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Merci Bimini brings casual chic dining to West Palm Beach


The Le Classique sandwich is one of the European-style items on the menu at the new Merci Bimini restaurant in West Palm Beach. Photo by Merci Bimini.


A good name for a business can state what it’s all about or add an element of mystery. Merci Bimini, a new cafe serving European- and American-inspired cuisine in western West Palm Beach, does a bit of both.


Owner Stephanie Bogdan named Merci Bimini to thank, in French, a popular 20-year-old neighboring restaurant.


“The cafe came about through a real estate meeting I was in with the owner and manager of the Bimini Twist seafood restaurant,” Bogdan says. “He also owns the plaza we’re located in. When they were looking to lease the empty spaces down the row, we stopped in front of this one. I was asked what I could envision in this space, and I said, ‘This neighborhood needs a cute little French-inspired cafe.’”


Plaza owner Ralph Benfante agreed, and Merci Bimini opened in September.


“I wanted the name to exude my gratitude,” Bogdan says. “I call it French-inspired because it’s not authentically French, and I don’t want to mislead people. It’s a European-style restaurant. But I told them that’s what the plaza needed and that it would be the kind of place that I would go to.”


Bogdan’s European inspiration has produced offerings such as sandwiches named Le Classique and A Cuban in Paris, five variations of avocado toast, charcuterie and cheese choices, quiches, waffles, flatbreads, sweets, coffees, beers and fine wines.


“Merci Bimini is also named to let Bimini Twist customers know they now have a lunch spot they can go to,” Bogdan says. Bimini Twist opens at 5 p.m. for dinner.


The cafe’s hours are 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, and closed Monday. But Bogdan says she’s considering staying open until at least 11 p.m. on weekends to add live entertainment.


She has lined up vocalist Ed Slater on Thursdays with a repertoire from Motown to Broadway to Italian songs. Piano player Hal Abercrombie offers classical music and love songs on Sundays.


Prices at Merci Bimini are $5 to $12 for small bites, $15 for sandwiches or market salads, $16 for avocado toast or flatbreads, $25 for a charcuterie board for two, $2.75 to $8 for dessert pastries, and $8 to $24 for beer, wine or champagne.


The cuisine, prices, atmosphere and culture have achieved Bogdan’s desired effect.


“We’re sandwiched around quite a few gated communities,” she says, “some of which are 55 and older. The others are all ages but pretty affluent. So the lunch and brunch crowds are pretty much what I expected to come in naturally. But I’m trying to widen our demographic a bit, which is why I’m looking to add live jazz entertainment in the evenings.”


Merci Bimini is at 8480 Okeechobee Blvd., Suite 5. For further information, call 561-360-2645, or visit www.mercibiminiwpb.com.


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