Kapow Noodle Bar sets opening for new Boca Raton location


Kapow Noodle Bar, the stylish and lively restaurant and cocktail bar in Boca Raton, has set an opening date for its expansive new location across the street in Mizner Park.

The 5,000-square-foot restaurant, which comes with new food and cocktail menus, an omakase bar, private karaoke rooms, a wraparound indoor-outdoor patio and double the seating capacity of the old place, will open on Friday, Sept. 16.


The totally renovated space, located at 402 Plaza Real, once was home to Japanese bistro The Blue Fish, which opened a month before pandemic closures in 2020. Prior to that, it was Rack’s Downtown Eatery and Tavern.

For more than a decade, Kapow was home to a four-star menu of Southeast Asian inventiveness, bold visuals and a hip, youthful energy. Cofounder Vaughan Dugan says that vibe will continue on a grander scale across the street.


“By enlisting the talent of top creatives, we are merging art, technology and sustainability in a way that helps us lay the foundation for the future of the Kapow brand,” Dugan said in a news statement. “We’re always looking ahead to what’s next, while being mindful of what our customers want, and we can’t wait to showcase the evolution of Kapow.”

The opening of the new Kapow is one of several dominoes to fall in Mizner Park for Kapow owners Sub-Culture Group. It expects to open a new restaurant in the old Kapow space (431 Plaza Real) early next year. Named Penelope, it will be a New Orleans-style brasserie with French, Cajun and other global influences.

Across the patio from Penelope, Sub-Culture is targeting a fall 2023 debut for a new Italian trattoria, Shaker & Pie, in the space occupied for 17 years by Irish pub The Dubliner.

Here’s what to look forward to at the new Kapow Noodle Bar.

Sub-Culture founder Rodney Mayo points out that times and tastes have changed since Kapow opened in 2011, and his culinary team is evolving its approach accordingly, with new ingredients and new ways to use them.

“During that time, diners’ palates have grown along with their desire and openness to try more authentic Asian flavors,” Mayo said.

Among the dishes to be found on the new menu — also to be featured at Kapow’s West Palm Beach location — are Korean Wagyu Beef Tartare, King Prawn Banh Mi, Red Oil Dumplings (pork, shrimp, peppery red oil sauce and cilantro) and Grilled Oysters with kimchi butter.

The new Kapow menu will retain fan favorites such as Vietnamese Chicken Wings, Salmon Tartare Tacos, Hoisin BBQ Baby Back Ribs and the legendary Peking Duck, prepared in a large new roaster oven.


For a more personalized experience and off-menu adventure, you can reserve a spot at the eight-seat Omakase Bar.

Dessert will be serious at Kapow, which has hired Lee Mazor, owner of Fort Lauderdale’s LoveLee Bakeshop, as its new corporate pastry chef. Notable desserts from Mazor include Matcha Vietnamese Coffee Cake, Black Sesame Cremeux (a custard served with cashew sponge cake and salted caramel ice cream) and Ube Gateau (a fudgy purple sweet potato cake topped with coconut milk, taro mousse and rose petal meringue).

As before, the bar will be home to a thoughtful lineup of craft beers, global wines and premium sakes. But it’s in the work of award-winning mixologist Angela Dugan that Kapow really shines.

Signature cocktails will include the Akai (with El Tesoro Blanco Tequila, hibiscus, Montelobos Mezcal, ginger, Chareau aloe liqueur, Suze liqueur and aquafaba) and the Land & Sea (Peak Whisky, Redemption High Rye, kelp elderberry cordial, mushroom cypress stock and Choya Yuzu).

The Kazan cocktail, with Plantation O.F.T.D. rum and Appleton 8-Year rum, is a showcase of sustainability and innovation, with Dugan repurposing food waste such as avocado skins for toasted rice and avocado orgeat.

An early champion of the low ABV and no-alcohol trend, Dugan also has revamped her popular Chaktails menu.



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The visuals were always part of the experience at the old Kapow, and the new room will maintain that energy, thanks to Fort Lauderdale-based Manhas Design.

Taking its cue from the iconic mural by Michael “Pooch” Pucciarelli that dominated the old room, the new space has a 95-foot mural from Fort Lauderdale artist Rosanna Kalis, with projections from Jasper Mosher of The Electric Dream Machine. The space also includes a larger-than-life Japanese lucky cat from Unique Rabbit Studios in Pompano Beach and work from West Palm Beach painter Craig McInnis.

Seating options include cozy u-shaped booths, long banquettes and communal tables. Opium Garden on the east side of the patio provides alternative dining experiences.

The most innovative feature may be the three fully automated karaoke rooms, equipped with Savant IP Audio speakers, wireless microphones, LED screen TVs and AV capabilities.

Guests will control their song selection and order food and drinks via an iPad, so they never have to leave the privacy of the room. Two rooms can connect for larger parties and open to the garden patio. How scary is that?

Kapow! Noodle Bar will open at 402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Call 561-347-7322 or visit Facebook.com/kapownoodlebar.


Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at bcrandell@sunsentinel.com. FollowIG: @BenCrandell andTW: @BenCrandell.


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