double oven and a breakfast nook. The first floor master bedrooms suite has a sitting area, 2 walk in closets and a luxurious marble bath with jetted tub and shower with bench. A special feature upstairs is the loft. A heated pool and spa overlook the lake and a guest house. Built in 1995 for $372,800, it was sold for $550,000 in 2014.
Other neighborhoods:
19655 118th Trail; image by Google
19655 118th Trail; image by Google

19655 118th Trail S. Front in Florida Fruitlands sold for $950,000. It has 6 bedrooms and 4.1 bathrooms in 5369 sq. feet of living space.
Boca Isles
19234 Inkwood Court in Boca Isles sold for $509,250. It has 5 bedrooms and 3.1 bathrooms in 3383 sq. feet of living space.
20034 Ocean Key Drive in Boca Isles sold for $537,500. It has 4 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms in 2660 sq. feet of living space.
10895 Tea Olive Lane in Boca Isles sold for $500,000. It has 4 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms in 2676 sq. feet of living space.

Toys R Us Closing in Mission Bay; Dick's Sporting Goods Coming

Update: See response from Toys R Us at bottom

 Toys R Us in Mission Bay Plaza; image by Google
Toys R Us in Mission Bay Plaza; image by Google

We’ve heard persistent rumors that Toys ‘R Us in Mission Bay would be closing and we can now confirm that. We called and talked to store employee, who identified himself as Tony Sandals. However we received a phone call from a man named Tony Sandals who says it wasn’t him, and he had quit before Christmas.
They started a store closing event yesterday. Everything in the store is up to 40% off and there are no returns allowed. The store employee expects that the store will be completely closed by the end of January. He was not able to tell us if the store will open in another nearby location.
The store employee also confirmed another rumor, that the spot will be filled by a new Dick’s Sporting Goods store. We would guess it will take at least a couple months for Dick’s to get going, and maybe not until the summer.
We had previously attempted to confirm these rumors with the firm that manages Mission Bay Plaza. The leasing agent did not respond and the property manager hung up on us.

Toys R Us responds:
I wanted to reach out as we had seen your story on our Boca Raton, FL Toys“R”Us store closing and wanted to correct/verify some of this information.
The Toys“R”Us store located at 20429 State Road 7 in Boca Raton will be closing at the end of the company’s lease term for this property, which is at the end of January.
Items purchased during the liquidation sale cannot be returned. As indicated on receipts, all sales during this time period are final. Items purchased prior to the liquidation sale on Saturday, December 26 can be returned under our normal return policy guidelines (including to the Mission Bay store). For more information and to view our full return policy, please click here.
Gift cards can be redeemed at the store until it closes. After that, customers can use their gift cards at any other Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us location nationwide, or online at or
At this time, we do not have any plans for a new store in the Boca Raton area. We’ve enjoyed serving the Boca Raton community for many years. We continue to operate a number of stores throughout the state of Florida, including a Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us store at 6001 West Sample Road in Coral Springs and a Toys“R”Us store at 601 N. Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach. Customers can also shop 24 hours a day on and
–There is also a Babies“R”Us store in West Boca Square (aka the Target plaza).–

Roaches and Rodents Shut Down Baja Cantina

Baja Cantina at 201 NW 1st Ave in Boca Raton; Image by Google
Baja Cantina at 201 NW 1st Ave in Boca Raton; Image by Google

We used to like this place but …
Baja Cantina in East Boca was closed by inspectors two days in a row, on December 21st and 22nd, due to roaches and rodents.
On the 21st inspectors found 32 total violations including 9 marked high priority. The worst of it:

  • Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. 21 live roaches under handwash sink at bar.
  • Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Observed approximately 64 fresh rodent droppings on the bottom shelving of the prep table where rice and beans containers are stored in the rear prep area, 8 fresh droppings on top of containers of rice and beans in rear prep area, 16 dry rodent droppings on top of dishmachine, 10 fresh rodent dropping in container with onions in rear prep area, 28 dry and 39 fresh rodent droppings in coffee filter storage in front of walkin cooler, 100 dry and 100 fresh rodent droppings in water heater room, 15 dry rodent droppings in ice machine room, 30 fresh and 50 dry rodent droppings in storage area by liquor room, 10 fresh and 30 dry rodent droppings by wait station, 10 fresh rodent droppings on shelving where fajita wood boards are stored and 7 fresh rodent droppings in rolled utensils in bar area. **Warning**
  • Rodent rub marks present along walls/ceilings. Near hole with soda lines by walkin cooler **Warning**

It initially looked good to reopen during the callback inspection on the 22nd with only a few violations, but then:

At time of the callback on 12/22/15, no evidence of droppings, however a rodent ran through the gap of the back door at time of the callback.

They were able to reopen later the same day with only one minor violation.
It was a 3-day week for inspectors so there were fewer inspections overall.
Another place in East Boca that we like (and still like) is Taverna Kyma. Their inspection on the 21st had 22 violations including 4 marked high priority.

  • Cooked poultry not reaching a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds….chicken . Cooked again 167° **Corrected On-Site**
  • Dishmachine chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength. Discontinue use of dishmachine for sanitizing and set up manual sanitization until dishmachine is repaired and sanitizing properly….00ppm. Changed sanitize bucket . **Corrected On-Site**
  • Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit…cooked spinach , roasted pepper 53° in reach in drawer below grill in cook line less than an hour. Removed food to another acceptable cooler . **Corrective Action Taken** **Repeat Violation**
  • Raw animal food not properly separated from ready-to-eat food….raw tilapia top of chicken contacting each other in reach in cooler in kitchen. **Corrected On-Site**

Taverna Kyma has had some other not-great inspections in the past, including problems with food temperatures and storage. Their last inspection in June was perfect. But the April one had 15 violations, and the one before that in August of 2014 had 17 violations. We’d like to see them do better on inspections but otherwise it is a great place to eat.
The other noticeably bad inspection was for Chaiyo Thai Bistro on Military Trail in Delray Beach, with 26 violations including 5 marked high priority involving hand washing, food temperatures and food storage.
On the good news side of things, there were no perfect inspections. Subway in Lakeside Centre (Glades near Boca Rio) had 4 minor violations, which is about the best of it.
Other notables this week include:

  • China Buffet & Grill on Hillsboro in Deerfield Beach, with 19 violations including 4 high priority
  • Mario’s Osteria at 1400 Glades Road (13 violations, 3 high priority)
  • Brewzzi at 2222 Glades (9, 2)
  • J Alexander at 1400 Glades (7, 2)
  • Mama’s Pizza & Pasta at Kimberly and Hampton, with 6 violations including 1 high priority on a callback from last week’s 12 violations.

Our spreadsheet for this week is below.
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Closed? Out of Denmark in Delray

Front of Out of Denmark; image by Google
Front of Out of Denmark; image by Google

It appears that landmark restaurant Out of Denmark in Delray Beach has closed. A reader tipped us off to the closure. We think we’ve verified this.
The phone number for the restaurant indicates that it is out of service. The restaurant website, is “parked”, meaning there is no active website any more. They had previously relocated to their latest location in 2013.
This is a big loss for the county. We only made it there once but it was a special meal. It was expensive but worth it. Unfortunately other readers may never get to try it. To read more about the experience see this article in
You can also catch a video of the restaurant and its owner, Jorgen Moller, below: