The ghosts of Scott Rothstein have long been banished at his former restaurant, which has now opened in its latest incarnation, Grille 401.
The restaurant, which opened in November at the site of the former Bova Prime, is one of a handful of restaurants to open recently in the heart of Fort Lauderdale's business district on Las Olas Boulevard.
While tourists and locals favor the plentiful restaurants on the east side of the boulevard, the west end, where the office towers are located, has been lacking in lunch spots in recent years.
Judging from the lunchtime crowds, lawyers, bankers and developers "the suits" appear to have welcomed Grille 401 to the area warmly.
"The location has been saddled with places that didn't last," said Mario Iglesias, a partner at GrayRobinson. "It's nice to have lunch options on Las Olas if you want to reward a client and take them to a nice place. This is the best restaurant that's been there."
Grille 401 was opened by Jeffrey Anderson and Kevin Blair, who own the Pinon Grill at the Terrace at Town Center in Boca Raton and Brimstone Woodfire Grill in the Shops of Pembroke Gardens in Pembroke Pines.
Blair did considerable work renovating the space, which is in the lobby of a prime office building occupied by GrayRobinson, Greenberg Traurig and others. After Bova Prime closed, the spot was most recently the site of Rare Las Olas, which closed earlier this year. Other restaurants that tried and failed in that spot include Red Coral, Riley McDermott's and Zucca Pasta & Grill.
The lounges and televisions that occupied the second floor have been replaced with tables and banquettes. The first floor seating offers guests a choice between incredibly comfortable and roomy elevated booths and tables.
The ambience speaks sleek warmth, with wood floors and walls, high ceilings, individual table lamps and glass wall partitions filled with hundreds of stacked wine bottles backlit by blue light. The amber, blue and brown color scheme creates a warm feel.
"Quite simply, we've changed the space," Blair said. "The change is unbelievable dramatic. It's night and day compared to what was there. I believe we changed the place from cold and icy and stark and built out an environment that's warm and comfortable."