Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Improving on the Already Successful


After five years of success and evolution, Edgar and Bianca Perez decided it was time for a change at their well-established Marco Island restaurant.

Photos submitted by Don Manley | The Boulevard Restaurant is located off N. Collier Boulevard.

The couple wanted a name for their eatery that better captured what it had become in the half-decade since they’d become the owners. After much thought, discussion and research, they hit upon a suitable new sobriquet. With that came the early October debut of The Boulevard Restaurant, formerly known as the Philly Grille. 

Edgar Perez is The Boulevard’s executive chef. He’s the son of well-known chef and restaurant owner Arturo Perez, the current owner of Arturo’s Bistro who is perhaps best known for the now-closed Arturo’s Ristorante Italiano. A long-time chef on the island in his own right, Edgar Perez trained under his father at Arturo’s. His wife, Bianca Perez, handles The Boulevard’s management and front-of-the-house duties. 

“When we took over the Philly Grille, which was a thriving business, from the previous owners, we decided to just continue on with what they started,” said Bianca Perez. “Over the years, we made small changes. We came from a fine dining background, Italian, so we always knew we’d want to go into another direction at some point, but we didn’t know what it would be. Over the five years, Edgar started to introduce some different dishes, some different entrees and it morphed into what it is today.”

The new name provides a sense of place, given the restaurant’s location off N. Collier Boulevard, while being broad enough to not in any way be limiting, she explained. 

The change has been accompanied by a few additions to and subtractions from the menu, such as saying goodbye to the noble, but oh-so-available, Philly Cheesesteak. There have also been some subtle renovations to the dining area, which has a comfortable, inviting and sophisticated, but not intimidating, ambiance.

Bianca Perez said they found that the previous moniker’s “grille” portion didn’t fully convey the width and breadth of the eatery’s offerings. So, while the cheesesteak had been dropped because of its association with that name, many menu items were carried over. They’ve been joined by an assortment of flatbreads and salads, fish, steak and chicken items. 

She described The Boulevard and its menu as being “Upscale casual,” while noting that there are some new entrees and appetizers, and more fine dining options than before, as well as gluten-free and vegan and other healthy dining options. 

“Edgar makes everything from scratch, so he makes his own mozzarella cheese, every dressing, every sauce,” said Bianca Perez. “A lot of love goes into it and our previous name just didn’t reflect his cooking as it is today.”

Applying his culinary skills to creating periodically adding new dishes, as well as not specializing in any one cuisine are things that Edgar Perez enjoys. “That approach also helps to set The Boulevard apart on Marco’s highly competitive restaurant scene,” he said. 

“We are unique,” explained Edgar Perez. “We do a little bit of everything. We do things other restaurants don’t do. Most people do the same thing over and over again, but we try to do something different.”

The restaurant is open from 5 PM to close, Monday through Saturday. The Boulevard Restaurant is located at 1000 N. Collier Boulevard. For more information visit theboulevardmarco.com, call 239-394-2221 or send an email to theboulevardmarco@gmail.com.

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