Steampunk kids, doomsday preppers, and adventurous foodies will be excited to learn that Boca Raton is currently home to the world’s first avant-garde, post-Apocalyptic-themed restaurant and Virtual Reality (VR) lounge.
If any of that sounds intriguing to you, check out The Rex Baron Surivors Kitchen, now open in the Nordstrom wing of the city's Town Center off Glades Road. Although the restaurant — which first opened in Janaury 2020 — was closed for much of the pandemic, it has since re-opened, offering guests and mall visitors a place do more than simply eat and drink.
Owned and created by Rex Gryphon Restaurant Group, the idea behind the concept was to create the ultimate REX — an establishment that combines a restaurant, entertainment, and virtural Xperience in-one. As a result, the 8,500-square-foot space in Boca Raton offers a variety of interactive, multi-sensory activities from its restaurant and bar to the in-house VR Escape Lounge.
According to Rex Baron assistant general manager Tomas Oria, Rex Baron is also where the "art of food meets the art of survival," with a restaurant concept that engages guests (the survivors) with its own range of characters (the vigilantes) intent on building a peaceful, inclusive new world. A print and digital booklet is available to guests who want to get more involved in the storyline of futuristic characters.
The Boca Raton Rex Baron Survivors Kitchen is a follow-up the group's first Philadelphia outpost, Rex Gryphon’s Mad Rex. Named for its own lead vigilante, Rex Baron, the establishment features a collection of authentic fashion-infused vigilante persona displayed as costume art exhibits that feature post-apocalypse recovered remnants of couture items from designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Carol Christian Poell couture. To help guests spot and learn about each vigilante, the restaurant offers a pocket-sized guide book (an app is currently under development).
Moving forward, Oria says the plan is to expand with additional Florida locations. In the meantime, however, a visit to the Boca Raton location allows you to do everything from cook your own meat to engage in a full-on virtural reality simulation.
First, patrons can are encouraged to sample around the "Survivors Kitchen," allowing you to try everything from the lava rock-cooked pizzas and build-your-own poke bowl — or even take a stab at grilling your own steak.
Starters feature Fried Green Tomatoes, Goat Cheese Croquetttes, Fried Calamari, and a tuna poke Tuna Tower. Larger plates include sandwiches like a Prime Rib Melt and the half-pound Rex Baron Burger, while composed chef selection dishes range from the Grilled Salmon to St. Louis Spareribs.
While there are plenty of fully-cooked items on the menu, the real fun is doing the cooking yourself. Whether it's a tuna steak or New York Strip steak, guests here are given the option to cook their protein on wooden blocks fitted with 500-degree hot lava rocks. The meat (or fish) is delivered rare, and it's up to the "survivors" to finish it off at their table to the desired "doneness."
After your meal, it's time to hit up the intimate, glass-enclosed VR lounge, another in-restaurant first, according to its owners. Here, guests are able to pick a private VR chair and choose from a variety of Oculus, Valve Index, and XTAL experiences that range from video games, movies, and active simulations to guided meditations. The experience offers options for all ages, including children. That means you can do everything from climb Mount Everest, tour a city, and venture on safari to pilot a plane or hit the racetrack in a high performance car.
The best part: Aduls 21-years and older can opt for their own personal cocktail IV bags as they move around the restaurant to explore, play games, or interact with others. The menu's wide range of specialty cocktails are available, or you're invited to create your own libation-in-a-bag. Priced at $25 each per 12-ounce drink, you can upgrade any drink to a double for an added fee.
"To disrupt and excel in an ever-evolving industry, we have created and mastered the REX with a cross-generational atmosphere that engages and stimulates," said hospitality industry veteran Michael Norris, who leads the development of Rex Gryphon's vigilante posts. "We look forward to sharing our REX experience with South Florida."
Rex Baron is open Tuesday through Thursday noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Happy hour takes place from noon to 7 p.m. daily, and includes Wine Wednesday with 50 percent off bottles of wine all day. Live music is also available Wednesday through Saturday.
Rex Baron. Boca Town Center, 6000 Glades Rd., Boca Raton; 561-447-6993; therexbaron.com.