Local Legend: Howley’s Restaurant WPB

There are not many places that can adapt to time while preserving its history and authenticity, however Howley’s Restaurant succeeds. An eclectic mix of Midcentury nostalgia clashes with millennial quirk, to create the perfect diner along Dixie Highway that has toted the slogan “Cooked in Sight, must be right!” since 1950.

I frequent Howley’s almost weekly, whether it is for Sunday brekky, my odd craving of matzoh ball soup & an omelet, or a 1 AM Oreo milkshake, this local spot is always there for me. The wait line sprawling on weekends around 9 AM does not deter me. I know the putting green out front will subside my hangry tantrums.

Howley’s was established by Patrick Howley in an iconic Midcentury diner. If these walls could talk, they would tell tales of gatherings, breakups and political conspiring over the past 69 years. Do the names Bush and McCain sound familiar? Our local diner seems to be on the bucket list of Palm Beach campaign trails.

If its history and legendary bacon doesn’t lure you through its doors, then the people behind the counter should. Rodney Mayo of Subculture Group took ownership of Howley’s in 2004. In an effort to maintain its nostalgia, Rodney dedicates himself to antique hunting to decorate the establishment to compliment its original light fixtures and tables. There is a desirable Hula Girl lamp, where staff have claimed people have offered thousands to walk out with it alongside their To-Go box.

Rodney has restaurants and bars stringing from here to Miami, which makes you wonder how he holds all of his establishments to a high standard. Rodney’s secret sauce to success is consistent with the other awesome local establishments I cling onto: he treats his staff darn well.

I have never met the man, but he has been said to throw on a baseball cap and manage the back of the house. He takes all the staff of his 15 businesses down to the Keys for a staff retreat. A longtime server at Howley’s, Katie, has been with the company for 10 years since she was 18 years old. Moving onto nursing school this fall, Katie shared the stories of the company and reminisced over its growth, saying “I feel like this is my family.”

Perhaps it’s the familiar faces that are serving patrons bring in regulars in on a weekly basis, including yours truly. The table next to me one morning were two women that having their monthly “Bestie Breakfast”. When I asked how long they have been meeting at Howley’s, they replied in unison, “Forever.” Howley’s is the Cheers of Palm Beach, minus Ted Danson’s sweet hair.

Howley’s offers a sanctuary for hipsters with beer pairing dinners and a monthly art show. The walls are adorned with eclectic low-brow art for sale, selected by their in-house curator. Every last Tuesday of the month, they host a themed art show to benefit a local charity.

If history, put-put, or art does not hit you in the feels, then what comes out of the kitchen at Howley’s will. My local pick is their Crab Hash: an Eggs Benedict sans English Muffin, nestled over a bed of potatoes with sautéed peppers and lump crab meat. The Hollandaise policy at Howley’s is certainly not conservative, which I don’t care what your beliefs are but I imagine that we can all agree that you cannot have enough Hollandaise. If you are fearing a food coma because you cannot help but eat it all, perk up with a bottomless cup of locally roasted Subculture Coffee.

So grab your bestie for brekky and make your way to Howley’s. Grub on my friends! And as always, live global and stay local!

Much Credit Due:

To Subculture Group, The Local Legends is a series of iconic and historic local restaurants in Florida. Howley’s was front of mind and my first stop on this quest. On a personal note, my first meal in WPB was Hullabaloo also owned by Subculture Group, then my hangover meal the next day was Howley’s. Also my boyfriend loves golf and coffee, the first day I took him to Howley’s I think he realized he should love me. If it weren’t for Subculture group luring my taste buds down South, I may still be single on the Gulf Coast.

To my bestie, Ashlee Albert, aka @nomnomnamaste that is down to meet at 7:30AM for breakfast before work. She is a real local, born and raised in WPB. If it wasn’t at Howley’s, I’m not sure if she would have said yes.