RACKS Is Whack

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Another day, another European-style new age trattoria/old world Italian bar/outdoor marketplace/espresso bar/chic urban pizzeria getting set to open. Welcome to RACKS Italian Bistro And Market, owned by Gary Rack, who evidently didn't like the sound of the name GARYS. Mr. Rack, founder of Boca Raton's Coal Mine Pizza, sets out with an ambitious agenda for this new venue, which will debut next month at the Intracoastal Mall (163rd Avenue and N.E. 36th Avenue, North Miami Beach).


Open seven days for all three meal periods (until 2:00 a.m. every night but Sunday), RACKS' 4,000 square foot location is mostly taken up by the 204-seat restaurant and its' Venetian-style bar themed around a 1940s train station decor. But there is also a 20-seat communal table, outdoor bistro patio, waterfront terrace, salumeria stocked with Italian produce, groceries, and ready-made meals for take-out, and an espresso bar and lounge serving Segafredo coffees. Prior to dining, patrons will be able to partake of tasting demos at countertops and stalls. Oh, yeah -- RACKS also boasts ambient lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system.

Executive chef Matthew Danaher, formerly of Vic & Angelo's, orchestrates a menu of small plates, all of which ring in under twenty bucks. Culinary director and GM Steve Lieber developed the bill of fare, which includes, in his words, "an array of meats with fruit mustards, flavored jellies and sauces; meat and cheese platters and innovative vegetable side dishes", plus "a core menu of coal oven pizzas". Salads, too, and oven-baked panini with house made mozzarella and salumi, and a wide sampling of Italian wines. I'm betting on the pizza, panini and wines; anything else that turns out well will just be a bonus.



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