Clay ConleyBuccan / Imoto / Grato
Chef Clay Conley and his restaurants have been recognized in global media outlets including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, Boston Globe, NY Post, Travel Channel, Complot, Conde Nast Traveler, CNN, Robb Report, Miami Herald, and USA Today. Buccan is listed as Forbes Travel Guide’s “hottest spot” in Palm Beach and Esquire’s “Where to Eat in South Florida Now,” and has received multiple distinctions as Open Table Diners’ Choice “Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America.” Clay has been honored with three James Beard Award nominations (Best Chef: South) and was listed as a “Top 25 Best Chefs of The American South.” He has cooked on Emeril’s Florida, featured on both Food Network and Cooking Channel, PBS’s The Victory Garden and The Today Show.
After five years at the helm of Miami’s first AAA Five-Diamond restaurant Azul, Chef Clay Conley opened Buccan in 2011, and has been widely credited with kick-starting a Palm Beach “dining revolution.” With Buccan his intention was to create a space that replicated the warmth of cooking at home with friends, offering full-flavored small plates designed to share, a casually sophisticated ambiance, and a gracious reception. The raving accolades that resulted from his realized vision included multiple James Beard Award nominations, numerous Best Chef and Best Restaurant honors, and a distinct shift in the once conservative, formal, food-culture of the tony island.
In February 2012, the chef opened Imoto, an intimate, Asian-focused extension of Buccan. The Sandwich Shop at Buccan, offering to-go lunch options crafted on house-made breads, opened in 2014. And Grato, an Italian-inspired neighborhood restaurant, opened to a packed room nightly in West Palm Beach in 2016. All concepts have been honored with copious accolades.
Clay’s approach at Buccan represents true world casual cuisine, blending the classic comfort of his New England childhood, the rustic boldness of the Mediterranean, and the sensual influence of Latin America in thoughtful, assertive arrangements. The time he spent living in Tokyo and subsequent travels though Southeast Asia and Peru inspire his offerings at Imoto. Grato provides a space to feature his creative interpretations of classic Italian cuisine, with a focus on handmade pasta and brick oven pizza.
In all his cuisine, Clay utilizes contrasting tastes, textures and temperatures, highlighting his exquisite emphasis on balance. And his preference to cooking over wood fire is prominently featured in each his restaurants’ locations.