With the most breathtaking view in Jupiter and four different dining destinations, Joe Namath, Nicknamed “Broadway Joe,” and his partner Charlie Modica are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Charlie & Joe’s at Love Street, a culinary compound with the community in mind.
“Yeah, well we’re thrilled about it,” says Namath, the NFL Super Bowl-winning icon. “We enjoyed ourselves creating it. It really comes down to, it sounds corny, but a team effort. You know, teams aren’t just in sports. Our staff, the management and the people that are working there, the cooks, certainly the servers, they’ve been wonderful.”
The $30-million project began in 2019 but was halted for Covid, then opened in 2021. With one vision, they’ve created four experiences. Located on the waterfront destination of Jupiter Inlet Village where the famous red lighthouse looks out to the sea, the multifaceted destination is inspired by the Jupiter boating lifestyle. It has creative dining, a working fisherman dock, and a heart-shaped courtyard for parties and celebrations.
As for Namath’s input, he says they consulted him “Just about every day. And that was the way the management wanted it to be, what we talked about before we broke ground, and the importance of it all. We worked with what background we both had, working with people in management and we knew that management was critical.”
While Namath’s name and input are certainly there, it’s not a sports bar. His photo is up in a few places, and they sell a t-shirt with his face on it, but the main dining room in Lucky Shuck, the lunch and dinner restaurant, was made to be both upbeat and relaxing. A dramatic two-story open-air main room is centered with a large raw bar that has a second-story tap room.
Photos, vintage postcards, and marine memorabilia of Jupiter’s history, including the indigenous tribes that were here first, playfully line the walls. There are booths and tables, and it opens to outdoor dining along the waterfront dock to watch the boats go by with pelicans flying in and out. Namath’s daughter Jessica helped with the décor.
“My daughter had a great deal to do with that, with the photography work. We are honored that we respect Jupiter, we respect where we live and old Florida, we don’t want to completely erase that in a new place. Things march on, but we like to pay attention to those that came before us, try to save the memories and keep them alive.”
Centered on Gulf Coast cuisine, Lucky Shuck has daily caught local seafood, freshly shucked oysters, chilled shellfish towers, ceviche, and southern specialties of smoked ribs, fried chicken, and Cajun char-grilled steak.
We tried an array of appetizers – grilled oysters, lobster & shrimp DY-NO-MITE with crispy grits, Nawlins-style bbq shrimp, and crawfish & sweet corn hush puppies. The main entrees of Key West Shrimp salad and grilled blackened tilapia were standouts. Everything was rich and delicious.
To drink there are 45 beers from local craft breweries, cocktails, and wine with a New Orleans-inspired cocktail menu, plus a curated wine list.
Hailing from the Midwest, Executive Chef Nick Dellinger started as a dishwasher and worked his way up in critically acclaimed restaurants in Las Vegas and the Caribbean. He cultivated the culture, cuisine, and passion for the fruits of the sea.
“It’s a New Orleans-inspired coastal cuisine,” Chef Dellinger says. “It’s a lot of Gulf flavor and Southern flavors, but also you have the ocean here and fresh fish to work with, that was pretty much the inspiration. I’ve been to New Orleans a few times since we opened to really get to know the food better.”
“The idea behind New Orleans cuisine is there’s Creole, there’s French, there’s rustic Southern. But there’s also classic French that’s very fine dining and fine-tuned.”
To tap into the swamp lands, he is working on a summertime dish “called the Bayou Bash where we’re going to do Gator tail and pasta, and things that are true to the heart of the French Quarter – crawfish and grits and muffuletta.”
Lucky Shuck celebrated Mardi Gras with a crawfish boil.
“We have jambalaya frequently, we have five different fresh fish and five different types of oysters every day. It’s a really cool, eclectic mix. It’s a lot of fun for me as a chef,” he says grinning.
Celebrity pastry chef Jennifer Wu – who was recently on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship – does all the pastry, and is “a phenomenal pastry chef – right out of Cafe du Monde,” Dellinger says.
Wu makes fresh beignets with local flavors like Key Lime. She also whips up a deconstructed lemon tart, the “Tiramiwoo” with mascarpone mousse; a chocolate bombe; and a vegan coconut soufflé glacé.
On the baking show, she had a theme.
“I had to make a floral cake, so I did a vanilla and lemon cake covered with edible flowers. I had watched every episode before I got to the taping but of course, being there is very different!” she says.
Wu makes the pastries for Lucky Shuck and for Beacon, the fine dining dinner restaurant that sits below the open-air Topside Bar. Beacon has more classic menu items like Wagyu sirloin, roast chicken, and grilled salmon.
The Tacklebox is takeout for a quick lunch, sandwiches, salads, and poke bowls to-go, for curbside pick-up, or dockside delivery, straight to a boat.
“It’s all been running well since we opened,” Namath says. “Again, it’s the team that you’re working with and taking care of the customers.”
One of Namath’s favorite additions is the grassy courtyard.
“We certainly do cater to families as well as couples, and the children. I love to see the children playing out there, man. And that grassy part that we have outside with the shade trees. People bring their dogs and watch the boats go by. We even have a beach. “
As for Namath’s favorite dishes, he says “I ate meat for many years, but I’ve evolved into more of a fish eater. I didn’t mention the gumbo. I make a meal out of the gumbo and dirty rice. I’ll get some shrimp as an appetizer too.”
Namath’s love for the restaurant and for Jupiter is deep and wide.
“Going on 34 years, right here,” he says. “On the Loxahatchee. I hate leaving here. I used to travel a lot more for professional reasons, but I miss it when I was gone so much. We’re so lucky to be in this climate down here, the only tropical state in our country. It’s fresh air and beautiful. I love it.”
Namath has been highly visible the last few years, with a book out, All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters, that recalls his pro football years. He can be seen daily on TV serving up Medicare information.
Charlie & Joe’s is a long way from Broadway Joes, the fast-food burger chain he first opened in 1969 in Coral Gables, the same year he led the New York Jets to victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl.
Broadway Joe’s featured a burger called the “Football Hero,” along with a “Touchdown” roast beef sandwich. Milkshakes cost 35 cents; coffee was 15 cents. Employees at the football-themed restaurant wore football jerseys emblazoned with Namath’s number 12.
Namath is grateful for the success and attention. Spend any time around him and the reaction from the public is nothing short of awe.
“I’ve been lucky that way, I do get recognized,” he says humbly. “I respect when somebody introduces themselves. I want them to feel good. I want them to feel like my family. You treat people the way you would like your loved ones to feel. That dates back to my dad and my mom, treating people with respect. And taking care of ourselves because we need to pay attention to our instruments, you are what you eat.”
Check the restaurant online at Lovestreetjupiter.com