How Delray’s Buddha Sky Bar is Giving Back

Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach has become the new hot spot in the area fiŽlled with restaurants, bistros, clubs and constant bustling crowds. Many of the restaurants come and go, but one has remained for years because of its perfect Downtown location, beautiful design and consistently darn great food. But it’s something even more… Buddha Sky Bar is fun. You can eat in the glass-enclosed third floor Skybar that offers views of the pedestrian ‘scene” below or throw a party “al fresco”, in the open air at the private “Chef’s Table” for a unique and funky rooftop dining experience.

As you savor the spicy beef dumplings or the Peking Duck, it’s comforting to know that what sets this restaurant apart is that its behind-the-scenes Buddha-like mantra is ultimately helping the community. Owner Bobby Yampolsky, General Manager Victor Korobka, and even the staff who donated their time during Thanksgiving holiday, all believe in the dynamic of love and respect. They aim to use their success to give back, to help those sušering and, to help children foresee a brighter future.

Buddha Sky Bar is involved in supporting EJS and Opportunity Knocks, philanthropic foundations that provide mentoring to inner city students to help break the cycle of poverty in South Florida by signiŽcantly increasing the college-going culture. Victor explained that in the past, Buddha Skybar “helped raise almost $20,000 for these organizations helping students with clothing, ipads and other needs as they continue on to universities, colleges & trade schools.” He said that last year, almost $300,000 was raised for the “We Are Marjorie Stoneman Douglas” Fundraiser for the students of Parkland through Buddha Sky Bar’s partnership with over 25 other restaurants. Just this past Thanksgiving Buddha Skybar opened its doors to all the homeless children and adults of the community, serving over 200 meals in a sit-down dinner fashion & style.

Delray Beach has some well known annual events such as Savor the Avenue and the Garlic Fest, but Victor and Bobby (though they do not want the personal attention) are the impetus behind the push to lean more toward philanthropic events. They want the attention on the children, homeless and the needy of the community. Victor, at the age of 16, had worked for The Tomorrow Children Society of Northern New Jersey and remembered seeing the energy of life in so many children that had but only one year left to live. They still believed in living their remaining life to the fullest. That memory influenced him and gave him the drive to want to make change for so many more throughout the past 30 years. He is working on an event for next April called “Believe” in which he hopes to have a two block street event fiŽlled with magicians, street performers bands and possibly an inflatable water park. All proceeds will be earmarked for a variety of children’s organizations and foundations throughout Delray Beach. “We want to impact children and we want them to have the energy of hope Žll their hearts and dreams,” he said.

Victor explained that most people either don’t have the time or the money to work on such projects. “I feel blessed,” he continued, “to have the resources: an amazing staff, a list of amazing contacts & connections and a database of residents wanting to participate.” He envisions pulling smaller organizations together to create a community team to gain strength in unity.

Victor spoke highly of owner, Bobby Yampolsky, saying “he truly cares and is one of the most giving people I know.” Victor described himself and Bobby as “compassionate capitalists” who desire to “give back” without thought of religion, creed, or race. ‘Whether homeless or successful, there is no hierarchy. It’s about being human and believing in the energy of love,” he said.

In the end, Victor’s goals are to help struggling moms and to reach children at an early age. He commended Jamael Stewart, the Assistant Director of Community Improvement in Delray, and originator of the “Opportunity Knocks” program. “Jamael has such a big heart that he drives streets just to look for homeless to help, “ said Victor.

Buddha’s philosophy of enlightenment seems to be exempliŽfied by Victor’s concluding words: “We must assist because we have the time and means to do so and if not then we make the time and Žnd the means. I’d like to be a guardian angel but in the background.” With all the good Buddha Sky Bar is doing….doesn’t it make that Thai Chicken Satay taste even better?