The resurgence of downtown West Palm

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - At Mambo Italianos it's 24 hours and counting before opening night, Wednesday.

Last-minute wiring for the DJ booth, waitresses laying down table cloths, and then there's the nervous owner.

"This is my first restaurant I am very nervous about opening," said owner Joe DeRosa who's concept is meat balls, meets music.

"Restaurant by day, part bar by night," he added.

The spot on Clematis, just west of Olive has been eigh months in the making.

Joining 30 other budding establishments like Off the Hookah restaurant and nightclub and a downtown Don Ramon's Cuban joint.

"If you have to risk your money, Clematis is the best place to risk it because of everything going on downtown and all the new ad campaigns," said DeRosa.

He's talking about a series of advertisements to be launched Wednesday by the Downtown Development Authority which show a cross section of people enjoying themselves in the area.

The slogan: "Say hello to a brand new day downtown".

"It really says anybody, any walk of life, any ethnic group interested in being downtown, that there is something here for you," said the DDA's chair Bruce Lewis.

The ads promote what is the second resurgence of Clematis street. The historical heart of downtown was on a rebound in the 90's only to take a dive in 2000 when nearby Cityplace opened and sucked the life out of it.

As to the effectiveness of the ads, depends on who you talk to.

"This one seems a little cheesy," said one woman while a man said, "I think they're good actually."