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The Atlantic Hotel Brings In Chef Rocco Honig To Create New Beachfront Restaurant Concept

The Atlantic Hotel & Spa has hired David “Rocco” Honig as executive chef of its flagship restaurant, tasking him with creating a new concept for the restaurant later this summer.

Honig said he most recently worked as sous-chef at Vic & Angelo’s in Delray Beach and has cooked at several South Florida staples.

It’s those experiences that made him ideal for the new position, says Jo Colonna, the hotel’s general manager. “The restaurants he’s worked at in the past are the favorites of locals,” Colonna said. “That’s what we want to do here at The Atlantic Hotel. We want to do something approachable, something that will be part of the families of locals.”

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The 15-story Atlantic Hotel has been home to three concepts in the past decade.  In 2011, Trina became East End Brasserie, with much-loved chef Steven Zobel at the helm. Zobel, now at Big City Tavern, left and in 2014 the space became Beauty and the Feast. That restaurant closed in February after the hotel and the company that ran it, Society 8 Hospitality Group, ended up in litigation.

For now, the restaurant will remain under a temporary name, The Atlantic Grill. Hotel managers plan to give it a facelift meant to make it seem more at home in the Mediterranean style hotel. The new concept will also bring more light into the space and open it up to the ocean. There’s a designer on board already and plans are to launch the new concept at the end of this summer. As the work progresses, Honig will create the menu for the new concept.

Honig is a native of Brooklyn and was born into a family that cooked constantly. “In my family, all the men cooked, so I learned to cook watching my uncle make fishcakes with vegetables from his garden,” Honig said.

After attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Honig landed a job at Café Martorano. There, he says he learned the importance of finding the best, freshest ingredients for every single thing that goes into a dish. 

He moved next to Anthony’s Runway 84, where Honig said he picked up more traditional Italian dishes, like learning how to roll a braciole. He went to Vic & Angelo’s first as the chef de cuisine, but three months later he says the restaurant promoted him to sous-chef. He said he has been at the Delray staple for two and a half years.

As far as his style in the kitchen, Honig says he’s a hands-on head chef. “I pride myself in leading by example. If I’m going to ask you to do it, I’m going to do it myself,” he says. “Whether it’s doing dishes, if it’s prepping, if it’s deboning a chicken, I’m going to be right there beside you doing it too.”

Photos courtesy of The Atlantic Hotel