The Fort Steakhouse & The Fort Social reopening with new chef in downtown Fort Pierce

·3 min read

Angela Acosta believes the third time’s the charm.

She’s the new executive chef at The Fort Steakhouse, which will reopen in The Galleria of Pierce Harbor building in downtown Fort Pierce on Dec. 9.

Acosta, 49, said she’s the third — and hopefully final — chef at the city’s only steakhouse, which originally opened as The Braford steakhouse in March 2018.

“I learned from big, bold flavors and freshness and farm-to-table and seasonal,” Acosta said. “I have a great palate when it comes to flavor.”

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The interior of The Fort Steakhouse.
The interior of The Fort Steakhouse.

The Fort Steakhouse’s sister restaurant, formerly Rooster in the Garden Ristorante, has been rebranded and renamed The Fort Social. It will be a happy hour spot with small plates.

“If (customers) want to order from The Fort Steakhouse menu, but they don’t want to be all dressed up for fine dining and just want to be more casual,” Acosta said, “they have that option.”

Both restaurants had closed in April because of a staff shortage, said marketing representative Martin Larsson. They were scheduled to reopen this fall.

That’s when Acosta made her move, reaching out to building owner Gus Gutierrez because she wanted to work at the steakhouse.

“I come from fine dining,” Acosta said, “and there’s absolutely nothing there in Fort Pierce to this kind of level.”

Truffle caviar deviled eggs are among the menu options at soon to open The Fort Steakhouse on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, on Second Street in Fort Pierce. The restaurant, which originally opened as The Braford steakhouse in March 2018, will return Dec. 9 after shuttering in April because of a staff shortage. "I want to bring in big, bold flavors here... and Instagrammable moments that people are looking for," said Executive Chef Angela Acosta.
Truffle caviar deviled eggs are among the menu options at soon to open The Fort Steakhouse on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, on Second Street in Fort Pierce. The restaurant, which originally opened as The Braford steakhouse in March 2018, will return Dec. 9 after shuttering in April because of a staff shortage. "I want to bring in big, bold flavors here... and Instagrammable moments that people are looking for," said Executive Chef Angela Acosta.

Originally from Northern California, she lived in Hong Kong for a year before she moved to Miami in 2000. She previously was a massage therapist for 12 years before she changed careers.

“I found massage not to be creative enough,” Acosta said. “I feel like an artist when I get to play with food. I love cooking for people. It was like a passion thing for me.”

She started her culinary career in San Francisco, California, where she worked for five years before moving back to South Florida. She had been visiting a friend in Fort Pierce since 2003 before she made it her new home in February.

Acosta has been a private chef. She’s studied French cuisine. She’s worked at:

  • The Slanted Door, a trendy Charles Phan restaurant in San Francisco with Vietnamese, French and Chinese influences

  • Kiki on the River, a Greek restaurant in Miami

  • The Gramercy in Coral Gables, a take on the New York hotel fine dining experience.

The Fort Steakhouse Executive Chef Angela Acosta cooks some of the menu items for the reimagined restaurant on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, on Second Street in Fort Pierce. The restaurant, which originally opened as The Braford steakhouse in March 2018, will return Dec. 9 after shuttering in April because of a staff shortage. "I want to bring in big, bold flavors here... and Instagrammable moments that people are looking for," she said.
The Fort Steakhouse Executive Chef Angela Acosta cooks some of the menu items for the reimagined restaurant on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, on Second Street in Fort Pierce. The restaurant, which originally opened as The Braford steakhouse in March 2018, will return Dec. 9 after shuttering in April because of a staff shortage. "I want to bring in big, bold flavors here... and Instagrammable moments that people are looking for," she said.

At The Fort Steakhouse, she’s going to keep its signature prime steaks and several pastas, and she plans to add more seafood.

She’ll feature menu items expected at a high-end steakhouse: escargot, shrimp cocktail, oysters, truffle-caviar deviled eggs, beef tartare, mussels with andouille sausage and soup du jour, such as roasted butternut squash with ginger and crème fraiche.

Entrees will include grilled ahi tuna, Farrow Island salmon, shrimp scampi, the Fort Wagyu burger and braised lamb shank. Desserts will include tableside bananas foster.

“Right now, I’m going to keep the menu kind of small — just because of staff,” Acosta said. “It’s been really hard finding good staff. That’s the hardest part right now. We’re just like biting our nails to make sure we have staff because we’re opening.”

Laurie K. Blandford is TCPalm's entertainment reporter and columnist dedicated to finding the best things to do on the Treasure Coast. Follow her on Twitter @TCPalmLaurie and Facebook @TCPalmLaurie. Email her at laurie.blandford@tcpalm.com. Sign up for her What To Do in 772 weekly newsletter at profile.tcpalm.com/newsletters/manage.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: The Fort Steakhouse & Fort Social reopen with new chef, Angela Acosta