Eismann Talks 'Bout the Pacific Time/Q/El Scorpion Deal

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Jonathan Eismann speaks out on the Miami restaurant exchange program.
The first thing restaurant genius Jonathan Eismann wants you to know is that Pacific Time will remain open throughout the summer. Some folks thought otherwise because of the big news that dropped in recent days: Jeffrey Chodorow and Eismann will perform a switcheroo with a couple of their dining establishments. In the autumn, El Scorpion will move into Pacific Time's place, and Eismann's Q American Barbeque will open in the Scorpion space as Q2, so to speak -- the original Q stays put next door to Fin (which should be opening very shortly).

Got that? If not, maybe this will clarify:

New Times: Why the deal with Jeffrey Chodorow?

Jonathan Eismann: When Jeffrey had only one restaurant, which was China Grill in New York, and had only one chef -- this was 23 years ago -- that chef was me. We've talked for years about doing something together. We're both restaurantaholics. We're constantly trying to come up with another restaurant we can open. Then we started talking more seriously a few months ago. He wanted to get into the Design District; I wanted to maybe get back on the Beach. We met in New York about a month ago. He looked at me and said, "Let's figure out what we can do together and let's do it."

NT: Why now?

JE: A lot of people over the years have come to me at Pacific Time and have said, "I love this place," and wanted to buy in, be my partner, whatever. After the first year and a half of PT being on Lincoln Road, Andre Balazs wanted me. Ian Schrager wanted me. But the timing wasn't right. You strike while the iron is hot. And I've been looking for a working partner that knows what the fuck they're doing. I'm really excited. This couldn't be better.

NT: But we lose Pacific Time in the deal.

JE: PT has been doing OK, but I'm a businessman too, and it's just not been as profitable as it could be. I don't do this for exercise; I could join Crunch for that.
NT: El Scorpion takes over the PT spot, right?

JE: Right. El Scorpion will be reconcepted to some degree with my assistance and will be redesigned with tremendous visual impact. We're really excited about doing it. And Zach is great (Jeffrey's son and chef/partner of El Scorpion). He graduated Wharton and has eaten everywhere in the world. You don't need a restaurant guide; you can just talk to Zach for 20 minutes.

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Lee Klein
Tacos at El Scorpion, which come fall will be in the Design District
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NT: And Q goes into the Scorpion slot...

JE: Then we're going to open up a second Q American Barbeque. [The original] Q is doing great -- we've got our brand-new menu; we've got our pit master ironed out real good.

NT: When is this all going to go down?


JE: We have no specific dates yet -- it will depend upon the designers and on other shit I don't even know that much about. Pacific Time will remain open through the summer.

So there you have it. You've got a few months left to book your final meals at Pacific Time, which will stop ticking around the 18-year mark. Jonathan remarked that if any other independent Miami restaurateurs wants to celebrate their own 18-year success, they can come to his place and he'll buy them champagne.
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