October 31, 2014
Swine Southern Table and Bar

Swine Southern Table & Bar, Coral Gables

Boat noodles

Boat noodles, Khong River House, Miami Beach

Hullabaloo  in West Palm Beach

Hullabaloo  in West Palm Beach serves up “Italian gastropub” fare.

Photo: Angela Mayo

Melon salad, Cypress Room

Melon salad, Cypress Room, Miami

PubBelly founders

PubBelly founders (from left) Andreas Schreiner, Sergio Navarro and Jose Mendin

Shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits, North Beach Fish Camp, Neptune Beach

Masa, Naples

Masa, Naples

Masa enchilada

Enchiladas with salsa verde and cotija cheese

Copper Fish platter

Copper Fish platter, Tampa

Photo: Edmund Fountain / Tampa Bay Times

Chorizo stuffed mushrooms

Chorizo stuffed mushrooms, Gala, St. Petersburg

Seared ahi tuna napoleon

Seared ahi tuna napoleon, Salt Rock Tavern, Oldsmar

Photo: Wayne Cathel

Dining in Florida

Unchained: New concepts in local dining

Florida restaurateurs create whole new dining experiences by starting small and trying new concepts.

Chris Sherman | 9/6/2013

Taking a successful menu and concept to 100 other locations to create a chain has lost some appeal to the most modern of Florida restaurateurs. They would rather create whole new restaurants, each with a distinctive menu, décor and vibe — from rustic Asian to upscale Caribbean and every corner of Europe and regional America in between.

Instead of hanging the same shingle in many places across the state or across a metro area, restaurateurs often find it easier to run several restaurants in the same neighborhood. By thinking small at first, small plates in small spaces, they remain nimble and keep growing.

A sampler:

50 Eggs (Miami)

Sophisticated Miamians know that Khong River House’s Burmese noodle wraps, duck curry and grilled whole fish comes from the crew behind Yardbird, with its crusty, lusty take on Southern food, and the porkier Swine Southern Table & Bar. Meanwhile, the 50 Eggs group — founder John Kunkel and his star chefs — also created Lime Fresh Mexican and are now working on Kungfuzi and Test Kitchen.

SubCulture (South Florida)

North of Miami, the non-stop multitaskers are Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich, hip entrepreneurs who concoct nightclubs as well as restaurants. SubCulture already has Dada and Tryst in Delray Beach, Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton, a renovated Howley’s and LongBoards New England seafood in West Palm plus dance clubs and Irish pubs as far south as Miami. In their newest project, they transformed their Clematis Street bar, The Lounge, into Hullabaloo, an “Italian gastropub” with wood-fired pizzas and skewers, pastas and charcuterie and burrata made in house.

Genuine Hospitality Group (Miami)

The pace of new generation indy growth is fastest in Miami. No surprise. The leader was the wood-fired, pork-happy Michael’s Genuine in the Design District, which opened to raves in 2007. Six years later, Michael Schwartz’s Genuine Hospitality Group is a small empire with its own beer, occasional pop-ups, an offshore colony (Michael’s Genuine on Grand Cayman) and a small navy (150 Central Park on two cruise ships). On land, there’s Harry’s Pizzeria, Restaurant Michael Schwartz at the Raleigh Hotel, and the newest, the Cypress Room. The Cypress is still in the Genuine neighborhood with more sophisticated style and price.

PubBelly (South Florida)

The trio who opened PubBelly gastropub three years ago have already spawned PubBelly Sushi, Barceloneta for tapas, Macchialina for rustic Italian and PB Steak. Next cuisine on the map is French, with a PubBelly take on a brasserie, L’Echon, for the Hilton Cabana far up the beach. That’ll be six, after which Andreas Schreiner says “We’ll probably let our creative juices take a rest.” But not their energy: They’ll turn to building new locations of their existing brands, from other corners of Miami to Las Vegas.

Tags: Dining & Travel

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