Miam Cafe & Boutique: European Cafe Life Comes to Wynwood

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All photos by Laine Doss
Miami's turkey and avocado club on Zak the Baker bread ($10).
Two years ago, Miam Cafe's owner, Alexis Jacot was on vacation with his wife from Switzerland, when he fell in love with the idea of opening a cafe in Wynwood. The former Proctor & Gamble executive noticed a vacancy inside the Wynwood Building and, right then and there, made a deal to snag the space.

"This neighborhood, and especially this building, are so special. I fell in love. I have a hospitality background, and always wanted to open a cafe, and everything was pointing in that direction so I just jumped!"

See also: Miam Cafe Opening in Wynwood

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Is Scott Conant Opening a Second Miami Restaurant?

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Laine Doss
Is Scott Conant inking a new deal in Miami?
Celebrity chef Scott Conant has a lot on his plate.

The chef, who is frequently seen on many Food Network shows including Chopped, is a successful cookbook author and restaurateur. His Scarpetta first opened in New York City in spring 2008. A Miami Beach location, at the Fontainebleau, opened later that year. Additionally, there are Scarpettas in Beverly Hills, Toronto, and Las Vegas, along with another endeavor, D.O.C.G. Enoteca, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Does the chef have plans to expand his culinary empire in Miami?

See also: Scott Conant Dishes on Scarpetta's Fifth Anniversary, His New Book, and Miami's Food Scene

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The Seven Dials in Coral Gables: Foie Gras on Zak the Baker Toast and Fried Kalamata Olives

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All photos by Carla Torres
This bone marrow has ginger.
Coral Gables isn't nationally known as a dining destination, but the place is actually swarming with hidden gems and restaurants that have put the area on the map. Sure, you have the ever-popular Ortanique on the Mile, Eating House, and Swine. But there are also lesser-known options like Uvaggio and Seven Dials, which quietly opened a couple of weeks ago.

The gastropub describes itself as eclectic American. It's run by British chef Andrew Gilbert, whose resume includes Michy's, Sra. Martinez, and the Local Craft Food & Drink, who deemed it time to open his own restaurant. Short Order was invited in for a bite of Gilbert's offerings.

See also: The Seven Dials American Gastropub Opens in Coral Gables

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August 2014 Miami Restaurant Openings and Closings

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Laine Doss
Mignonette opened in August. Take a friend. Don't be shellfish.
August may be traditionally a slow month for Miami's restaurant industry, but you could hardly tell from the extensive list of openings.

Notable openings include Mignonette, the intimate oyster bar by chef Danny Serfer (Blue Collar) and blogger Ryan Roman; and Cantina la Veinte, the first foray into the U.S. market for Mexico's Cinbersol Group.

Restaurant closings confounded us this month. Two places serving impeccable food by well established restaurateurs closed: Pubbelly Group's PB Steak (with the promise to move to the mainland); and Lorenzo, Tony Mantuano's Italian bistro. Even more baffling was the closing of Prost Wurstgrill & Bierhouse, a Brickell restaurant that opened in July, then mysteriously shuttered about a month later.

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Can National Hotel Chef Gaston Sanchez Match SLS, Delano, Ritz?

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The National Hotel, a Miami Beach landmark, has undergone a $12 million renovation that promises to bring the property up to par with neighbors that include the Delano, SLS, and Ritz-Carlton.

Part of the renovation includes the hiring of Gastón Sánchez as executive chef of the hotel. Sánchez is tasked with overseeing all of the National's culinary operations, including Tamara Bistro, Aqua Bar & Grill, the Blues Bar, and all in-room dining and catering.

See also: Vagabond Hotel Opens Today; Restaurant Coming in October

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Vagabond Hotel Opens Today; Restaurant Coming in October

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Ciara LaVelle
The Vagabond: Fully restored to her MiMo greatness.
The completion of Biscayne Boulevard's Vagabond Hotel culminates with a party this evening to celebrate the MiMo beauty's full restoration.

The Vagabond Restaurant will follow shortly, with an opening slated for sometime in October.

See also: Inside the Vagabond Hotel, Biscayne Boulevard's Restored MiMo Gem (Photos)

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"They Just Didn't Sell:" Richard Hales' Struggle to Keep Blackbrick an Authentic Chinese Eatery

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Courtesy of Richard Hales
Miami, Y U no like stir-fried tripe?
There's little doubt Miami's dining ecosystem has expanded and improved by light years in only a decade or two. Chef-driven concepts and smartly sourced ingredients aren't as pervasive as many would like, but they're here and thriving.

However, gastropubs continue reproducing like rabbits. Miami diners still annoyingly cling to lowest-common-denominator dishes -- salt, fat, and starch bombs -- that people ogle and share on social media.

See also: Blackbrick Named One of Bon Appetit's Top 50 New Restaurants

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Azul's William Crandall Fuses French, Asian Influences With German Heritage on New Menu

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All photos by Carla Torres
Tuna poke appetizer from Chef William Crandall of Azul.
The upscale restaurant inside Brickell Key's Mandarin Oriental, has been helmed by many top toques. Michelle Bernstein, Clay Conley, Joel Huff and Jacob Anaya have all led the kitchen of Azul at some point since its inception. A sudden closure last year during the hotel's renovation period had many speculating whether the fine dining restaurant was going to reopen at all.

But it did so in April with a new look, new menu, and new chef. Previous sous chef William Crandall has stepped up to the plate as executive chef after being with the company for three years. Short Order was invited to get a taste of Crandall's new menu that's steered by French technique and Asian influences.

See also: At La Mar, Peruvian Classics Are Elevated to Haute Cuisine

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IKEA Miami to Open August 27: The Top Ten Items for Foodies to Buy

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Courtesy of Ikea
Miami's new IKEA store. No assembly required.
It's official!

IKEA will open its Miami location Wednesday, August 27. The home-goods giant adjacent to Dolphin Mall will feature 416,000 square feet of stylish, low-cost furniture and home accessories.

But did you know that lurking amid those 10,000 items for sale is a foodie paradise? For tricking out a fantasy custom kitchen and stocking inexpensive pots and pans for your first apartment, IKEA is your best friend when it comes to kitchenware.

The store also features an entire marketplace where you can buy everything from cookies to frozen meatballs. Speaking of meatballs, the Miami IKEA boasts a 600-seat restaurant serving Swedish meatballs and other specialties.

IKEA Miami opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 27, but customers can begin lining up at the store Monday, August 25 -- 48 hours in advance of the doors swinging open. That means you have two whole days to memorize this list of the top ten food-related items you'll want to put in your cart.

See also: Ikea Bringing Cafecito Truck to Miami: Free Coffee and Furniture Previews

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PB Steak to Close in Miami Beach, Plans to Move "Over the Bridge"

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billwisserphoto.com
PB Steak is moving "across the bridge."
It looks like the Pubbelly boys are planning a strategic chess move with one of their concepts.

Pubbelly Restaurant Group founders Jose Mendin, Andreas Schreiner, and Sergio Navarro announced they are moving their beefy concept, PB Steak, from its Sunset Harbour location to the mainland.

See also: PB Steak in SoBe: The Pubbelly Trio Strikes Again

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