"Think of it like an underground spot, a neighborhood hangout,"

3RD & 3RD
As seen in New Times - Written By: Nicole Danna​

​There's a new restaurant in downtown Delray Beach, but unless you hear about it through the grapevine, or are curious enough to venture beyond the boundaries of Pineapple Grove and down the backstreets north of Atlantic Ave., you may never have known it existed.

With no exterior sign, the recently-opened establishment-- named for it's location at the corner of NE Third Street and Third Avenue -- is not easy to find, unless you know where you're headed. But that's just the way owner and executive chef John Paul Kline likes it. Since he opened in late February, his spot has attracted a number of local residents. And once you know the location of the bright teal stucco exterior, it's not hard to miss.

"Think of it like an underground spot, a neighborhood hangout," Kline told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview.

A longtime chef, Kline's culinary career began in his home state of New Jersey, where he worked in banquet sales, on the line, and in front of house for various establishments across New England, including Providence, Rhode Island and Nantucket Island. Despite a taste for travel and nomadic past, Kline eventually settled down in South Florida, where he currently runs a successful catering company he began in 2005 known as John Paul Custom Cuisine.

Just over a year ago, Kline decided to follow his dreams, and purchased the stucco building at the corner of NE 3rd Ave. and 3rd. St. in Delray Beach just a few blocks from his home. The goal: open his own restaurant, a project that too more than 12 months to complete and has resulted in a charming and inviting bar and restaurant destined to become a locals' hangout.

Not quite tapas -- but not full dinner servings either -- a series of well-priced (and well-sized) half-portion plates comprise the debut menu. Rather than split the selections into salads, appetizers and entrees, Kline presents under a dozen dishes that span them all, and rotate seasonally, while daily specials offer swapped-out sides for standard menu items as market fresh produce becomes available.

Staff favorites include a duck confit served with a sweet potato gruyere soufflé ($10), or Bedford Bay scallops seared in thyme butter and served with corn succotash ($8). Another pick: the skewers, which can be ordered in any number for $6 apiece. Selections change daily or weekly, depending on what is available. When Clean Plate Charlie stopped in for a look, Kline was serving a shrimp and chorizo version with sweet chili glaze and corn sauce, a hanger steak with soy balsamic and tomatillo glaze, and pan seared chicken with tomato onion jam.

The 2,600-square-foot interior space at 3rd & 3rd took over a year to renovate, previously several establishments including Annex and Blacktip Reef. It's split between a dim-lit, cozy, eclectic lounge -- like your funky art-school-going sister's living room, but with great food and even better music -- or the large, u-shaped bar and high-top seating area. The furniture and art that pepper the space are hand-picked items, some of which were specially commissioned for the space, including work by local artist Josh Von Nonn and sculptor Jeff Whyman.

         In Remembrance of John Paul Kline

It is not every day you meet someone who can single handedly change the dynamic of an entire area simply by smiling and saying “everyone will love this…” He gathered the most unlikely of friends and built a home away from home for all of the people he knows. He created 3rd and 3rd in the vision of his favorite place to hang out.

            His laugh was contagious, and his charismatic sense of humor captivated everyone he came in contact with. He has touched the hearts of many near and far, and has always advocated for the “little guy”. He took pride in supporting the local artists, musicians, and businesses, as though they were all members of his family. He gave second chances, even when, in anothers eyes, they may not have been deserved. His beautiful soul always shone through in the darkest of times for all who know him. He has been the shoulder to cry on, though he wore his heart on his sleeve. He has been the much-needed laugh, and the extraordinary friend that would stop at nothing to make someone happy. He would give all he has to help anyone, even if he did not know them. His personality was infectious. The sunshine in his smile was enough to light up a room. Honestly there are not enough words to describe how loved John Paul Kline is, and will always be. He loved with all of his being to his very last day, and beyond.

            John Paul Kline passed in his sleep at his mom and dad’s apartment Friday January 15th. He was with his Lily.

            His legacy lives at 3rd and 3rd, and will live on through these walls, in the music we play, in the dishes we create, in the pickle-backs we serve, and in the hearts of all of you. We all love him so very much, and will continue to honor him and the dream he worked so hard to create for all of us. In the words of Jay Hart- we will carry on “whatever it takes…”

            Just as he was the smiling face behind your home away from home, we will be the smiling face for you, to welcome you home.

            Thank you all so much for all of the love and support you have given to us!! We are so greatful to have all of you as a part of our family and we look forward to sharing our story with new friends...