A big week for Clematis Street

It was a big week for Clematis Street at the end of March 2009. First, the City Hall moved into the new City Center on the 400 block of Clematis Street. 300 city employees who previously worked elsewhere now come to work on Clematis Street, and more are coming soon.

Next was the huge annual Boat Show occurring along Flagler Drive at the entrance to Clematis Street. This is always a huge spectacle, and seemed to be even better attended this year. All of the garages and streets around the eastern end of Clematis Street were clogged and much busier than usual on Thursday and Friday due to the Boat Show. The new city garage on the 500 block opened up for Boat Show parking and even that garage, 5 blocks from the waterfront, was filled up.

Then came the great story regarding the restaurants on the 200 block. Apparently Kelly Ripa came to dine at Rocco's Tacos with her family last Thursday night, and they liked it so much that they returned for lunch on Saturday. It's not at all unusual to see celebrities on Clematis Street. What was unusual was that on Monday morning on the popular national Regis and Kelly talk show, Kelly Ripa spent several minutes talking about the great restaurant in West Palm Beach with the fun atomsphere called Rocco's Tacos. She even mentioned that the owner Rocco was part-owner of another new restaurant across the street which served burgers (Grease Burger Bar) (apparently Rocco had gone across the street to get her father a burger). Regis and Kelly bantered back and forth about the great fun scene at Rocco's Tacos in West Palm Beach. Apparently Rocco was awakened on Monday morning by a call from his mother who had just seen Regis and Kelly talking about him on national TV.

Anyway, although Clematis Street is great, it's still a relatively small place in a mid-size city, so it's terrific to get the national recognition! As a result of the exposure, Rocco's Tacos apparently picked up some new business (not that they needed any since it's always packed). As it has done from its opening over one year ago, Rocco's Tacos continues to build a great brandname and it's bringing Clematis Street and West Palm Beach right along with it. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but the day after all of this broke, as I walked by Rocco's Tacos, I noticed Mayor Frankel walking in, and then a few minutes later a cameraman was filming her talking to Rocco himself along with a few other folks. We'll probably see this videotape as part of the big grand opening of the entire City Center complex in mid-April.

As if that wasn't enough news for the week, the new city piers were available for walking and enjoying for the first time during the Boat Show. I'm looking forward to the end of the Boat Show, so the new grand pier can be enjoyed in a somewhat more peaceful setting. The Boat Show is great but it does make things a little bit hectic around Clematis Street at this time every year.

Finally, although the City Center library is not yet open, evidence of the move was clearly visible, and you can now peer into the 1st floor window and see a first floor that is almost completely set up with shelves, books, chairs, etc. The move appears to be happening, and fast.