Pineapple Grove: Find Your Groove in the Grove

North of Atlantic Avenue, Pineapple Grove is a trove of restaurants, shops and cultural offerings waiting to be discovered. Explore the district along N.E. 2nd avenue, and find your own slice of the Grove.

Pineapple Grove - downtown Delray Beach's dining, shopping and entertainment hub

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

Stroll and Squint: Those Dancing Pineapples

“I must be the most well-known local artist that no one’s heard of,” Anita Lovitt jokes. “They know about the Dancing Pineapples but not about me.”

Pineapple Grove mural - Dancing Pineapples - Anita Lovitt

   The mural is hard to miss: Located on the east wall of the Love Shack building at 137 East Atlantic, its large-scale, vivid colors and vibrant imagery of dancing pineapples announce to visitors that this part of town is serious about the arts. As popular as it is, though, things looked different when it was painted in 2008.

Pineapple Grove - Love Shack Building - Dancing Pineapples - Anita Lovitt

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

   “It was the middle of the recession,” Lovitt recalls. “The town had a grant for the project, and there was a competition organized by the late Susan Keleher,” program manager for Pineapple Grove Main Street Inc. who organized the competition for the Dancing Pineapples grant. “I had never done a mural before and didn’t have the equipment, but she persuaded me to enter.”

   The challenge was to make the painting visible from a distance but also appreciable from close up. Lovitt had studied set design and applied some of those principles to the project, first taking a picture of the site and then layering in the images with Photoshop. It was completed in October 2008 with the assistance of Benjamin Moore, who donated the paint. She credits her therapist, art lover Daniel Lobovits, for convincing her to follow through.

   “It’s a landmark,” she says. “I’m honored and happy that people like it.”


The Garage

At the intersection of Northeast Second Avenue and Northeast First Street is the Arts Garage. The location is both concrete and symbolic: It signifies a zone where artistic expression of all sorts is vibrant and thriving.

Arts Garage - Pineapple Grove - Acting Classes

   The Garage began as a pilot program in 2011 and has grown exponentially. The organization hosts live music events, sponsors art exhibitions, stages the works of both established and up-and-coming playwrights and offers classes for preteens, teens and adults.

   Its community roots run deep. Arts Garage created a hip-hop dance program at the Milagro Center, helped develop arts education at SD Spady Elementary School and Plumosa School of the Arts and fostered a vocational program for 16- to 21-year-old students who have fallen through the cracks of the school system. In addition, Arts Garage has worked with the city on a Young Artist Program and helped Veterans Park create educational opportunities for preschoolers.

Arts Garage live performance

   Perhaps best of all is Arts Garage’s BYOW (Bring Your Own Whatever) policy—guests can arrive at events with wine and food of their choice.


Rumble in the Alley

“Artists like to stick together,” says Vincent Cacace, who founded Artists Alley in 2011. “We wanted to do the same thing for visual art created in Delray that the Arts Garage has done for the performing arts.”

Artists Alley - Pineapple Grove

   The Alley is a warehouse building between Northeast Third Avenue, Lake Ida Road, Northeast Third Street and the railroad tracks—“a little bit of the end-of-the-road feeling,” he says, “but affordable.” Here is the home of 31 artists in 21 spaces, ranging from painting and sculpture to pottery and photography. They host an open house with wine and cheese on the third Thursday of each month from 6-9 p.m. and are a featured stop on Artwalk, held the first Friday of the month. Some locals liken it to Soho in Manhattan, but Cacace feels the project is unique.

Vincent Cacace, owner of the Cacace Fine Art gallery, who created Hurricane House, Islamorada

Hurricane House, Islamorada by Vincent Cacace, owner of the Cacace Fine Art gallery.

   “We’re becoming a colony, a little bit of Bohemia,” he says. “I’d eventually like to see 50 or 60 artists and hopefully a major art show. It will bring restaurants and cafes to the area and attract art tourists to Delray.”


Flashback: Delray Camera

To Grove residents, Delray Camera seems to have been around forever, but in reality the store moved to its present location from Atlantic Avenue in the mid-1960s. “I was born in the back room,” jokes Chris Reich, who has worked at the shop since 1968. He was present when the late Norman Radin coined the name Pineapple Grove. Radin was a visionary local businessman who conceptualized a thriving arts and cultural district that would attract tourists to the area.

Delray Camera Shop - Chris Reich

The Grove in 1968: “It was much sleepier back then—Second Avenue was a nice street with a butcher shop, grocery, toy store and greasy spoon. In summer, you could put a lawn chair in the middle of the street and talk to passersby; now, I’m lucky to get out of the parking lot.”

The Grove Today: “It has morphed into an enterprise zone, but the original spirit is still here. Aside from the art, the best thing is the proliferation of great restaurants. The smells wafting into the street in the middle of the afternoon are just amazing.”

Interior of the Delray Camera Shop

On the Digital Revolution: “It hasn’t hurt us, but we have to carry a lot more lenses and accessories. We had three binoculars in stock when I started, and now we have 160. Customers drive up from Miami to look at them.”

On Doing Business the Old-Fashioned Way: “We think of this as a general store: a place where people can drink coffee, hang out and talk to us. We’ll spend an hour showing you how to work a camera. No chain store is going to do that.”


Hidden Gem: Murder on the Beach

Murder on the Beach - Bookstore in Delray Beach's Pineapple Grove

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

Founder and manager JoAnn Sinchuck opened Murder on the Beach bookstore in Sunny Isles in 1996 and moved to Delray in 2002. Although specializing in mysteries, the bookshop is the vibrant epicenter for all of the area’s literary life.

On the Evolution of the Grove: “When I arrived, it was just Delray Camera, O’Connor’s Irish Pub and me. It’s nice to see more restaurants and galleries, because they bring people into the area from elsewhere.”

On the Value of an Indie Bookstore: “If we had nothing but chain bookstores, there would only be superstar authors. We’re the ones that nourish up-and-coming writers.”
Favorite hangout: “I love the Arts Garage—I’m a big fan of jazz and blues, and I appreciate that you can bring in your own food and wine.”

On Giving Back to the Community: “Over the years, bookstores have become entertainment venues. We do author signings, literary luncheons, murder mystery shows and writing seminars. Last year, nearly 1,000 people attended our literary lunches, so that’s 1,000 extra meals served up by area restaurants.”


For dining and drinking hotspots, head to page two.

Dining Hotspots

Restaurants, bars and eateries of all sorts have been a prime motivation for bringing visitors into the Grove. Some of the don’t-miss destinations include:

Dining in Pineapple Grove

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

Bistro 241, featuring an eclectic, changing menu devoted to the day’s freshest ingredients. 241 N.E. 2nd Ave. (561-330-4080,

3rd and 3rd, part restaurant, part craft cocktail bar, part underground sensation. 301 N.E. 3rd Ave. (561-303-1939,

Papa’s Tapas (pictured below), a storefront serving authentic dishes from regions of Spain at lunch and dinner. 259 N.E. 2nd Ave. (561-266-0599,

Papa's Tapas bar - Pineapple Grove bar and bites

The New Vegan, specializing in “nutritional value without having to compromise between taste and health.” 528 N.E. 2nd St. (561-404-5301,


Farm to Fork

Max's Harvest - Pineapple Grove eatery - Dennis MaxMax’s Harvest, now in its fourth year, has been a model for fresh and sustainable food in the Grove. PBI sat down with owner Dennis Max to get his perspective on what the trend means.

Inspiration: “I grew up in California, so I’ve been on this path for a while. But in recent years, there’s been a proliferation of wonderful farms in Florida—we can meet the farmers and actually have them develop products for us, which wasn’t possible before.

It’s not just produce: There’s free-range chicken and eggs as well as grass-fed lamb, Hereford pigs and Akaushi beef.”

Why Pineapple Grove? “I wasn’t really thinking about the idea until I saw the building, but it was the perfect location for this concept. I didn’t know as much about the Grove then as I do now, but I was right: You can’t manufacture charm.”

Dennis Max  - Max's Harvest

What he’s most proud of: “Many of our servers have been with us since day one, and sustainability is almost like a religion for them. They’re incredibly knowledgeable about our ingredients and sources.”

Other restaurants he likes: “We’re lucky to have so many unique places in the Grove. I go to 3rd and 3rd, which is a great neighborhood hangout. I also like Brulé Bistro—whatever you’re craving, you can have it satisfied there.”

On the future of the trend: “I used to worry that the new generation coming up wouldn’t be as quality-conscious about food, but the opposite has happened. Young people are very concerned about the environment and good farming practices.”


Liquid Art: Swirl, Sniff and Sip

Man does not live by painting and sculpture alone. If you’re a wine lover, you believe art is also expressed in liquid form—first by nature in the vineyard and later by humans during the winemaking process. Expand your knowledge of liquid art at the following Grove locations:

N2: Located in the new Hyatt Place hotel, this wine bar uses Enomatic machines to preserve more than 100 selections and offer them in tastes of one, three and five ounces. 104 N.E. 2nd Ave. (561-278-6802,

N2 Wine Bar - Pineapple Grove in downtown Delray Beach

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

Joseph’s Wine Bar and Cafe: More than 2,000 bottles from the world’s major regions are paired with wine-friendly pizzas, salads, entrees and snacks. 200 N.E. 2nd Ave. (561-272-6100,

Olio: A list of 350 carefully chosen selections accompanies pastas, flatbreads and Mediterranean-inflected entrees. 42 S.E. 2nd Ave. (561-278-6633)

Vino Van Gogh - Pineapple Grove in downtown Delray Beach

Vino Van Gogh: Unleash your inner artist with a class here, where a teacher will guide you through the process of reproducing the night’s painting—inspired by a glass of wine, of course. 135 N.E. 4th Ave. (561-272-5272,


SofA: The Next Pineapple Grove?

Pineapple Grove - entertainment, dining and art hub in downtown Delray Beach

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

Last summer, the Downtown Development Authority launched the creation of a new Delray district called SofA (“south of Atlantic”), stretching from Southeast First Avenue east to Southeast Fifth Avenue and from Southeast Second Avenue north to the Alleyway just south of Atlantic Avenue [SofA PDF].
   “SofA will explode five times faster than the Grove did,” says Kevin Rouse, who sat on the Grove’s board of directors from 2001 to 2007. “We wanted to start a whole new district, a community where people will move in, live and hang out.”

   Rouse’s contribution is Kevro’s Art Bar at 166 S.E. 2nd Ave. “I’m trying to gather the creative class in one spot,” he says, combining live music with videography, film, painting, murals and, of course, cocktails and wine. He’s not alone: The area has more than 1 million square feet of new construction underway and has attracted the interest of arts heavyweights such as Jorge Perez, for whom the Perez Art Museum Miami is named.

   “Pineapple Grove has done a great job for the arts,” Rouse says, “but SofA is the future.”

Delray Beach - South of Atlantic - SofA

Photo by Jerry Rabinowitz

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