Cindy Hutson Celebrates 15 Years of Ortanique: "It Takes People, Skills, and Fresh Ideas"

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Courtesy of Cindy Hutson
It's a big month for Cindy Hutson and partner Delius Shirley. The duo and life partners are celebrating a 15-year run in the restaurant industry with their Miracle Mile darling Ortanique on the Mile. Hutson also will bring her Caribbean flair to downtown with the opening of Zest and Zest Mrkt come fall.

But all this could not be possible without the loyal clientele of Ortanique, so to celebrate and thank locals for continuous years of support, Hutson and Shirley are hosting a charity wine dinner in union with Darioush Winery this Thursday, July 31 at 7 p.m.

We caught up with Hutson on what challenges the last 15 years brought and what's next for Ortanique.

See also: Food All Stars: Cindy Hutson, Jersey Girl Roots; Island Heart

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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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Juan Valdez Cafe Opens Wednesday: Private Tastings and Single Origin Coffees

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All photos by Laine Doss
Juan Valdez Cafe opens in Downtown Miami.
Downtown Miami's first Juan Valdez Cafe opens this Wednesday at 101 NE Second Ave. The coffee shop, which stars the fictional coffee grower in pictures and emblazoned on coffee mugs, features both blended and single origin coffees prepared in a variety of ways.

The cafe, one of which is located in Miami International Airport, is the first in the company's major expansion into the Florida market. Another shop is expected to open in a few weeks at 364 NE 1st Ave., with 60 stores planned for the Sunshine State in the next few years. There are currently 270 Juan Valdez Cafes open in 12 countries including Aruba; Bolivia; Chile; Ecuador; El Salvador; Spain; Kuwait; Malaysia; Mexico; Panama; Peru; South Korea, and the U.S.

See also: Panther Coffee to open in Coconut Grove

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Miami Grill: Miami Subs Gets Pitbull-Approved Rebranding

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Courtesy of Miami Subs
In the '90s, no sight was more welcome among angst-ridden suburban teens than the Greek diner disguised in neon and palm fronds known as Miami Subs. For decades, the Magic City has been a Petri dish for successful fast-food franchises to experiment with off-beat concepts to take to mass market. From Burger King to Pollo Tropical, several iconic eateries had their start as local chains. However, Miami Subs' time in the cultural consciousness was cut short long before it hit its prime.

For awhile, like the Metromover and the Seaquarium, Miami Subs seemed to be going the way of other bloated remnants of the town's Reaganite boom years. But ardent fans of all things tzatziki are rejoicing now that the Miami chain is under new management, which plans to inject some life into a franchise chain that used to supply Madonna and friends with wings and Dom Perignon through a drive-thru window conveniently open at 3 a.m.

See also: My Ceviche Opens Today in South Miami

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Shuckers Waterfront Grill Reopens Tomorrow

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Shuckers via Facebook
Shuckers reopens with a new deck tomorrow.
Just in time for an early start to the weekend, Shuckers Waterfront Grill will open tomorrow at noon.

The iconic waterfront bar and grill that saw so many Miamians beat the heat with a cold beer and a breeze over the water, opens its new patio Thursday, July 24, at noon.

See also: Shuckers to Reopen This Summer After Last Year's Deck Collapse

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National Ice Cream Month: Mantecado, Mamey, and Azucar's Miami Flavors

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Courtesy of Azucar
Abuela Maria, AKA perfection.
You know you're in Miami when "Abuela Maria" (vanilla blended with Maria cookies, guava, and cream cheese) is the most popular flavor in an ice-cream shop. And while there's a sprinkling of shops that have been experimenting with local flavors for a while, none of them has embraced Latino/Caribbean culture as heartily as Azucar! in Little Havana.

See also: Milk Gone Nuts: Try the Chocolate Peanutbutterlicious Shake

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Broken Shaker's James Seyba Talks Black Watermelons and Buns in the Oven

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Photo by Jose de las Casas
Seyba brings home the bacon.
Prior to joining the Broken Shaker last November, James Seyba got his tutelage under Michael Schwartz while working as a sous-chef at Michael's Genuine before moving to New Orleans as chef de partie at Asian bistro Lucky Rooster. Seyba has shaken up (pun intended) the menu twice since settling in at the Freehand Miami.

Seyba and his sous-chef, Anthony Ciancio (also from Michael's Genuine), are working on keeping the Shaker's garden well stocked so that by the time harvesting season peaks, their produce is ready and in full swing. We stopped in to try his summer fare and chat about the the Shaker's indoor restaurant, new kitchen, and rooftop garden.

See also: Broken Shaker's New Chef, James Seyba, Creates Menu Designed to Pair with Cocktails

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AltaMare Introduces New Interior and Oyster-Heavy Happy Hour

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Courtesy AltaMare
Sea-themed touch-ups at AltaMare on Lincoln Road.
With plenty of fish in the sea, options are plentiful -- finding that special catch is no easy task. Miami isn't lacking seafood restaurants, but there are some that keep themselves well hidden. Take AltaMare, the Italian-inspired "hook-to-table" seafood joint that's décor exudes an pretentious air but the food is down-to-earth, or in this case, sea.

AltaMare isn't new -- Claudio Giordano and wife Kaituska are celebrating a 12-year run. In 2010, they moved down the block into a bigger space due to the demand for Giordano's fresh daily specials and house-made pasta. Four years later, and for the first time ever, the restaurant is offering a happy hour. It's their way of celebrating their revamped dining room and one step closer to lunch service, which we hope AltaMare will one day brave.

See also: AltaMare is bigger, busier, and better than ever

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Smooshies: Kids' Candy and Toy Store Coming to Key Biscayne

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Courtesy Smooshies
Smooshies: Community and candy for kids.
When Gigi Alibhai was a child growing up in Cuba, life wasn't too sweet. Her mother, who was a political prisoner for a time, worked at a candy factory to make ends meet for her family. Alibhai says her family was so poor she didn't have shoes, let alone toys.

"My mother would stay late at the candy factory and sculpt toys for me from the leftover candy," Alibhai said. "It takes so much heat and work to sculpt that hard candy with bare hands that her fingertips were literally burnt off. l wanted to eat them, but I couldn't. They were my only toys."

Alibhai, now a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and mother of three, decided to open a shop that would combine toys and candy with a place kids could go to and socialize, taking her story full circle. Smooshies (coined from the name Alibhai's daughter calls her brothers), soft opens in Key Biscayne late August, with an official grand opening on Halloween (the official/unofficial day of candy).

See also: Eccolopops Brings Authentic Italian Gelato, Pops to Downtown Miami (and Our Dogs Too)

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Kris Wessel to Open New Bar A.I.R. (Artist in Residence)

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Courtesy Kris Wessel
Chef Kris Wessel will open his latest venture A.I.R. in August.
Kris Wessel is known in Miami for his über-local cuisine made personal by his family's long relationship with Miami and its terra.

In fact, Wessel's new restaurant, Oolite, is named after the very foundation our city is built upon.

But, though born in Miami, Wessel was raised in New Orleans, a city known for its live music and art scene. Living in New Orleans during his formative years must have surely rubbed off on the Miami chef, because he just announced his latest endeavor -- and it's music-based.

See also: Kris Wessel's Oolite Opens in South Beach (Photos)

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