Located on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach, Driftwood might just be the best local restaurant you’ve never heard of. Chef Jimmy Everett describes his cooking style as “familiar but different.” Originally from South Florida, he worked in New York City after graduating from culinary school, logging stints with superstars such as Wylie Dufresne at WD-50 and Michael White at Marea. Both experiences were invaluable. “Wylie taught me that you’re not restricted to a traditional cooking method, while Michael helped me understand the simplicity of Italian cooking and the importance of letting ingredients speak for themselves,” says Everett.
The result of chef Everett’s eclectic culinary background is a diverse menu. Driftwood boasts deviled eggs, wings, and fish dip, and diners can also score a burger and beer. Additional indulgences include smoked short ribs, an unbelievable piece of swordfish, and unusual varieties of seafood, such as tilefish or lionfish. “I ask myself what I have to work with and how exciting can I make it,” the chef explains. “I deal with local farmers and fishermen, but quality is the most important factor.”
Everett opened Driftwood alongside his wife, Ilia Gonzalez Colon, who runs the front of house. Their goal is to offer “responsibly sourced food at an affordable price.” Everett takes this mission seriously and has even been known to bring his entire staff to four farms in Loxahatchee on his day off to give them a sense of how much work it takes to grow food.
Under the direction of mixologist Freddy Schwenk, a Boynton Beach native with Nashville ties, the bar program is as intriguing as the menu. The Driftwood Old Fashioned, their biggest seller, combines High West double rye with Plantation five-year rum. In the Verde Colada, an unconventional take on a tiki cocktail, the spiciness of St. George Green Chile vodka contrasts nicely with the sweetness of pineapple and coconut.
And while both the food and cocktails are very of the moment, Everett notes that Driftwood will play a part in the Boynton dining scene for the foreseeable future. “We’re in it for the long-term,” he says. “We’re part of the community and, hopefully, we’re also something that people want to be part of.”