It’s all good baby, baby.
I don’t usually write about a place. I write about people. But this new place is kinda like a person - a mysterious newcomer from the outskirts. And the people behind it are a Delray treasure. In the back streets of Delray, off the main Ave but on the tracks, there’s a new hidden spot that woke Delray up from a long nap. And not from an off-season, summer nap, but a really looonng nap. The scene is kinda hard to describe: it’s not a speakeasy, but it could be. It’s not a lounge because that would be boringly popular. It’s something different…with a taste of Wynwood. When you walk in, perhaps the first thing to catch your eye is the dead duck hanging against a tartan wall. Then bandanas covering the pipes, Campbell soup cans, a full-size Pac Man video game, and ramen noodles stationed as the DJ stand. Step outside and you’ll find a trailer in the back yard, some flamingos, and a home-made garden. Look behind the bar and you will see beers and libations from all over. Keeping them cold is an old fashioned fridge that you could probably step into and travel back in time, and as an extra - the coolest bar staff ever..
It all comes together like a whimsically orchestrated concert of a band you never heard of before but can’t stop listening to. Nothing really makes sense but all together it does. You can drink while shopping for locally produced groceries there including bakery items from Old school bakery, chopping boards and pickled jars from local companies, coco puffs and some 1980’s looking Pepsi bottles. You can get a squeezed mandarin orange or grapefruit while the produce is staring at you. And you can possibly listen to your own music on a few of the old-fashioned record players. We’re just not sure whether they’re working or not.
The new O.G. stands for Oceanside Grocers…because that just makes sense. The owners came up with the name a week before unofficially opening. And I say unofficially because they never really did a “grand opening”. They just snuck right in under the radar and opened. And the people came. On April 20, this Friday, however, they will make their official debut. Your New Best Friends:
The creative mind behind the operation is Challo Schott. Plucked straight out of the Miami scene, Challo is a brilliantly eccentric, creative, loner/people lover, cool cat, who’s been an industry veteran “flipping bars” for over a decade in some of the hottest spots in South Florida. And I say a “veteran” in the warrior sense - he actually has blood on his hands from building the place in less than 40 days.
Challo was walking around busy when I tried to approach him. He was not eager to talk or share the source of his name (named by his adopting parents after a farm in upstate Washington). He was too busy creating and building, putting his mind, heart, blood, sweat and (tears?) into it. (Not sure tears were actually involved. He’s too manly for that). His vibe is something you want to be around. But you don’t really know if he wants you around or not. He wants people to come and hang, but he doesn’t always want to chat them up. Or maybe he does. Ok, maybe he’ll have a beer with you. Maybe. Yep. Totally eccentric. Exactly what Delray was craving.
Born in Florida, but raised in the Midwest, Challo is a humble and hard-working, self-made “business shaker”, who has been sacrificing years’ worth of time with friends and family (including his 10 year old daughter) to build businesses and better his life and the lives of those around him.
He is the creator of Crowded House Creative, AMP/Cartel, Better Days, Dead Flamingo Vintage, and a muti-unit Jimmy John’s Franchisee in South Florida.
He began working at just 14, washing dishes at the neighborhood steak house; later learning to bartend in college at the age of 19. He moved back to FL in 2005 with only $1,000 and no car. He was walking distance from a local bar in Ft. Lauderdale that he helped concept and open into expansion and earned a vehicle. He self made and self taught to do everything from managing, building and developing hospitality businesses, while doing all the marketing and digital design himself to keep his visions alive.
The brilliant business mind who found him, and the space, is Brian Rosen. Brian is a well-known, lovable and huggable man-butterfly in the community. During the day you can find him running around changing the face of Delray through large scale real estate projects and connecting to everyone. At night, you’ll see a more chill version of him – casual with a baseball cap, his dog, a huge smile and possibly his girl, who designed and brought to life the outside garden she is reminding him to maintain and water.
I first met Brian at a standup comedy show, actually, at Old School Square. The comedian on stage fell in love with his rolling, yet reserved, laughter. He was the object of her attention for a reason - his “fun-ness” is infectious.
A native of South Florida, Rosen was raised in Miami and discovered Delray Beach in 2001 when his firm was tasked with managing the shopping center on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Military Trail. Shortly after he moved here and never looked back.
Having family roots in the creation of the Okeechobee Music Festival, music and arts are in his veins. He got involved with the local art scene through the CRA and Leadership Delray through the Chamber of Commerce, helping to bring to life the Arts Garage. He then joined the young Creative City Collaborative Executive Board. Brian was involved in the development of Pineapple Grove into a thriving performing arts and fine arts community in the growing downtown neighborhood on the north side of Atlantic Ave.
This talented and creative dual gives you the vibe that ‘maybe they’re rich, maybe they’re not, but they’re definitely going to be famous (or maybe they already are?) but they will never show it’.
Whatever that vibe is, you want to be around it, around them, at The O.G..
So come and hang...Or don’t. It's all good baby, baby.